Introducing, The McCain Liettory! Up to 2300 will win!

Anytime McCain speaks, you can win!

For every McCain lie that you expose via diary, I will donate a dollar on your behalf to the Obama campaign. To win, simply post a diary here exposing the newest McCain lie. If you're the first to expose the lie, I will donate a dollar on your behalf to Barack Obama's campaign.*

It's easy, and there are many, many chances to win! Here's an example of a winning diary:


Last night, at Rick Warren's forum, McCain cited a suicide bombing by al-queda that involved two mentally disabled women unwittingly used as bombers.

According McLiar:

My friends, we are facing a transcendent  challenge in the 21st century: radical islamic extremism.

Not too long ago in Baghdad, Al-Queda took two young women who were mentally disabled and put suicide vests on 'em, sent 'em into a market place, and by remote control, detonated those suicide vests. If that isn't evil, you have to tell me what is.

That is evil! And transcendent! But:

The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures.

And from the NYTimes:

The blasts, coming after a marked drop in violence in Baghdad after the infusion of American troops into the capital and a shift by Sunni tribes against the insurgency, left many people here critical of the authorities and pessimistic for the coming year as they fear withdrawals of American troops.

Officials said insurgents had shifted tactics, because increased checkpoints and roadblocks have made it harder to detonate the car bombs that killed much larger numbers of people in the past.

Sunni Insurgents? Didn't McCain, though, recently claim that those guys (with his surgetastic help) were now helping to fight Al-Queda off? Yet, in front of Rick Warren and G-d, he now reveals that Al-Queda and the Sunni insurgents are still in cahoots?

Where are those lightning bolts when you need them?

Ah, yes, the time-tested Al-Queda/Insurgent interchangeability smokescreen switcharoo!  Use them as synonyms often enough, and everyone will be confused--but you'll never be wrong. It's one of McCain's favorite lies, and just one of many ways you can win! Here's another example of a recent, winning diary by A Siegel:

McCain: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire...

Good luck!

*<SMALL>Each lie can only be entered once; winners will be chosen on a first-exposed/first-wins basis. Winners are limited to one lie per day. Diaries that expose lies subsequently corrected by McCain's handler, Joe Leiberman, receive half-credit. This offer is limited by federal election laws to the first 2300 lies.
</SMALL>

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Saddleback Concluding Thoughts

MSNBC just made an interesting point: McCain did not mention God or Jesus once in the entire debate. But now Pat Buchanan is coming on, so I'd better turn the TV off.

The much ballyhooed Saddleback Church faith forum with McCain and Obama is now over. You can read my liveblog of both interviews with Pastor Rick Warren below. Overall, I'd sum it up this way: Obama had a better night, but not enough to matter.

People looking for policy specific will say McCain won. Obviously, most of his content was wrong, but he still had lots of content on education, Georgia, taxes, and more. If you don't know the issues, he comes across as better on them. Obama, however, was stronger on issues of faith and character. He was more forthcoming about his own faith and was very personal. His candor about his own past selfishness was downright inspiring. McCain showed candor with his stories about being a POW, but the entire night, his voice had an edgy tone to it, whereas Obama was warm and inviting, something that goes over very well in the nonideological evangelical churches like Warren's.

I think both had a positive performance. Obama's was better, and probably more tailored to the specific audience. It certainly didn't seem forced. However, given that this is an audience likely leaning towards McCain to begin with, Obama may have allayed some fears, but I don't think he overcame the gap. In short, he won a non-event.

As for Warren himself, I generally respect him and there will be a heavy focus on him in my upcoming senior thesis on the changing religious right, but I wasn't that impressed tonight. He was as good as any other forum moderator we've seen, but that's not saying much. It was great to have issues like human trafficking and orphans get some attention for once, and it was a breath of fresh air to finally have a moderator not get bogged down on nonissues like lapel pins - in fact, he started the evening out with a salute to BOTH men's patriotism, something the World Magazine crowd needed to hear. However, he could have done a better job of keeping McCain on track, perhaps with more specific questions rather than vague generalities, and as a person of faith whose career path lies in the church, I really wish he had brought up poverty and the environment.

