Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tea Partiers: Buy a Ford

Ford is the only American car maker who weathered this terrible economy without taking bailout funds or caving to what many see as an unprecedented and even wholesale takeover by the Obama administration and the unions of American car makers General Motors and Chrysler.  Announcing the boycott, Loudon observed, “While it is tragic to see these once proud companies go, since Ford is the only American maker that remains in control of shareholders and not government agents and labor unions, the purchase of a Ford is a strike against big government.”
Tea Partiers are encouraging every patriot to consider a Ford as their first car choice.  “We are calling this the “Ford for Freedom BUYcott” said Loudon.  It is critical that we take a strong stand against creeping socialism.  Buying any other American car make is supporting the parasites that have infected the host, so we are calling on liberty loving Patriots who are looking for a car to buy a Ford, and then send us a copy of their receipt so that we can tally our effect”, said Loudon.

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Malkin: Jaime Escalante, R.I.P.

Jaime Escalante cared about kids. Not about teachers’ unions or partisan politics or educrat ass-covering or racial grievance-mongering. The Bolivian-born physics and math teacher demanded excellence and hard work, raised standards and expectations, and defied critics and naysayers by teaching algebra and calculus to East L.A. high school students whom the government school system had abandoned and written off. Escalante’s amazing results were made famous by education reporter Jay Matthews’ book, Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, and the biopic, Stand and Deliver, starring Edward James Olmos. He and his students were baselessly accused of cheating. Jealous colleagues undermined him at every step. Success always breeds such ill will. Success without apology breeds even deeper-seated destructive tendencies.

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Amish unaffected by new health law

Lawmakers note that "religious conscience" refers to conservative Plain sect groups even though it doesn't specifically name them.

Members of Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite churches have long eschewed commercial insurance in favor of community fundraisers and church-run health plans.

There has also been confusion over who else might be eligible to skip health insurance.

Despite erroneous reports, said spokeswoman Allison Doty, "this exclusion has nothing to do with" the Church of Christ, Scientist. It applies only to established religious groups that pay for their own health care.

Congress is letting the Health and Human Services secretary decide how often people who are qualified for waivers should apply for them.

However, Nolt said, he expects Plain sect individuals to have to apply one time only, just like they do with Social Security.

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Sowell: ‘Change’ Is Not New

Genuine science is the opposite of dogmatism, but that does not keep dogmatists from invoking the name of science in order to shut off debate. Science is a method of analysis, rather than simply a set of conclusions. In fact, much of the history of science is a history of having to abandon the prevailing conclusions among scientists, in light of new evidence or new methods of analysis.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Protesting ObamaCare: What Really Happened on March 20?

The Democrats and the left in general have been trying unsuccessfully to smear and marginalize the tea party movement for over a year now. I think that in the face of a storm of opposition, they decided to try for a Hail Mary pass; they picked a charge perfectly calibrated to excite the prejudices of their allies in the media and get big coverage. In the last, at least, they were successful.

But that was simply preaching to a very willing choir. In the arena of public opinion, the “Hail Mary” failed. No such video exists. If it did, we’d all have seen it a thousand times by now. Andrew Breitbart was confident enough about the un-video to publicly bet $10,000 (since raised to $100,000) that nobody could produce one. So far, there haven’t been any takers.

Read the whole thing for Collier's theory about what might have been happening behind the scenes as the Democrats planned their stunt.

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The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates

Mitch McConnell Versus Barack Obama In A Pre-Existing Condition Smackdown

You should read the whole thing to understand the confusion about this issue.  I'm pulling out just a few critical bits.  It seems that Obama didn't have time to read the whole bill, but that didn't stop him from promising benefits that weren't actually in it.

First, the AP, Kaiser Health News and Mitch McConnell are correct.  Folks reassured by an appeal to authority will note that the AP has quotes from two Democrats supporting their interpretation:

Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.

...Full protection for children would come in 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That's the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems.

