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The Public Education Swamp Refuses to Learn Anything from A Year of Embarrassing Failures


REPORTED BY: ROBERT BUSEK | JUNE 08, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/06/08/the-public-education-swamp-refuses-to-learn-anything-from-a-year-of-embarrassing-failures/

school bus

Instead of welcoming self-reflection and accountability, the educational establishment and its media allies are trying to gaslight parents.

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ROBERT BUSEK

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The 2021-2022 school year is coming to a close. As usual, students, parents, teachers, and administrators are looking over the past year to see what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve.

This year, the educational establishment’s report card is even worse than usual. It has failed to address the learning losses due to unnecessary Covid lockdowns and inspired parental uproar over critical race theory and LGBT advocacy in the classroom. It has suffered a surprising electoral defeat in Virginia and a not-so-surprising legislative setback in Florida, as well as an unprecedented number of school board recall elections. Most damaging of all, close to 2 million students have abandoned government schooling for greener (not to mention safer) pastures.

Faced with such massive public losses, one might think a little self-reflection would be in order. Instead, the educrats, with the help of their friends in the legacy media, have decided to address these serious problems by gaslighting the American public.

Avoiding Accountability at All Costs

The most recent example of this deception comes from the continuing saga of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) effort last fall to smear parents who complain at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.” The now infamous letter and even more infamous Department of Justice memo that followed it represent the depths to which the educational establishment was willing to sink to protect itself from accountability to the families it theoretically serves.

A recently completed independent review exonerated the NSBA’s board from culpability in this fiasco, fixing the blame for “both the ‘origin and substance of the letter’” on former Interim Director and CEO Chip Slaven. The review also found that while unnamed members of the Biden administration “collaborated” with Slaven, it “did not find direct or indirect evidence suggesting the administration requested the letter.”

In an effort to “clear the record,” Slaven recorded an interview last week with Fox News Digital, where he whined about being “betrayed” and “completely backstabbed” by the organization that he led. He also admitted that he disagreed with the NSBA board’s futile efforts to walk back the language of the letter, claiming that “it drenched an already inflamed and out-of-control narrative with another helping of gasoline.”

Neither Slaven nor the NSBA’s announcement bothered to address the elephant in the room: that the

organization sees engaged parents and community members who attend school board meetings as potential threats that need to be watched and possibly prosecuted by federal authorities. When pressed about this during the interview, Slaven lamely defended the substance of the letter he penned by saying, “The word ‘parents’ is not in the letter anywhere,” despite the examples cited in the letter’s footnotes.

The NSBA has offered vague platitudes about “advocat[ing] for local control” and being “committed to parent engagement” as it pursues its “nonpartisan” goals. These attempts to rewrite history come as 25 state school boards have chosen “to withdraw membership, participation, or dues from NSBA.”

Meanwhile, an FBI whistleblower has claimed that “counterterrorism tools” were indeed used against parents in accordance with the DOJ’s memo. It remains unclear whether these efforts continue presently despite the NSBA’s repudiation of the letter and its alleged author.

Legacy Media Provide Covering Fire

Of course, the left-wing corporate media have gone all in to support educrats’ efforts to deceive the public into believing they remain the valiant heroes in this ongoing drama. Lately, they’ve decided to focus their attacks on a favorite target of the left: homeschooling families.

This is hardly surprising, as the number of these families at least doubled during the lockdowns of 2020-2021. What’s more, that number has been largely maintained despite schools re-opening in the fall of 2021.

On Mother’s Day, Keith Olbermann fired an opening salvo in this new campaign against educational choice when he tweeted that a homeschooling mom was “ruin[ing] the lives of five innocent children.” Not to be outdone, MSNBC columnist Anthea Butler initiated a preemptive strike against Kirk Cameron’s upcoming documentary “The Homeschool Awakening” by disingenuously linking homeschooling not just with conservative Christianity, but also with the “segregation academies” of the post-Brown v. Board of Education South.

After grudgingly admitting the recent increase in homeschooling “may [in part] be attributed to Black parents and other diverse groups who might not otherwise dare to disagree with her leftist party line, Butler ended her hatchet job with a dire warning: 

Homeschooling may have greater appeal now because of these debates and the desire for parents to play a big part in their children’s educational life. It may also arise out of pandemic concerns, but parents unfamiliar with the existing networks of homeschooling run the danger of being drawn into Christian conservative networks and theocratic teaching. [Cameron] says that people choosing homeschooling are having an awakening, but the public needs to awaken to the reality that public schools may disappear if people with his extreme beliefs have their way. 