If you tuned in, you saw one of the more substantive discussions of the election so far, but if you watched the Olympics instead, you didn't miss anything.

Update 10:10 pm: Whoops, before I forget. I should add that at least I'm glad the event was held. One other thing I wish Warren had asked is, "What is the proper role of faith in politics? What role should it play in your own decision process, and what role do you think faith-based lobbyists should play?" Or perhaps, "Both of you are Christians. What do you believe Jesus says about authority and power?" He came sort of close by asking about faith-based initiative funding. My own interest, as a likely future pastor and someone whose past jobs and internships are almost entirely with the Democratic Party or The Episcopal Church, is in the intersection of faith and politics. This would have been a homerun question for some in the target audience, given the role the "Emerging Christian" movement, led by folks like Brian McClaren and Tony Campolo, is playing in helping to broaden the evangelical focus.

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Liveblogging Warren and McCain

Obama is done, and McCain is joining him on stage. So here is the first shot of Obama and McCain together since the Manchester January debates, and it lasted less than 30 seconds. Neither looked completely at ease, although I'd say Obama seemed a tad more stand-offish.

Warren is about to start with McCain. Given his question to Obama re: what is your greatest moral failing and Obama's striking candor about selfishness and drugs, it will be interesting to see if we get similar candor from McCain about his first wife.

9:03: Who are the three wisest people that you know and would rely on? General Petraeus, who he gives a rather serious and sober paeon to. Here's a curveball: Democrat Rep. John Lewis, Civil Rights veteran. And Meg Whitman, the CEO of eBay. (Obama answered this before I started blogging this, and joked about Warren himself, talked about his family, then named Nunn, Lugar, Kennedy, and for diversity, Coburn.) A well articulated-answer, but a little too somber given Obama's overly personal performance. This is an audience that wants personal.

9:10: Here it comes!!! This'll be good. What is your greatest moral failure, and what is the greatest moral failure of America? McCain: "My greatest moral failing, and I have been a very imperfect person, is the failure of my first marriage." Says nothing else. America's greatest failure is devoting ourselves to individualism. After 9/11, we (Bush, not we as a nation, Bush! say it, dammit!) shouldn't have said go shopping, but we should have expanded the Peace Corps and service. Goes on to quote Warren, "This is not about you."

I hate to say this, but he handled that answer well. He admitted to his failed marriage so won't get hit for ducking it with torture or anything like that, but managed to not elaborate and put the focus on service. Most independents and undecideds probably don't know the marriage's details, so bearing that in mind, his focus on service did gel well with the question since hey, he's right, we are a selfish, individualistic society not focused on the common good or on public service. But, I think Obama did a better job by talking about Christian obligation and Matthew 25. That's what these voters want to hear, and it's more personal. McCain gets a positive here, but not nearly the positive Obama got.

9:10: What have you changed positions on that's not a flip flop? McCain: "Offshore drilling! We've got to drill now, and we've got drill here!" What is this, a Harley convention? Makes his first joke of the evening by impersonating Gov. Ah-nuld's accent.

Energy never came up with Obama. Ok, it did, but as a five second throwaway at the end. McCain scores big political points by elaborating on energy. He lists everything we need - solar, wind, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear - and salutes the French. But I really, really wish we could get someone to actually educate the public about offshore drilling. Dammit.

9:12: What's the most gut-wrenching decision you've ever had to make? Tells the story of choosing to stay in the POW camp when they offered to let the Admiral's kid go home. I won't sum up the answer, but it is personal, and it is moving. The honor and strenght McCain showed as a POW is admirable, and not in a thirty second way. Read his old US News account, admire him, respect him - and then vote against him.

9:14: First commercial break. So far, I'd say McCain is doing a good job, but not nearly as good a job as Obama did. Religion has only come up once with McCain - just now, he said his time as a POW took a lot of prayer. Obama was much more open and forthcoming about faith, tying it into several policy positions and thought processes by this point. Obama has also been very personal and chatty, wheras except for his final POW answer, McCain has been stiff and somber. If this is Obama vs. McCain for a complexly conservative crowd, so far, McCain has fended him off, but the challenge is strong.

