John Deere does good……

The farm machinery maker posted higher-than-expected earnings, sending its shares up more than 8 percent, as wider margins at its farm equipment and finance units helped it overcome weak economic conditions.

Deere [DE  56.339   2.559  (+4.76%)   ] Wednesday also raised its outlook for fiscal 2010 machinery sales growth to a range of 6 percent to 8 percent, from a previous estimate that sales would fall 1 percent.

Profitability in the unit that makes Deere’s green tractors and harvesters was especially impressive, reporting margins of nearly 10 percent — three times what investors had expected, according to Eli Lustgarten, an analyst at Longbow Securities.

“It looks like brilliant profitability in ag in a relatively weak market,” Lustgarten said. “It’s a combination of restructuring, it’s a combination of operating efficiency, it’s execution, and brilliant ag margins.”

Deere, the world’s largest maker of agricultural equipment, reported a fiscal first-quarter net profit of $243.2 million, or 57 cents a share, up from $203.9 million, or 48 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $4.84 billion.

People gotta eat…right?

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The Stimulus Worked……period…….

From Charles Lemos over @ MyDD.Com…..

David Leonhardt of the New York Times finds that despite some minor flaws and some valid criticism that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has the done the job it was intended to do. In other words, the fiscal stimulus added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will roughly be an estimated 2.5 million jobs.

Pick just about any area of the economy and you come across the stimulus bill’s footprints.

In the early months of last year, spending by state and local governments was falling rapidly, as was tax revenue. In the spring, tax revenue continued to drop, yet spending jumped — during the very time when state and local officials were finding out roughly how much stimulus money they would be receiving. This is the money that has kept teachers, police officers, health care workers and firefighters employed.

Then there is corporate spending. It surged in the final months of last year. Mark Zandi of Economy.com (who has advised the McCain campaign and Congressional Democrats) says that the Dec. 31 expiration of a tax credit for corporate investment, which was part of the stimulus, is a big reason.

The story isn’t quite as clear-cut with consumer spending, as skeptics note. Its sharp plunge stopped before President Obama signed the stimulus into law exactly one year ago. But the billions of dollars in tax cuts, food stamps and jobless benefits in the stimulus have still made a difference. Since February, aggregate wages and salaries have fallen, while consumer spending has risen. The difference between the two — some $100 billion — has essentially come from stimulus checks.

The second argument in the bill’s favor is the history of financial crises. They have wreaked terrible damage on economies. Indeed, the damage tended to be even worse than what we have suffered.

Around the world over the last century, the typical financial crisis caused the jobless rate to rise for almost five years, according to work by the economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. On that timeline, our rate would still be rising in early 2012. Even that may be optimistic, given that the recent crisis was so bad. As Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson (Republicans both) and many others warned in 2008, this recession had the potential to become a depression.

Yet the jobless rate is now expected to begin falling consistently by the end of this year.

For that, the stimulus package, flaws and all, deserves a big heaping of credit. “It prevented things from getting much worse than they otherwise would have been,” Nariman Behravesh, Global Insight’s chief economist, says. “I think everyone would have to acknowledge that’s a good thing.”

It worked….All the crying righty’s were wrong……

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Jay-Z on the New "We are the World " Video…..

Story photo: Jay-Z:

Jay-Z wasn’t a big fan of the “We Are the World” remake, which debuted at the Olympic opening ceremonies Friday to benefit Haiti earthquake relief.

“I know everybody is gonna take this wrong: ‘We Are the World,’ I love it, and I understand the point and think it’s great. But I think ‘We Are the World’ is like [Michael Jackson‘s] ‘Thriller’ to me. I don’t ever wanna see it touched,” Jay-Z told MTVNews.com Saturday night at the 2 Kings dinner in Dallas.

Critics agree with the rapper. Sniped The Washington Post of the song, which featured Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, “The updated take was horribly oversung… save for the 21st-century rap verses added toward the end of the track.” Wrote the New York Times, “Lil Wayne, you’re no Bob Dylan…. as a piece of work, [the song] has all the pitfalls of a Hollywood remake.”

Continued Jay-Z, 40, “I’m a fan of music. I know the plight and everything that’s going on in Haiti. I applaud the efforts: [Millions have been raised] through text [donations] to Haiti. So I appreciate the efforts and everything, but ‘We Are The World’ is [musically] untouchable like ‘Thriller’ is untouchable. Some things are just untouchable. It was a valiant effort, but for me, it’s gonna be untouchable.

His suggestion?