Folks who distrust authority and want to see for themselves will be fascinated by the supplement to this post, where we dig through the text of various bills to piece the arguments together.


Put simply, insurers deny coverage to people; they exclude coverage of conditions.

A pre-existing condition can affect your health insurance coverage. If you are applying for insurance, some health insurance companies may accept you conditionally by providing a pre-existing condition exclusion period.

Although the health plan has accepted you and you are paying your monthly premiums, you may not have coverage for any care or services related to your pre-existing condition. Depending on the policy and your state’s insurance regulations, this exclusion period can range from six to 18 months.

So previously a health insurer could simply refuse to enroll a particular applicant or they could accept an applicant subject to restrictions on coverage of the applicant (or in this case, an applicant's child).  If we are talking about a group plan offered by an employer, turning the applicant down is not an option; HIPAA regulated the waiting periods during which a pre-existing condition exclusion could be applied, and this new bill reduces those waiting periods to zero for children (after it takes effect in September 2010).


I think that Obama, by merrily conflating "pre-existing condition exclusion" with denial of coverage, is trying to make domestic policy by gaffe the same way he has tried to make foreign policy by gaffe.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Krauthammer: The VAT Cometh

Krauthammer says that the expense of ObamaCare will lead the liberals to adopt a European style value-added tax -- in addition to higher income taxes.

Obama set out to be a consequential president, one on the order of Ronald Reagan. With the VAT, Obama’s triumph will be complete. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism. Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the (governmental) beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes; then, ultimately, you have to reduce government spending.

Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast, and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Breitbart: How the Civil Rights Movement Jumped the Shark

As I have said over and over and over, the left has one trick that it will use again and again when its back is in the corner: shout ‘racist’ in a crowded country.
On Saturday, during the peaceful and patriotic tea party protest at the Capitol, the Democrats staged a series of symbolic acts meant to manipulate the media to do its bidding. The Congressional Black Caucus pulled the Selma card and chose to walk through the crowd in the hopes of creating a YouTube incident. 

It’s time for the allegedly pristine character of Rep. John Lewis to put up or shut up. Therefore, I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N- word was hurled at him not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once. Surely one of those two cameras wielded by members of his entourage will prove his point.
And surely if those cameras did not capture such abhorrence, then someone from the mainstream media — those who printed and broadcast his assertions without any reasonable questioning or investigation — must themselves surely have it on camera. Of course we already know they don’t. If they did, you’d have seen it by now.

Read the whole thing, and watch the video.

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What Was That Line About the Tree of Liberty and the Blood of Tyrants?


In large part, the current focus on threats of violence is aimed at the tea partiers, just as they were accused, apparently falsely, of racism. It is not hard to understand the Democrats' motives; the tea parties are the most vital force, and likely the most popular force, in American politics, so smearing them is mandatory. But anyone who has attended a tea party rally will consider laughable the idea that the movement somehow tends toward violence.  ...

The fact is that, unlike conservatives, modern liberals have had little quarrel with political violence. This is best demonstrated by their support for card check legislation, the entire point of which it to abolish the secret ballot so that union goons can use the threat of violence to extend union power and thereby enrich the Democratic Party. (If you doubt the truth of that proposition, try to think of another reason why the Democrats want to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections.) The beating of Kenneth Gladrey by union goons--more specifically, the lack of any interest in it by anyone in the Democratic Party, the media, or on the Left generally--shows how hypocritical the Democrats' current pacifism is. If the day ever comes when conservative groups start hiring goons, we can take the liberals' purported fears of violence more seriously.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Obamacare: What the Future Holds

Maybe it doesn't make sense to carry health insurance anymore.  You could potentially save money by waiting to buy insurance until you get seriously ill.