The left’s message to parents is loud and clear: Exercise your right to homeschool your kids and you are complicit in the cold-blooded murder of public schooling.

Institutional Suicide

In these efforts, Slaven, Olbermann, Butler, and their comrades studiously deflect from the simple truth: If American government-run schools are dying, it is not a case of murder, but of suicide.

The self-inflicted wounds keep coming despite all the warning signs of the past academic year. Last month, the school district in Kiel, Wis., accused three middle schoolers of sexual harassment for failing to refer to another student by her chosen pronouns. What parent wants to go through that as a consequence of sending his kids to public schools?

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Fairfax County Public Schools is planning to adopt a policy to suspend or even expel students who “maliciously misgender” classmates. The vote, originally scheduled for May 26, has been suspiciously delayed until June 16, perhaps so the happy chaos of the last day of school will allow the board to avoid further public scrutiny and outrage.  

As kids across the nation start their summer vacations, the battle for their minds and souls rages on. True to form, the educational establishment fights dirty, using cheap manipulation tactics to distract the public from its pursuit of ideological “business as usual.”


Robert Busek is a Catholic homeschooling father of six who has taught history and Western Civilization in both traditional and online classrooms for over twenty years. His essays have also been published in The American Conservative and The American Spectator. The views he expresses here are his own.

A Scandal for Every Month: The Biggest Botches, Failures, And Mess-Ups of Joe Biden’s First 12 Months in Office


REPORTED BY: ELLE REYNOLDS | JANUARY 20, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/20/a-scandal-for-every-month-the-biggest-botches-failures-and-mess-ups-of-joe-bidens-first-12-months-in-office/

Joe Biden in his office

Joe Biden has been in the Oval Office (or that weird set in the Eisenhower building’s South Court auditorium with the greenscreen windows) for a year now, and he’s already managed to make his short presidency known for a long line-up of scandals, botches, and slip-ups.

It’s too hard to narrow the list down to one top failure, although his disgracefully handled Afghanistan withdrawal may be the most sobering and inflation may be the one that played the biggest role in Biden’s tanking approval ratings. Even though Biden’s mess-ups tally up to far more than 12, it’s not hard to remember a Biden-enabled disaster for every month of the septuagenarian’s first year at the stern … or in the basement.

January: Biden’s Radical First Week

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed a list of radically left-wing executive orders, including an order requiring that schools must ignore the biological differences between male and female students from the athletic field to the bathroom if they wish to continue receiving federal funding. In Biden’s first week, Press Secretary Jen Psaki also signaled the administration’s plans to reinstate federal funding for abortions around the world with the reversal of the Mexico City policy, and the new president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline.

As Tristan Justice reported at the time, “Biden’s first 48 hours in office have launched the new administration with 17 executive orders, more than were issued in the first month of their presidencies by Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton combined.”

February: Biden’s CDC Worked to Keep Schools Closed

In February, Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced strict reopening guidelines that would keep many schools around the country shut down. “Only K-12 schools in cities and areas with low or moderate virus transmission can fully reopen for in-person learning, as long as physical distancing and mask-wearing is enforced,” Jordan Boyd reported on Feb. 12. “Any transmission rate beyond what is designated as moderate requires hybrid learning or ‘reduced attendance,’ limiting which children are allowed in the classroom at the same time.”

On the same day, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted that far-left teachers unions that have worked to keep students out of school buildings over the course of the Covid pandemic had influence when the CDC created its school reopening guidelines.

March: Working With Corporations to Create Vax Passports

As The Washington Post first reported, the Biden White House spent the month of March plotting with corporations to develop a “vaccine passport” system to force Americans to show their Covid papers in order to participate fully in society. “The passports are expected to be free and available through applications for smartphones, which could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass,” the Post noted.

April: Biden Debuts Radical Social Spending Plan

At the end of April, Biden announced his “American Families Plan,” a list of far-left spending priorities, many of which would become hallmarks of his struggling Build Back Bankrupt agenda. The goals of the proposed $1.8 trillion spending spree included extending government schooling fully into preschool and two years of taxpayer-provided community college.

May: More Unsavory Hunter Exploits Emerge

Scandal follows President Biden’s troubled son Hunter around, as the country learned when the New York Post published damning information recovered from a laptop the younger Biden allegedly left at a repair store in late 2020. But further revelations about Hunter’s exploits emerged in May of last year, adding to the pile of unsavory behavior that may implicate the president himself.