“I think it’s time for us to make a new [song],” Jay-Z said. “I tried to do that with ‘Stranded,’ [the tune Jay Z, Rihanna and U2’s Bono and The Edge premiered at the ‘Hope for Haiti Now’ telethon]. I didn’t try to make ‘We Are the World,’ but I tried to make our take on how we felt.”

Maybe they should have YOUR song…huh?

At least he isn’t REALLY dissing the song……if fact….. he’s actually praising it…..

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Lamont announces for Connecticut Governor…..

Businessman Ned Lamont, who beat Joe Lieberman in a Democratic primary for Senate in 2006, announced his candidacy for Connecticut governor today at the Old State House in Hartford.

Lamont, 56, touted his experience in the cable television industry as well as his stints as a college teacher and a local official in Greenwich, Conn. Lamont eventually lost the 2006 Senate race to Lieberman, who ran in the general election as an independent.

Gov. Jodi Rell, a Republican, is not running for another term as the state’s chief executive. The non-partisan Cook Political Report says the race is a tossup.

Several other Democrats have expressed an interest in the race, including Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy. Lamont led the Democratic field in a Quinnipiac Poll from January, but 44% of respondents said they were undecided.

On the Republican side, Greenwich businessman Tom Foley — a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland — has said he is running and will skip the state’s limits on how much a candidate can raise and spend in the race.

The Associated Press reports that Lamont, who spent $16 million in his unsuccessful Senate race, will also opt out of Connecticut’s public financing program. Lamont said he’s “not going to go into this battle with one armed tied behind my back.”

From USA Today…..

This from the Merlin on February 5th…….

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…..Alexi Giannoulias leads in the Illinois Senate Race?…..

This from PolitcialWire.…..

Giannoulias Poll Gives Him Slight Lead in Illinois

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll in Illinois shows Alexi Giannoulias (D) leading Rep. Mark Kirk (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 45%.

Caveat: The poll was paid for by Giannoulias and differs from several other recent surveys of the race.

This also from the Washington Post’s the Fix…..

A new poll conducted for Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias‘s Senate campaign and obtained by the Fix provides a bit of good news for Senate Democrats, beleaguered by the surprise retirement of Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.) on Monday. In the survey, which was conducted by Michael Bocian of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Giannoulias held a 49 percent to 45 percent edge over Rep. Mark Kirk (R). Those numbers are consistent with surveys conducted in October (Giannoulias 46, Kirk 43) and July (Giannoulias 45, Kirk 40) by the Democrat’s campaign. While the national environment appears to be quickly eroding for President Obama and Democrats, the bottom has not fallen out in Illinois, according to the poll. Nearly six in ten (59 percent) of voters view Obama favorable while 31 percent see him in an unfavorable light. Among independents, a group with whom Democrats have lost considerable ground in the past year, a majority (51 percent) still regard Obama favorably while 35 percent do not. Several caveats are in order. First, any poll conducted for a campaign must be analyzed with some level of skepticism. Second, the Giannoulias poll runs counter to some of the other data that has been released in the contest: Rasmussen showed Kirk ahead 46 percent to 40 percent earlier this month and an internal Kirk poll put his lead at 12 points. The truth of where the race stands probably lies somewhere in the middle with Giannoulias and Kirk running roughly even. How the candidates and campaigns perform then is where the race will be decided. Both sides will take hits — Giannoulias over his ties to his family bank, Kirk over his perceived flip-floppery — on major issues. Whatever candidate can give better than he gets will win.

The Dog agree’s with Chris……

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Obama is wrong on Civilian Terrorist Trials…….

The Dog doesn’t usually come out this direct and strong on a issue…but after long and hot discussions with my spouse I have to say she’s right….

The President is wrong on this issue……

From the start the issue was a appeasement to our European friends who came to see the Guantanamo Bay detention center as a bad thing (earlier interrogation abuses )……

But President Obama ……is the American president, and most American’s are fine….. it turns out with the bad guys remaining right where they are…on the Island of Cuba…..

This is a battle that is unneccessary, and just plain dumb…..

Trying terrorists in civilian courts make no sense…..

My wife railed on about the Miranda thing…I calmly reminded her that despite the yelling from the right …anything the FBI got from Uma Farouk Abdulmutallab on the NW235 flight BEFORE he was Mirandized (it turns out after 9 Hours of questioning) could not be used in a Federal Court….The case is good enough for the FBI to give to Justice to try….. without the kids statements ……...but the law is the law…..

……and there will be a settlement here since he’s singing like a bird…he is only a 20 something year old kid who’s going to jail for along…long…long time……..but the law is the law…..

But why even go thru this?