9:18: What does faith mean to you? "It means I'm saved and forgiven." Tells another POW story of worshipping with another soldier. Very moving, but more personal than faithful. It's clear he doesn't mind being personal, but that he doesn't want to talk about faith. McCain wins with those not paying attention who are moved by stories of courage; Obama wins with everyone actually paying attention to the substance of faith.

9:21: Abortion. McCain is pro-life, human rights start at conception. Gay marriage. Man and a woman. Wow, short and sweet. McCain: are we going to get to the Courts, or do I need to bring it up now? Warren: we'll get to it. But, was the CA Supreme Court wrong? McCain: Yes. I'm a federalist, I believe that this is a state issue, and I hope AZ will "Recognize the unique status of marriage between a man a woman." But this doesn't mean they can't enter into legal agreements (is that civil union?). I would only favor a Constitutional amendment if a federal court said my state had to do what other states did.

9:23: Embryonic stem cells. McCain says it is a great dilemma "for those of us in the pro-life community." As someone who is pro-life, I would say no, it's not, those embroys would be unused and discarded anyway. But at least he is pro-research.

9:24: Does evil exist? Do we ignore it, contain it, or defeat it? McCain: "Defeat it... If I have to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, I will." The answer from the first GOP primary debate, but without the weird smile. Goes on to decry "radical Islamic extremism" (hey, he dropped that awful unword Islamofacism, hooray). Personally, I like Obama's social justice answer much better, but I think McCain's national security answer will score more points with independents.

9:26: Which existing justices would you not have nominated? McCain: In a slow and measured tone, "With all due respect, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Souter, and Justice Stevens." The next President will have two or three vacancies. We need justices who will not legislate from the bench (so you wouldn't nominate Scalia, then? phoo), and he's proud of Alito and Roberts.

9:29: Faith based organizations. McCain says New Orleans wouldn't be where it was without the faith groups, and I've got to say, he's dead on, he's never said anything truer. But be that as it may, it was an uneventful answer with the angry edge in his voice he's had all night long. It'll look good in print to the faith crowd, but nothing big for the viewers.

9:30: Do you support merit pay? And don't give me a stump speech on education. Big Mac: Yes, and find the bad ones another line of work. Warren: Wow, these are short answers, we'll have time for a poker game! Big Mac: Vouchers, charter schools, homeschooling, choices, we need it! Charter schools work! Me: Yes, they do. I graduated from one. But didn't Pastor Warren tell you no stump speech? Pastor Warren, aren't you going to stop him? No? Oh well. Anyways, it's one of McCain's best answers of the evening, and actually shows some domestic policy detail, something he's not known for.

9:32: Warren: On taxes, define rich. Give me a number. Big Mac: Some of the richest people I've ever known in my life are unhappy. Rich should be defined as a home, a good job, an education, and the ability to hand a good world to our children. "I don't want to take any money from the rich, I want everybody to get rich!" Small businessmen who work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week are not rich. Don't raise their taxes. Let's give every family a tax credit for children, a health care tax credit, blahblahblah. I was a McCain guy in 2000, when my political identity was only just starting to form, but now even *I* want to vomit.

He spins off his answer into an attack on spending - $3 million to study bear DNA in Montana. "Now, I don't know if that was a paternity issue or a criminal issue." Yeah, and we spend $10 billion a week in Iraq. Where's your fiscal responsibility now, old man? $3 million ain't going to balance the budget. I'm the young person you say you want to hand a better world to. And I think you're full of it when it comes to budget politics. Your heart's in the right place, but so was the Scarecrow's.

9:37: Security questions, but I have to take the dog outside.

9:41: Warren: What is worth committing American lives for? Big Mac: freedom. Quotes Reagan. American blood is precious. No other nation has ever shed its blood for other peoples' freedom. We won the Cold War because of our ideology, and we defeated communism, and we can defeat radical Islam. Can we talk about Georgia? No, Warren moves on. When would you commit troops? Genocide in Darfur, or mass killings in Georgia? McCain: Our obligation is to stop genocide. We messed up in Rwanda. Cindy was just there with Hucakbee and Frist (he doesn't mention that Daschle and Podesta were also on the trip, it was through the ONE Campaign). We've got to martial the world's forces to not make the same mistake in Rwanda. We can supply the logistics, equipment, and aid. "We've got to be committed to never saying never again, again."