New emails from Hunter Biden’s suspected laptop published on May 26 by the Post show that Joe Biden “met with Ukrainian, Russian and Kazakhstani business associates of his son’s at a dinner in Washington, DC, while he was vice president” in April 2015.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together,” wrote executive Vadym Pozharskyi of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where Hunter sat on the board.

Other emails published by The Daily Mail in May revealed that Hunter Biden bragged he “smoked crack with [former D.C. Mayor] Marion Barry” when he was a student at Georgetown University.

June: Record-Setting Crisis at the Southern Border

Biden’s crisis at the Southern border has been setting records all year, but it was in June that apprehensions surged past 1 million for fiscal year 2021 and border crossings were at the highest levels since 2006. In May alone, “170,000 people were captured, marking a 20-year high,” Gabe Kaminsky reported at the time. June also saw the border state of Texas declare an emergency over Biden’s border crisis, which the president helped cause by reversing Trump-era stances like the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

As the crisis raged, Biden’s border czar Vice President Kamala Harris couldn’t be bothered to visit the actual U.S.-Mexico line, snapping “I haven’t been to Europe” when reporters pressed her on the topic. She finally caved and scheduled a trip, but only after former President Donald Trump announced his plans to visit.

July: Bragging about Working with Big Tech to Silence Dissent

In July, the Biden administration bragged about colluding with Big Tech to shut down perspectives with which the regime disagreed. In a press briefing on July 15, Psaki touted the administration’s policy of “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.” A few days later, Psaki admitted there was nothing “off the table” in the effort to smear dissent as “misinformation” and have it removed from social media.

August: Bungled Afghanistan Withdrawal

August saw the largest-scale disaster on Biden’s watch so far, when the administration’s disorganized withdrawal from Afghanistan left 13 American service members dead and thousands of American citizens and allies stranded under Taliban control.

From the administration’s decision to vacate Bagram Air Base before evacuating Americans from the country, to leaving weapons and equipment to fall into the hands of the Taliban, to Biden taking an out-of-touch, hollow victory lap after the service members’ deaths and while Americans remained stranded, to the administration’s ongoing decision to ignore the allies still behind enemy lines, every action taken by the Biden team was a disaster. In the same month, the administration carried out a drone strike targeted at ISIS operatives that actually killed at least 10 civilians, seven of whom were children.

Americans won’t soon forget the harrowing images of desperate people trampling each other in the chaotic race to the Kabul airport, of people clinging to aircraft landing gear and falling helpless from the sky, or of a lone helicopter leaving the roof of the American embassy. There is blood on Biden’s hands, and our allies won’t soon forget it either.

September: Biden Lies to Undermine His Own Border Patrol Agents

After a photo of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback was misconstrued by Democrats and their media allies to falsely accuse agents of “whipping” criminals, Biden promised to make his own CBP employees “pay” and the White House banned agents in Del Rio, Texas from using horses going forward.

“It was horrible to see. To see people treated like they did. Horses running them over people being strapped. It’s outrageous,” Biden claimed, even though the photographer who took the viral photo insisted he’d “never seen them whip anyone.”

October: Biden’s Ed Secretary, DOJ Collude with NSBA to Smear Parents as Domestic Terrorists

On Sept. 29, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the White House asking Biden to use the FBI and other federal law enforcement to target parents using terrorism laws. A few days later on Oct. 4, in response to the letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI and federal attorneys to investigate and address “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

As it turns out, however, Biden’s own Education Secretary Miguel Cardona appears to have secretly requested the letter from NSBA, presumably to use as a pretense for the administration’s push to target parents unhappy with public schools’ closures, mask mandates, and extremist LGBT and critical race theory curricula.

November: That Tyrannical, Unconstitutional OSHA Vax Mandate

After issuing a September press release threatening a vaccine mandate for private businesses with 100 or more employees, Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an emergency temporary standard on Nov. 4 that would require businesses to comply by Jan. 4 or incur fines of up to $14,000 per violation.

The Supreme Court struck this down in January, of course, and the Biden administration knew it was flagrantly unconstitutional all along — but exploiting the delays of the judicial system allowed the administration to bully many corporations into compliance anyway. Never mind the fact that the Biden administration had promised during the campaign that it wouldn’t mandate the Covid vaccine.

December: Supply Chain and Inflation Nightmare

December saw the climax (so far) of Biden’s joint inflation and supply chain crisis, dually caused by the administration’s radical spending and Democrats’ Covid lockdowns. As Americans faced shortages and shipping delays during their Christmas shopping, the Department of Labor released its November figures revealing 6.8 percent year-to-year inflation, or “the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982.”