The actions on that flight where not criminal……Criminal’s want money……or……If they want to hurt someone….they want to hurt them and walk away…

This guy tried to blow up* an Airplane with him in it…….He didn’t think he was going to walk away…

The Dog feels that the Congress should move ahead with denying the President money to try any of these people in civilian courts..and that the only place they should be….. is tucked away in the Gitmo facility….

Here’s an interesting piece on the subject…….


*Note.…. From what the Dog has read…It appears that Abdulmutallab  did not have the ability to set off his explosives…..while the all the reports list PETN as the explosive that he was wired with..all the open source information suggests that a simple fire could not set the explosives off……only  detination caps…..Thank Goodness.

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More with Marine Company K……..The goings get rough…..and the local's understand…..

[An American Marine walked past an Afghan cemetery in Marja on Tuesday.]

We continue our journey in the current U.S. Marine and Afghan offensive in the Marja area in Afghanistan……This piece explores the ground war which is very concentrated after a quiet arrival of the troops….

The embeds also seem to be more interested in reporting the civilian deaths part of the war…which is understandable….after all ….they are civilians…not soilders….who’s objective is to defeat the enemy …and take ground……but this is a war..and people do get hurt and killed …..

…On must remember that in deference to Iraq…..the Aftghans are better, tougher fighters in general than the Iraq’s where…and a big part of the reason for that is that the United States trained a lot of these people years ago to fight the Russians ( who quit the area )…..What comes around…Goes around, eh?

This from the New York Times piece from the embedded reporters……

Colonel Christmas, commander of the Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, had arrived near this place in northern Marja by helicopter just before dawn; his beleaguered Company K, after three days of heavy fighting, was finally getting resupplied. Bridges had been put over the canals nearby, so roads could reopen.

“The resistance has been a little thicker than I would have liked for the forces I have,” the colonel said, as he led a foot patrol over to the house later in the day.

On Sunday, Company K had been in its fighting positions a couple of hundred yards away from the family’s mud-walled compound when the rocket or rockets struck it. Since then, several versions of what happened have emerged.

Eager to demonstrate the coalition’s commitment to avoid civilian casualties, and to take responsibility for them when they do happen, the American commander in Afghanistan, Gen.Stanley A. McChrystal, immediately issued a statement saying that 12 civilians had been accidentally killed, that the rocket launcher had missed its target by 300 meters and would be suspended from service, and that apologies had been conveyed to President Hamid Karzai. An investigation was ordered.

The investigation found that the targeting system — the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System — had not been defective, a spokesman for the NATO-led coalition force, Lt. Col. Todd Vician of theUnited States Air Force, said Tuesday. He said the suspension was lifted, allowing the system to be returned to use as a defensive weapon. As to what did happen, however, he said, “We are still waiting for those results and hope to have an answer soon.”

To the Marines of Company K, and an embedded reporter accompanying them, one thing seemed clear: the company had not ordered a rocket strike on that house. At the time they were taking fire from many houses in the area.

“The original target of the two rockets was a compound where insurgents were delivering accurate, direct fire on an Afghan-ISAF joint team,” according to a Sunday news release by the NATO-led force, the International Security Assistance Force.

That team was Company K, with an Afghan Army unit attached to it. “The compound that was hit was not the one we were targeting,” the company commander said that day.

After the Marines saw children stream out of the ruined house, the company commander immediately ordered a cease-fire. With Taliban snipers still trying to pick them off, his men raced across the flat, open expanse between their positions and the house, where medics rendered what first aid they could.

And this……

At a news conference on Monday, the Afghan interior minister, Muhammad Hanif Atmar, flanked by the Afghan minister of defense and the army commander for Helmand, said that only 9 of the 12 dead in the house were civilians, and that the other 3 were Taliban insurgents who had forced their way into the house and used it as a fighting position.

He said local tribal leaders were “deeply saddened,” but not angry. “I will quote one of them,” Mr. Atmar said, “ ‘We are very sad about the civilian casualties but if nine civilians have died, hundreds of thousands will get freedom.’ ” Marja has 80,000 residents.

The Afghan government’s account seemed at best debatable on Tuesday. For one thing, if there had been weapons in the house, the Marines would most likely have found them.

At this point, though, the Americans are not jumping to any conclusions.

The Marines have bent over backwards to help things…..

In the mud-brick charnel house where the Afghans were killed, Hajji Karim, the local elder, took up Colonel Christmas’s offer of assistance on Tuesday.

The victims had already been dead for more than two days. Muslims believe in prompt burial, but the family had no way to carry the bodies through the battlefield to the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, 17 miles away. Would the Americans take them?