And then Warren throws him a bone and asks about Georgia, something he did not do with Obama. Politically, McCain does a good job balancing compassion (and prayer) for Georgia with toughness against Russia. An appealing answer.

9:49: I had great respect for him until the General started this year, but right now, McCain is boring me.

9:50: Warren's personal question about orphans. Could we do a PEPFAR, an emergency plan, for the 150 million orphans? They need families! Big Mac: I think we have to make adoption a lot easier in this country, that's why so many people go to other countries. TR was the first modern American president to talk about adoption (he was also the first modern American president), and I promise this is my last story. (Talks about his adopted daughter.) As an adopted child myself, I love this answer, BUT, it does not address Warren's question, since it address US orphans but not the global issue.

9:52: Warren: Why do you want to be President? Hamburger: I want to inspire Americans to serve, and to put their country first like I've always done in the Navy and in Congress. Our best days are ahead. America wants hope and optimism. I reach across the aisle, and I want to do that. But you know, he kind of sounds angry as he says that.

9:53: Warren: What would you say to people who object to me asking you these questions in a church? McCain: I want to be in every venue in America talking about these issues, and America was founded on Judeo-Christian values (got to love Jefferson's Bible, right, McCain?). That wraps it up.

There's more...

Liveblogging Warren and Obama

Since Todd's taping the Rick Warren religious forum, I'll go ahead and do some sparse liveblogging, as readers of my personal blog will know I am acutely interested in the intersection of faith and politics.

8:11: Pastor Warren just asked Obama about his greatest personal moral failing, and the biggest moral failing of the nation. In a remarkably personal answer that I give huge marks for candor, Obama discussed his past drug and alcohol use, and chalked it up to selfishness. As for the larger country, he said it is that we fail to live up to Matthew 25, which says that whatever we do to the least of these, we do to Christ. This answer impresses me because Obama specifically quoted it as Matthew and yes, it is Matthew 25, but at the Dartmouth debate last September, Edwards said it wasn't a single verse, but just a general theme. So Obama is already demonstrating an excellent grasp of Christian issues that national Democrats often have a hard time showing.

8:17: Pastor Warren: what's the most gut-wrenching decision you've ever had to make? Obama: opposing the war in Iraq, "not just because of the political consequences but because Saddam Hussein was a really bad person, and there was no doubt he meant America ill." But experts had tough questions, such as what will the postwar look like, and those unanswered questions bothered Obama. I have to wonder, do you think he planned to try and slip in an Iraq answer early? I might have thought that issues surrounding Trinity and his personal minister would be more gut-wrenching for a progressive like Obama...

First commercial break. Coming up, worldview.

8:10: While we're on commercial, some general thoughts: One, I'm thrilled Warren will ask identical questions of both candidates. That wasn't done at the primary-season Compassion Forum with Obama and Clinton, and it really bugged me. Two, Warren is already showing more responsibility than the MSM by acknowledging that both candidates are patriots. And three, is there anyone else who could get both candidates to show up? Combine that with Obama's half-joke about seeking Warren's advice as president, I have to wonder - is Rick Warren the new Billy Graham?

8:21: Warren is talking about worldview. I wish he'd more specifically defined the word, as I've heard multiple definitions from it within faith communities. Anyways, Obama is talking about what Christianity means to him. He leads off with "Jesus Christ died for my sins" and says "I do not walk alone with him," and elaborates on sins being "washed away." That is not a universal Christian approach, but it is one the evangelical and black communities embrace. Obama adds that Christianity brings along not just a personal sense of purity and piety, but also obligation to "walk humbly" and show mercy and reach out to "the least of these," and be willing to correct course when wrong - "That didn't quite work out the way it should have, but maybe I can try a little better. That gives me the confidence to try things, like run for President." If he really wanted to hit a homerun with evangelicals, he would have added that Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation. But maybe this really is personal, not political.