December’s inflation numbers were even higher, clocking in at 7 percent.

Bonus: January 2022: Compared Filibuster Defenders to George Wallace, Jefferson Davis

In a Jan. 11 speech urging the U.S. Senate to ditch filibuster rules in order to pass his radical and unconstitutional federalization of election laws, President Biden compared his agenda’s critics — which include Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — to former Alabama Gov. George Wallace and Confederate leader Jefferson Davis.

“Do you want to be the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?” Biden said. Comparing his critics to notorious segregationists isn’t a good way to start year two of the Biden era.

Who knows what new scandals and embarrassments await the Biden administration in 2022? For the sake of the country, we can hope for fewer than in 2021, but it’s clear the administration has a failed track record only one year in.


Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.

18 school board groups cut ties with NSBA for likening parent protests to ‘domestic terrorism’


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter| Thursday, December 09, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/18-state-orgs-quit-national-school-board-group-over-biden-letter.html/

Moms for America protest
Kimberly Fletcher, president of Moms for America, speaks at a protest outside the National School Boards Association headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on Oct. 27, 2021. | Moms for America

The fallout over a letter from the National School Boards Association comparing parent protests and threats to domestic terrorism continues as 18 state affiliates have announced intentions to cut ties with the national education organization, according to a watchdog group. The letter at issue, sent by NSBA leadership to President Joe Biden on Sept. 29, requested “federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against public schoolchildren, public school board members, and other public school district officials and educators.”

After expressing concern about the increased “acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials,” NSBA President Viola Garcia and Interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven urged Biden to classify “these heinous actions” as “domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

In October, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memorandum directing the FBI to “convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders within 30 days” to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” 

While the NSBA apologized for the letter three weeks after its publication and it has since taken it offline, outrage over the tone of the request still looms large. In the weeks and months following the letter’s publication, the number of state school board associations that have either distanced themselves from the NSBA letter or withdrawn from the organization entirely continues to grow.

The advocacy group Parents Defending Education, which vehemently opposes the rhetoric of the NSBA letter, has compiled a list of actions taken by state school board associations in response to the letter. In the past three weeks alone, state school board associations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi and Virginia have voted to withdraw from the NSBA. The school board associations in these states join their counterparts in Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin in announcing their departure from the NSBA immediately or in the near future.

Additionally, several additional states have distanced themselves from the rhetoric in the NSBA letter without formally withdrawing from the national organization. Most notably, the Delaware School Boards Association, based in the president’s home state, issued a forceful response to an inquiry from Parents Defending Education.

“The DSBA disagrees, in the strongest possible terms, with parents and citizens protesting school board meetings being characterized as ‘domestic terrorists’ and their protests being likened to ‘hate crimes,” the organization said in a statement. “The DSBA firmly asserts that citizen and public engagement in school board meetings is an integral and vital aspect of school board governance. We also made it clear that any attempt to silence citizens’ voices is a clear violation of their rights to free speech.”

The DSBA also lamented that the NSBA did not consult with them before sending the letter, noting that had they done so, the state organization would “NOT have allowed the DSBA to be associated with the letter” and “would have asked that the language be changed to reflect the fact that the DSBA does not support the letter and should not be generally included in it.”

The NSBA letter stated that it was sent “on behalf of our state associations and more than 90,000 school board members who govern our country’s 14,000 local public school districts.”

Nine other state school board associations responded to Parents Defending Education, expressing some degree of disagreement with the rhetoric of the NSBA letter or stressing a belief in the ability of parents to speak out about their children’s education. Those states are Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

Hawaii is not part of the NSBA. An email obtained via public records request revealed the head of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees telling his board that he thinks they should ignore the email from Parents Defending Education. The remaining state school board associations did not respond to the inquiry from the advocacy group. 

The NSBA letter followed a summer defined by intense protests at school board meetings in some localities nationwide as parents and community members had expressed outrage about policies allowing trans-identified students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity as opposed to their biological sex, the use of sexually explicit material in the curriculum and the incorporation critical race theory components into the curriculum. 

Specific examples cited by the NSBA letter of “heinous actions” taken by parents speaking out at school board meetings include “anti-mask proponents [who] are inciting chaos during board meetings,” confrontation of school board members by “angry mobs” that have “forced meetings to end abruptly” and a resident of Alabama who describes himself as “vaccine police” calling school administrators “while filming himself on Facebook Live.” 