It provides "immediate access to insurance for uninsured individuals with a pre-existing condition," creating a big adverse selection problem with one swoop.  The provision "ends when Exchanges are operational" in 2014.  But beginning in 2014, "Health plans can no longer exclude coverage for treatments based on pre‐existing health conditions."  So apparently consumers will be free to play "Heads I win, tails I break even" from now on.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Netanyahu to AIPAC: Stop Iran or Israel Will

After the worst week in U.S.-Israel relations in 35 years, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington Monday and gave a powerful and effective speech at the AIPAC gala dinner at the Washington Convention Center, warning the world to stop Iran — or Israel will — and respectfully but directly challenging the Obama administration on Jerusalem and the peace process.

Netanyahu received scores of standing ovations from the 7,800 guests in attendance, the biggest event in the history of AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee). More than half of the members of the U.S. House and Senate were there, as were ambassadors from more than fifty countries and many top Israeli officials, including defense minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. The longest and most sustained came when the prime minister firmly resisted the policy of President Obama, who seeks to divide Jerusalem and stop Israel from building “settlements” in East Jerusalem. 

“Jerusalem is not a settlement,” said Netanyahu. “It is our capital.”

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Health Care Mandate Applies to All -- Except the Amish

Where can I sign up to be Amish?  God works in mysterious ways...

Most Americans would have to prove they have insurance or face a fine under the health reform legislation that is now nearing the finish line in Congress, but at least one group won't have to worry, on religious grounds.

Democrats are planning to exempt the Amish and similar religious groups from the health insurance mandate in the final health care bill.

That's because when the Amish need medical care, they go to regular doctors and hospitals and pay in cash often with financial help from their church and neighbors.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Steyn: Happy Dependence Day!

I try to be a sunny the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full kinda guy, but it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be "insurers" in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that's clear we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizento the state but the very character of the people.

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Repeal It! Bumper Sticker

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Campbell has a Chance in California Senate Race

A Campbell supporter shared this with me:

The new Field Poll is out, and it shows Tom Campbell alone narrowly beating Boxer.

Campbell 44 - Boxer 43  (previously Boxer 48 - Campbell 38)

"Formerly, I would have said this is in the Democratic column, but I would say now it's got to be moved into the tossup column," said Mark DiCamillo, the director of the poll.  (And this comes on the heels of the Rasmussen poll showing Campbell down by just 2.)

I will add that I met Tom Campbell many years ago in California when he was first running for Congress.  He's a smart and honest guy.  Although he leans libertarian on some social issues, he's a fiscal conservative. This country needs someone like him to control spending.  I hope he wins.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coulter's Healthcare Plan

In the first sentence, Congress will amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act to allow interstate competition in health insurance.

We can't have a free market in health insurance until Congress eliminates the antitrust exemption protecting health insurance companies from competition. If Democrats really wanted to punish insurance companies, which they manifestly do not, they'd make insurers compete.

The very next sentence of my bill provides that the exclusive regulator of insurance companies will be the state where the company's home office is. Every insurance company in the country would incorporate in the state with the fewest government mandates, just as most corporations are based in Delaware today.

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S.C. governor's race: It's like 2008 all over again

Mitt Romney’s endorsement of state Rep. Nikki Haley on Tuesday pits his candidate against three hopefuls aligned with other 2008 presidential candidates.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) is backing Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.), Mike Huckabee is backing Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a close ally of state Attorney General Henry McMaster.

All four candidates are huddled within about 15 points of each other in most polling on the race, making it a wide-open affair.

Of course, Huckabee and Romney have a little more skin in the game, as South Carolina is a key presidential primary state, and they may have designs on running again in 2012. Among other potential candidates, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) are both backing Barrett.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have yet to weigh in.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slaughter Solution: “It May Be Clever, but It Is Not Constitutional”

You can't pass the health care bill without an actual vote:

The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form. As the Supreme Court wrote in Clinton v. City of New York (1998), a bill containing the “exact text” must be approved by one house; the other house must approve “precisely the same text.”