8:24: Warren: Abortion. When does a baby get human rights? Obama: That question, either scientifically or theologically, is "above my paygrade." But he is convinced that there is a moral element to the issue, and anyone who denies its difficulty isn't paying attention. BUT, he is indeed pro-choice, not because he is pro-abortion, but "Because I don't think women come to these decisions casually." Women, he said, do wrestle with the issues and seek wise counsel. Home-run, I'd say, especially since he goes on to talk about respecting pro-lifers as people coming from a faith position and speaks to the importance of reducing the number of abortions. The rest of you won't like this, and I try not to talk about this here and I will not address it in the comment section, but here's a confession for you: I'm actually pro-life, possibly because of my adoption. I don't vote on it and I don't care much about it, but it is where I stand. So trust me when I say, if any pro-choice answer would reach out to the pro-life community, it was this one.

8:27: Marriage. Big applause line when he says marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and a smaller applause when he says God is in the mix. Also small applause when he says gay marriage is a state issue, not a Constitutional issue. I'm a little disappointed in Warren for bringing up these two issues so quickly. As an active lay leader in The Episcopal Church career plans for eventual priesthood, one of my main concerns is broadening the church's focus, and the non-church's perception of the church, to poverty, the environment, oppression, and social/economic justice. Sure, these hot-topic issues have to be addressed, but couldn't they have been saved for last?

8:31: They talked about stem cells, but I was focused on my pasta (late dinner). Next question: Does evil exist, and if it does, do we ignore, contain, or defeat it? Obama: It does exist. We see it in Darfur, on the streets of our cities, and in parents who viciously abuse their children. We can't erase evil in the world, that's God's job, but we can be soldiers in that process. It is important that we have humility in the issue of confronting evil: "A lot of evil has been perpetrated base don the claim that we were trying to defeat evil... in the name of good." He should have quoted Lincoln: let's not pray that God is on our side, but that we are on God's side.

8:33: The Courts. Here's an interesting twist: Which existing SC judge would you NOT have nominated? Obama: gets applause for saying Clarence Thomas. "I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the facts that I profoundly disagree with" his Constitutional views. Also, not Scalia, "because he and I just disagree." John Roberts was tougher (really? you would even consider nominating a conservative, even a respectful one?), although he's been lacking since he took the bench. One of the Court's most important jobs is protecting separation of powers, and Roberts has been too eager to give POTUS more power than the Constitution intended. Did anyone read Slate's analysis of Obama's tests as a law professor at Chicago?

8:35: Warren: 80% of Americans think faith groups do a better job with fighting poverty, prison recidivism, etc. Would you insist they forfeit the right to federal funds? Obama: You know I gave a speech this summer supporting those funds! I got my start out of college working with churches, "I know the power of faith-based institutions to get stuff done." Reminds me of my time in New Orleans where the churches stood where the govenrment did (and does) not, but I digress. 8:38: Warren cites Katrina, saying don't I have the right to only hire relief workers that believe like I do? (Personal plug, most of the Episcopal rebuild staff when I was there were not Episcopal workers. Again, I digress, but hey, my blogging activism has its roots in Katrina, you can't blame me.) Obama argues that hiring rules would only affect the programs that recieve federal funding, not other programs.

8:39: Do you believe in merit pay? Obama: I've said it before, yes. (Shades of Matt Santos...) It shouldn't be based on whims or on a single test, and the system should be set up working with teachers. All teachers should get paid more, but we should also "reward excellence."

8:40: Warren: "Define rich." He wants a number - $50k? $100k? Obama: "If you've got book sales of $25 million..." Laughter. Warren: "Hahaha, I'm not asking about ME!" But ok, serious stuff. Obama: If you are making $150k a year or less as a family, then you're middle class or poor, with allowances for region. More than $250k, "Then you're in the top 3, 4 percent of this country, you're doing well." This is true, and a point I wished more folks in that bracket realized. Heck, even folks making $100k are in the top 20%. Anyways, Obama said we do have to pay for education, roads, etc. "I believe it is irresponsible, intergenerationally, for us to invest or to spend $10 billion on a war and not have a way of paying for it." This is why we need taxes. But, the tax code also needs more fairness and simplicity.

As a 21 year old kid, I say: thank you. The deficit ticks me off like nothing else. It's not fair to me, my generation, or those younger than me. But let's start paying that more than lip service.