Within hours, a Marine Corps Osprey, a transport aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter, put down nearby, taking enemy fire as it came in, and the Marines grimly loaded the bodies aboard for the trip to the cemetery.

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Open Thread for February 17……

Well the Dog pack is minus one……Merlin has gone way…as in other things….. we move on…..

Anybody who claims they are worried about Global Warming is gonna get hard looks from me…..

In the last year…. around here …..it has been Wet, Wet, and more Wet…….ENOUGH WITH THE SNOW!

Thank you people out there  for joining the pack in greater numbers!

Now that Merlin’s gone… the Dog is will be looking for more comments and talking back here

So……

People you know the Drill!!!!!!

SUBSCRIBE…….COME BACK WITH COMMENTS……COME ON……….JUMP IN!

SIBSCRIBE…….HIT THAT KEY BOARD!

Nuff Said!.……

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Walgreen to buy Duane Reade Drug Stores……..

WalgreensDuane Reade

Walgreen, the national pharmacy chain, said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy Duane Reade Holdings, whose drugstores occupy many a New York City corner, for about $1.1 billion in cash.

Walgreen is buying the 257-store chain, which is burdened by a big debt load, from the private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. The deal will be financed by Walgreen’s cash on hand and includes the assumption of debt.

“Duane Reade is a compelling strategic acquisition that will immediately provide Walgreens with a leading position in the largest drugstore market in the U.S.,” Gregory D. Wasson, Walgreen’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Duane Reade, founded in 1960 and named after the two streets in Lower Manhattan where the first store was built, generated about $1.8 billion in sales in 2009, according to Walgreen.

Last year, Oak Hill invested an additional $125 million into Duane Reade to keep the company from defaulting. Oak Hill also sought to refresh the chain’s image, giving it a new logo and giving its stores more light and aisle space.

Under the terms of the deal, Duane Reade stores will continue to operate under their current name for now, and most of its senior management team will remain for the time being. Walgreen still expects to eventually integrate Duane Reade’s stores into its 7,162-outlet stable, which includes 70 stores in the New York City area.

Walgreen said that it expects the deal to close this fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31. The purchase is expected to be dilutive to earnings in the first year after closing, and will add to earnings

If you live in New York City…or it’s Suburb’s…..this is going to be interesting…..these two chains are everywhere……in direct competition with the CVS Drug store chain…..look for some consolidation…….

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CNN Poll…..52% think President Obama doesn't deserve to be re-elected President….

From The Hill.……

52 percent of Americans said President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve reelection in 2012, according to a new poll.
44 percent of all Americans said they would vote to reelect the president in two and a half years, less than the slight majority who said they would prefer to elect someone else.

Obama faces a 44-52 deficit among both all Americans and registered voters, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Tuesday. Four percent had no opinion.

52 percent of Americans said President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve reelection in 2012, according to a new poll.
44 percent of all Americans said they would vote to reelect the president in two and a half years, less than the slight majority who said they would prefer to elect someone else.

Obama faces a 44-52 deficit among both all Americans and registered voters, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Tuesday. Four percent had no opinion.

Some feed back on the piece……

Lets see…….. Rasmussen has him at 49%….Gallup at 53%…and CNN with these numbers …….who do you believe?

Oh, yea…these numbers won’t really mean anything till early 2012…..right?

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Does anyone miss seeing President George Bush around?

The "Miss Me Yet" billboard of former President George W. Bush in Wyoming, Minn., that has caused plenty of buzz

[The “Miss Me Yet” billboard of former President George W. Bush in Wyoming, Minn., that has caused plenty of buzz]

Apparently someone really DOES miss Dubya.

Items featuring a smiling former President George Bush and the question, “Miss Me Yet?” are doing a brisk business as sales of pro-President Obama items lag, reports the Web shopping site CafePress.

Demand for the items spiked after a billboard featuring the ex-commander in chief appeared alongside a rural Minnesota highway last week, stirring up buzz.

CafePress spokeswoman Jenna Martin said sales of Bush-related products virtually disappeared after Obama replaced him.

But last week, she said, 10 of the firm’s top-selling 100 designs were “Miss Me Yet?” items, moving to the tune of up to 500 orders a day.

“There were no Obama-themed designs on the list – Bush has stolen the political spotlight, just like Sarah Palin did the week before when she re-surfaced with crib notes written in her palm,” she said.
The Dog doesn’t miss him one bit!

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The long anticipated New York Governor Paterson New York Times story is about his aide…not him….

This from PoliticalWire…….. …..

[David W. Johnson, right, with Gov. David A. Paterson last February, has become increasingly important on the governor’s staff.]