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Executive Order 6102 - FDR confiscates gold in 1933

Here's a little history lesson for you: FDR confiscated gold in 1933, paying Americans $20.67 per ounce, and then set the price at $35 per ounce, thus devaluing the paper money. In high school, they taught us about the Robber Barons and greedy capitalists causing the Great Depression, but I don't remember anything about the U.S. government stealing gold from citizens.

> Executive Order 6102 required U.S. citizens to deliver on or before > May 1, 1933 all but a small amount gold coin, gold bullion, and gold > certificates owned by them to the Federal Reserve, in exchange for > $20.67 per troy ounce. Under the Trading With the Enemy Act of > October 6, 1917, as amended on March 9, 1933, violation of the order > was punishable by fine up to $10,000 ($166,640 if adjusted for > inflation as of 2008) or up to ten years in prison, or both.
> Order 6102 specifically exempted "customary use in industry, > profession or art"--a provision that covered artists, jewelers, > dentists, and sign makers among others. The order further permitted > any person to own up to $100 in gold coins ($1,664 if adjusted for > inflation as of 2008; a face value equivalent to five troy ounces of > Gold valued at $4800 as of 2009).
> The price of gold from the treasury for international transactions > was thereafter raised to $35 an ounce. The value of the dollar was > thenceforth determined by its value relative to other national > currencies.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

TaxProf Blog: Tax Foundation: 52 Million (36%) of Tax Returns Pay Zero Income Tax

My feeling is that everyone should pay at least a nominal amount of taxes, and no one should pay to high a percentage of their income. I don't like the idea that politicians can "buy" votes of non-taxpayers by promising to soak the rich. As Margaret Thatcher said, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money".

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The Health Care Number You Didn't Hear

American health care is an accidental system. Private coverage - the type most Americans have - has its origins in the wage controls of the Second World War as employers offered rich health-insurance benefits in pre-tax dollars. Public coverage like Medicaid and Medicare, on the other hand, takes its inspiration from the Beveridge report in Britain, drafted in the early 1940s; Lord William Beveridge believed in zero-dollar health care - that people ought to pay nothing at the point of use. Today's American health care fuses these two systems, but with a common economic flaw: people are overinsured, paying pennies directly on every dollar of health service they receive.

The end result: for every dollar spent on health care in the United States, just 12 cents comes out of the individuals' pockets. Imagine what food costs might be if your employer paid 88% of your grocery bill or what a trip to Saks might be like if your company covered the vast majority of the costs of the shopping spree.

Far from addressing the 12 cent problem, Obamacare would exacerbate it. With its rich subsidies, expansion of government programs, insistence that all insurance cover specific services (and some with no copayments at all), Obamacare would pour fuel on the fire of health inflation. It's one reason that even the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - a federal employee - predicts cost rises under the President's plan.

The White House has been sharp with its critics, demanding that they outline an alternative vision. Here's one: that Washington move decisions away from bureaucrats (be they corporate or government) and empower individuals and families. In other words, American health care should be more like the other five-sixths of the economy where consumers spend more of their own money - certainly much more than 12 cents on the dollar - and get more value for it.

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Who Is The Stimulus Money Stimulating? Teachers

Based on the data, more than two third of the 594,754.3 jobs “created or saved” with the stimulus funds were “created or saved” in the Department of Education [see the article for the chart].  Basically, what the administration meant by shovel ready projects was funding for your next door teacher.

Read the whole thing.  There are interesting stats on union membership, too.  Does all this spending mean that we should expect big improvements in public education?  Or maybe it's just that the public education bureaucracy is too big to fail?

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sending a Message with the Census

I have a proposal. Question 9 on the census form asks "What is Person 1's race?" (and so on, for other members of the household).  ... Answer Question 9 by checking the last option — "Some other race" — and writing in "American." It's a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes.

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Steyn: It’s About Government, Not Health Care

Look at it from the Dems’ point of view. You pass Obamacare. You lose the 2010 election, which gives the GOP co-ownership of an awkward couple of years. And you come back in 2012 to find your health-care apparatus is still in place, a fetid behemoth of toxic pustules oozing all over the basement, and, simply through the natural processes of government, already bigger and more expensive and more bureaucratic than it was when you passed it two years earlier. That’s a huge prize, and well worth a mid-term timeout.