8:43: Commercial break. Asking Obama what defines rich brings to mind a lot of faith issues for me, a proponent of (non-violent, Latin American) liberation theology, but one in particular stands out. In modern times, the President of the United States IS Caesar. To Jesus and the Jewish peasents of the first century, the Caesars were tyrants, oppressive overlords manipulating local politics and implementing systems of debt. Christ frequently spoke to the responsible use of power, and to what people should do when their leaders do not exercise power. To a Gospel-based Christian, the invocation of Caesar and of power should have serious consequences. I say all this because both Obama and McCain call themselves Christians. Do you think they've ever equated themselves to the original Caesar, and thought about the responsibility that puts on their shoulders?

8:47: War. As an American, what's worth dying for and sacrificing lives for? Obama: American freedom. I was just on vacation, and visited my grandfather's grave, then went to the Arizona in Pearl Harbor, and was reminded of past sacrifices and the "solemn obligation that we all have." Warren: When do you go to war? Obama: It's not a line in the sand, it's always a judgment call. But an international component is always important - not that that means UN approval, but a strong international case should still be made. Cites Bosnia.

8:49: Warren: 148 million orphans in the world. Would you consider or commit to an emergency plan for orphans like what Bush has done for AIDS? Obama: I "cheated" and looked at this idea beforehand, and I think it's great and worth looking at, but part of the plan should be getting to the root of the problem, how do we prevent more orphans in the first place? The answer is building health infrastructure around the world, and while I'm a critic of Bush, he deserves credit for PEPFAR saving lives. (applause)

8:51: Religious persecution. How will you end it in Iraq and elsewhere, not just against Christianity but against millions? Obama: let's bear witness, speak out, not pretend it's not happening. China is now a lender to us because we're not taking care of our economy. None of us want military conflict with China, and we want them as a full partner, but we can't ignore the religious persecution and prosecution that happens there. Over time, we'll set up new norms and a universal principle to protect people's faiths and beliefs, and lead by example. Led's abide by rule of law, and habeus corpus, and not engage in torture. Then we'll have a moral standing.

8:53: Human trafficking is the world's third largest industry. What are you going to do? Obama: This needs to be a priority, and we need better methods of prosecution. Even in our country, thousands are trapped in slavery. We've got to give prosecutors the tools, and internationally, we must speak out and forge alliances and share intelligence. I'm thrilled Warren asked this, it's one of my top ten issues and it doesn't get nearly enough attention.

8:55: In one minute, why do you want to be President? Obama: My grandmother got the angriest at me when I was mean to people, and taught me empathy. That notion, that everybody's got a shot and that we care for the kids who can't pay for college too, is America at its best. That dream is slipping away, and we are at a critical juncture. We keep putting off the tough decisions, and Washington is so broken that we can't bring people together to solve problems. I can build bridges and try to solve things. Wild applause.

8:56: Warren: Last question. What do you say to people who oppose me asking these questions? Obama: These are the kinds of forums we need. We need conversations, and based on these conversations people can tell if you're a person of good judgment. We want people to have good information, not thirty second ads. This is his first real dodge of the evening. Warren was asking about faith and politics and Obama ducked it, but then again, Warren could have been more direct.

There's more...

Rick Warren Faith Forum LiveThread

Pastor Rick Warren of SoCal's Saddleback mega-church will be interviewing Barack Obama and John McCain separately each for 1 hour beginning at 8pm EDT. The media is playing up the "Obama and McCain on the same stage!" thing but all they'll be doing, as I understand it, is shaking hands at the halfway mark.

This is not Obama's first appearance at Saddleback. Back in December 2006, he appeared with Sam Brownback at a World AIDS Day summit that Warren held there. Barack was welcomed warmly and Salon recalls this sharp exchange with Brownback:

Figuring their joint appearance at an Orange County evangelical church finally put the shoe on the other foot, Brownback turned to Obama and said, "Welcome to my house." The audience of evangelicals howled with laughter. But when Obama had the chance to speak a few minutes later, he returned to what Brownback had said: "There is one thing I've got to say, Sam: This is my house, too. This is God's house."

It looks like CNN is airing the forum live. I'll have to watch it recorded a bit later but consider this a Saddleback church forum live thread.

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Diaries

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