Paterson’s Confidant Draws Scrutiny

The much-anticipated New York Times story on New York Gov. David Paterson (D) that has had the political world buzzing is actually a profile of D.J. Johnson, the governor’s driver-turned-confidant, who faced drug charges as a youth and who supposedly threatened several women.

After all the speculation, it’s really not much for Paterson to worry about.

Ben Smith: “The story refers to the eyebrows raised by the governor’s reliance on his from-nowhere aide — though this isn’t all that unusual in politics — and the subtext of disorganization in Paterson’s office aren’t going to raise a lot of eyebrows in New York. And whatever the Times’ sources may have said about the governor himself don’t appear in the story.”

David W. Johnson, all 6’7” of him, seems to have the Governor’s ear …he has a checked past ….and seems to have stepped on a lot of toes and made a lot of enemies……what ever he is doing for the Governor in the advice department does not seem to be working……

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Rasmussen Polls on The California Governor race and The Louisiana Senate race…….

From Rasmussen Polls

[Brown and Whitman…..]

California Governor…….

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely California voters finds Republican hopeful Whitman and Brown tied with 43% each. Six percent (6%) like some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

This race is now tied from last months having Brown ahead by 4% points…..two months ago the race was tied at 41%…..Brown has a larger favorable rating then Whitman and that could keep him ahead……

[Senator David Vitter ]

Louisana Senate….

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state shows Vitter leading Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon 57% to 33%. Just three percent (3%) would opt for some other candidate, while seven percent (7%) are undecided.

The Dog can’t believe it…but this guy is just about a lock???

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From CD…..The voting starts early in the Texas Primaries…….

[Gov. Perry, Sen. Hutchinson and Mayor White]

Early voting for the March primaries began this morning, and as usual, politicians were among the first in line.

In North Dallas, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is seeking to unseat Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary, voted at Our Redeemer Lutheran School, just across Park Lane from NorthPark Mall. She was accompanied by her husband, Dallas bond attorneyRay Hutchison.

Afterward, she talked about her latest campaign theme, urging voters to declare their independence from Perry on TexasIndependence Day — which happens to coincide with the primaries on March 2.

“Our forefathers and grandmothers fought for Texas to be liberated and prepared for the future,” she said. “That’s what I want us to do on Texas Independence Day.”

A spokesman for the Perry campaign said the governor planned to vote Wednesday in Austin.

Also casting a vote in Dallas this morning was Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who threw his support behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White.

“I want the right team on the field for November,” said Price, voting at the downtown Dallas Records Building.

White, the former Houston mayor, voted early in Houston. He is the front-runner for the Democratic bid in a race with hair-care executive Farouk Shami.

Entering the final stretch of the primary campaign, Hutchison said she likes her chances against Perry.

“I feel good when I’m out talking to people,” she said. “People want to make sure we have a change in Austin.”

The senator declined to discuss polls that show her and another GOP challenger, Debra Medina, both significantly trailing Perry.

Early voting continues through Feb. 26…….

The Big Question…Can Govenor Perry break 50% and not have a GOP run-off?

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Jon Stewart……February 11……..

And here he is !!!!!

Lee Daniels, Bipartisanism…Healthcare…….

It’s Trap…..

A set-up?

Tigers in the room?……..

Socialism?

Hawaiian Healthcare?

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The Democratic Senate Question Marks……

Blanche Lincoln, Michael Bennet, Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand and Arlen Specter are shown in a composite image.

[How vulnerable are Democratic senators like Blanche Lincoln, Michael Bennet, Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand and Arlen Specter?]

from Politico.……

Sen. Evan Bayh’s stunning decision Monday to pass on a reelection campaign in Indiana is the latest blow to a Senate Democratic majority that is suddenly within striking distance for the GOP.

While the retirements of Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) had a clear political logic to them — both involved vulnerable incumbents badly trailing their prospective opponents, according to publicly released polling — Bayh’s calculus was less obvious since he had a comfortable double-digit cushion and a nearly $13 million head start.

Either way, the two-term senator’s departure now places 10 Democratic-held Senate seats at risk. If all are swept under by a November GOP wave, Republicans are back in control of the Senate.

The lesson of the tumultuous past 45 days is that the contours of the political landscape can change in an instant — and a death, a retirement or a top candidate’s decision not to run can wreak havoc on the best laid political plans.

With that in mind, here’s a list of five developments that would make the Democratic hold on the Senate even more tenuous:

More……….

It starts in Arkansas…….goes to Colorado, New York, Washington State and goes on to Pennsylvania…..

We’ll see how things go…..We have eight months to go…….

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