I’ve been bandying comparisons with Britain and France but that hardly begins to convey the scale of it. Obamacare represents the government annexation of “one-sixth of the U.S. economy” — i.e., the equivalent of the entire British or French economy, or the entire Indian economy twice over. Nobody has ever attempted this level of centralized planning for an advanced society of 300 million people. 

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Monday, March 08, 2010

The Letter Dogging Tom Campbell

I like Tom Campbell, but this looks bad:

Campbell's opponents say his letter stands among many signs that indicate he may be soft on terror or hostile toward Israel. Campbell has expressed regret over the letter, but claimed he was not aware of incriminating facts about Al-Arian when he wrote it.

"None of that had come out," Campbell told the Los Angeles Times last week.

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Low-tax Texas beats big-government California

Now it is California's ruinously expensive and increasingly incompetent government that seems dysfunctional, while Texas' approach has generated more creativity and opportunity.

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Steyn: Our own Greek tragedy

We hard-hearted, small-government guys are often damned as selfish types who care nothing for the general welfare. But, as the Greek protests make plain, nothing makes an individual more selfish than the socially equitable communitarianism of big government. Once a chap's enjoying the fruits of government health care, government-paid vacation, government-funded early retirement, and all the rest, he couldn't give a hoot about the general societal interest. He's got his, and to hell with everyone else. People's sense of entitlement endures long after the entitlement has ceased to make sense.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010


The endless banter, the self-absorbed complaining – it sounds like Seinfeld, but with our liberal leaders, it’s just another day of the politics of meaninglessness. Watch the latest Politizoid and comment here:

Friday, March 05, 2010

Climategate: ‘The Science is Settled,’ They Told Copernicus

Notice that Tolosani “refutes” Copernicus by referring not to the observations — in predicting planetary positions, Copernicus was twice as accurate as Ptolemy — but to the opinions of Aristotle. What is striking about the AGW controversy is that the believers in human-caused warming do exactly the same: they cite the opinions of the authorities rather than the evidence.

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Student protest signs

University of Washington students protest against budget cuts ... and demand remedial grammar courses. (Via

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Charles Rangel to quit key tax post

The embattled chairman of the tax-writing House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, Charles Rangel, said on Tuesday he will step aside temporarily as chairman after being admonished by a House ethic panel.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Global Warming Fraud

the IPCC's fundamental conclusions, relating to the allegedly unprecedented warming of the past half-century, are based on bad surface temperature data and are contradicted by more-reliable satellite data and by our knowledge of the earth's climate history. We know for a fact, in short, that the computer models that are the only basis for the AGW theory are wrong

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Relieve the Chairman of His Gavel -

When the NY Times comes out against a Democrat, you have to wonder about Pelosi's commitment to ethics.

This should galvanize the committee to conclude its snail-paced inquiry into Mr. Rangel’s behavior, including: his acceptance of rent-subsidized apartments from a Manhattan real estate developer; his failure to pay taxes on rental income from a villa in the Dominican Republic; and his soliciting of a $1 million donation — to a university center named after him — from a corporation with business before Congress. Mr. Rangel, the House’s designated master of fiscal accountability, already deserves to be stripped of his gavel.

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Obama in Great Shape, Still Trying to Kick the Nicotine Habit

I didn't know he was still smoking.  That won't bend the health care cost curve, now will it?  Bill Bennett points out that it's a bad idea to smoke and use nicotine gum or a patch at the same time.  

Personally, through enormous will power, I force myself to drink only decaf coffee as part of my healthy lifestyle.  A couple of No Doz on the side makes it palatable. That way, I feel better about myself, and demonstrate to the world that I'm serious about kicking the caffeine addiction someday real soon.

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