Another occurrence cited as problematic in the letter was the mocking of a Tennessee student “during a board meeting for advocating masks in schools after testifying that his grandmother, who was an educator, died because of COVID-19.” 

Five days after the NSBA letter’s publication, Garland wrote the memorandum directing federal law enforcement agencies to work with their counterparts at the local level to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats.” The move led to further criticism and a lawsuit.

Opposition to critical race theory and sexually explicit material in public schools played a significant part in last month’s off-year elections. In last month’s election, candidates who campaigned in opposition to critical race theory performed well in school board races.

At the same time, Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, who proclaimed in a debate with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” lost the election. A recent poll from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty found that 63% of Americans think parents should have the “final say” in what children are taught at school. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Message To Concerned Parents Is Clear: Shut Up Or Else


Reported By John Daniel Davidson | OCTOBER 22, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/10/22/attorney-general-merrick-garlands-message-to-concerned-parents-is-clear-shut-up-or-else/

What do you call it when the country’s largest school board association secretly coordinates with the Biden White House before issuing a formal request that the administration use the FBI to investigate dissenting parents as potential “domestic terrorists,” and then, five days later, the Justice Department issues a memorandum to the FBI to do just that?

The old-fashioned word for it is corruption — corruption of our institutions, the rule of law, the administration of justice, the separation of powers. It is also an egregious abuse of power on the part of the Biden administration, which apparently has no qualms about calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland when the president’s political allies need a little muscle.

In a contentious congressional hearing on Thursday, Garland confirmed that the basis of his Oct. 4 memorandum, which directed the FBI and U.S. attorney’s offices to launch a task force to combat what Garland called a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” was a letter that the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent to the White House on Sept. 29.

That is, Garland’s evidence that there’s a “disturbing spike” in these kinds of threats is the NSBA letter itself, which was produced after weeks of collaboration with Biden’s White House. This is the same letter in which the NSBA urged the Biden administration to use tools like the Patriot Act to target parents who show up at school board meetings to complain about mask mandates and critical race theory curricula, as if they were “domestic terrorists.”

Incredibly, the news about NSBA’s collusion with the White House broke while Garland was testifying Thursday. During his testimony, Garland insisted that, the NSBA letter notwithstanding, he “can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children,” nor any circumstance in which those instances “would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”

We are left to understand then, that the role Garland envisions for the DOJ in all of this is — what? His memo cites no instances of violence or threats of violence against school board members, and Garland himself admitted before Congress that the basis of his memo was the NSBA letter.

But the vast majority of incidents cited in the NSBA letter didn’t involve attacks or threats of any kind. A few cases involved local law enforcement, but nothing cited in the letter comes close to “domestic terrorism” or anything that would justify the involvement of the FBI or the DOJ. For the most part, the letter cited cases in which parents disrupted school board meetings by protesting, often because they were not given an opportunity to speak out on issues that directly affect the education of their children.

The letter of course didn’t cite instances where school board members have threatened parents, Like this one:

To be clear, the DOJ has no role whatsoever in policing the interactions of parents and local school boards. Whatever happens at those meetings, however contentious they might get, they are entirely under the purview of local and state authorities. For Garland to even suggest that federal prosecutors might get involved is itself a scandal and an egregious abuse of power.

That’s what this is really all about. Set aside the details of the machinations between the Biden White House and the NSBA and the DOJ. What it comes down to is a coordinated effort by the left — including the most powerful law enforcement official in the country, the attorney general — to intimidate parents into silence.

Want to show up and speak out at your local school board meeting? Maybe hold a protest sign in the parking lot? Well then, you might just get a knock on your door from the FBI. Better think twice about that.

These are parents who have every right, by God and the U.S. Constitution, strenuously to voice their opposition to mask mandates, critical race theory, transgender ideology, and all the other nonsense that woke school boards and teachers are trying to foist on their kids. In fact they have a duty to do so.

But instead of listening to the concerns of such parents, the top brass at the NSBA decided to call in a political favor to the White House, which in turn let loose the Justice Department. Through it all, the corporate media executed a PR campaign on behalf of Biden and the school boards.

And why are they trying to intimidate parents into silence? Because when all’s said and done, the leftist ideologues who sit on school boards, work in the White House, and push paper for Garland’s Justice Department don’t want parents to have a say in how public schools are run and what children are taught. As far as they’re concerned, your children don’t belong to you, and their education is not your concern.

The message from the left is clear: comply, stay quiet, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll leave you alone. For now.

John is the Political Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.

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