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Heat, wildfires, IRS, flesh eating parasites, governors gone wild, Airplane!
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Published Friday, July 02, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jul 02 2021

KGB Report will return on Tuesday, July 6. Have a safe Independence Day holiday!

Be A Patriot
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Town that recorded highest temperature in Canada's history destroyed by wildfire. More than 1,000 people living in and around Lytton, B.C., northeast of Vancouver, were forced to leave with little notice Wednesday. They raced out of town in every direction as smoke and flames swallowed the community in minutes.

The IRS is swamped with 35 million unprocessed tax returns, meaning people will have to wait longer for refunds. Former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told The Washington Post's Jeff Stein that "the problem is not with IRS employees who work very hard. It's with Republicans in Congress who have refused to provide adequate funding for 10 years."

China building more than 100 'nuclear' missile silos in desert. Satellite footage shows 'alarming development' that signals possible expansion of nuclear capabilities.

The biggest threat to America is America itself. We Americans repeat the mantra that "we're No. 1" even though the latest Social Progress Index, a measure of health, safety and well-being around the world, ranked the United States No. 28. Even worse, the United States was one of only three countries, out of 163, that went backward in well-being over the last decade.

Flesh eating parasites skyrocket in the US.

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From Crazytown:

Trump calls U.S. military generals 'woke,' 'weak and ineffective leaders'.

Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg plead not guilty to tax crimes. Prosecutors described a yearslong scheme to compensate executives "off the books" to avoid paying taxes.

Govs Gone Wild: Unhinged, Uncensored, Uninformed (Video)

Seditionists' roundup... "not the tightest zip ties in the bag..." And a vertical penile fracture. (Video)

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is

On this date:

  • 1698 - Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.
  • 1776 - The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence was not published until July 4.
  • 1839 - Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 kidnapped Africans led by Joseph Cinqué mutiny and took over the slave ship Amistad.
  • 1881 - Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James A. Garfield (who died of complications from his wounds on September 19).
  • 1890 - The U.S. Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act.
  • 1897 - British-Italian engineer Guglielmo Marconi obtained a patent for radio in London.
  • 1900 - The first Zeppelin flight took place on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.
  • 1900 - Jean Sibelius' Finlandia received its première performance in Helsinki with the Helsinki Philharmonic Society conducted by Robert Kajanus. (Video)
  • 1921 - U.S. President Warren G. Harding signed the Knox-Porter Resolution formally ending the war between the United States and Germany.
  • 1928 - The Jenkins Television Corporation goes on air with W3XK, the first television broadcasting station in the USA
  • 1937 - Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan were last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.
  • 1955 - "Lawrence Welk Show" premiered on ABC (Video)
  • 1956 - Elvis Presley recorded "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" (Video)
  • 1962 - The first Walmart store, then known as Wal-Mart, opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.
  • 1964 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 meant to prohibit segregation in public places.
  • 1980 - The movie "Airplane!" premiered (Video: Airplane! is actually a remake of Zero Hour!)
  • 2002 - Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon. Fossett disappeared on September 3, 2007 while flying a light aircraft over the Great Basin Desert, between Nevada and California. Extensive searches proved unsuccessful, and he was declared legally dead in February of the following year.

Birthdays

  • 1877 - Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962)
  • 1906 - Hans Bethe, German-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2005)
  • 1908 - Thurgood Marshall, American lawyer and jurist, 32nd Solicitor General of the United States (d. 1993)
  • 1916 - Ken Curtis, American actor and singer (d. 1991)
  • 1922 - Pierre Cardin, Italian-French fashion designer (d. 2020)
  • 1925 - Medgar Evers, American soldier and activist (d. 1963)
  • 1927 - Brock Peters, American actor (d. 2005)
  • 1929 - Imelda Marcos, Filipino politician; 10th First Lady of the Philippines
  • 1931 - Robert Ito, Canadian-born actor (Sam-Quincy ME)
  • 1932 - Dave Thomas, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Wendy's (d. 2002)
  • 1937 - Polly Holliday, American actress
  • 1946 - Ron Silver, American actor, director, and political activist (d. 2009)
  • 1947 - Larry David, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1948 - Saul Rubinek, German-born Canadian character actor, director, playwright, and producer of television, theatre, and film
  • 1986 - Lindsay Lohan, American actress and singer
  • 1990 - Margot Robbie, Australian actress and producer

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Miscellany

Senate passes bill wishing younger generations best of luck stopping climate change. (The Onion)

Parents of children called Alexa say their daughters are being bullied because it is the same name that Amazon uses for its virtual assistant.

Yes, a Florida man is actually accused of hiding meth inside this body part. Crystal rocks found in private area, deputies say.

Picasso kept in Maine house closet for 50 years is sold for $150K.

No, you can't recycle a bowling ball (but people sure keep trying). Why do 1,200 balls end up at New York City’s main recycling plant each year? People seem to think that because they are plastic, they are the same as, say, takeout containers. They are not.

Excruciating slip-up sees BBC News report confuse Bill Clinton with Bill Cosby. Oops.

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KGB Cap
KGB Merch


Categories: Alexa, Allen Weisselberg, amazon.com, America is..., Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, China, Climate change, Environment, Florida, IRS, January 6, Pablo Picasso, Republicans, The Onion


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Trump's backward pants, Apple scams, fast food secrets, singers' birthdays
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Published Monday, June 07, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 07 2021

Donald Trump gave his big speech with his pants on backwards? No, he didn't.

Apple's tightly controlled App Store is teeming with scams. Nearly two percent of Apple's top-grossing apps on one day were scams — and they have cost people $48 million.

AP's not real news: what didn't happen last week: Claim about airline meeting on vaccine liability is false; Cervical cancer screening letter is routine, not linked to COVID-19 vaccines; US military did not arrest Dr. Deborah Birx; and Dominion Voting Systems lawsuits against Powell and Giuliani are ongoing. I'm really beginning to wonder if a large portion of our population is insane.

I'm a billionaire politician, but you, a regular person, have to save the world. Purchase your world-saving equipment from Amazon. Amazon cares about bringing people together, as long as those people aren't coming together to form a union.

Sackler family empire poised to win immunity from opioid lawsuits While Purdue Pharma has twice pleaded guilty to federal crimes relating to its opioid marketing schemes, no member of the Sackler family has faced criminal charges.

25 secrets fast-food chains don't want you to know. My favorite: "the tastes and aromas of fast food items are often manufactured at special chemical plants in New Jersey." Why does the lab's New Jersey location make it seem worse?

MeidasTouch.com made a $184,854 TV buy with this ad on Fox News this week. Fox News denied airing the ad. You know what to do...

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is Daniel Boone Day, June Bug Day, National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, and VCR Day.

On this date in 1776, Richard Henry Lee presented the Lee Resolution to the Continental Congress. The motion was seconded by John Adams and led to the United States Declaration of Independence. (Video)

On this date in 1942, the battle of Midway ended in American victory. (Video)

On this date in 1955, Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to appear in a live telecast on color television.

On this date in 1965, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, prohibiting the states from criminalizing the use of contraception by married couples.

On this date in 1968, Sirhan Sirhan was indicted for the assassination of US Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

On this date in 1969, Tommy James and the Shondells released their single Crystal Blue Persuasion. (Video)

On this date in 1972, the musical "Grease" opened at the Broadhurst Theater in New York City, where it ran for 3,388 performances. (Video)

Birthdays

Miscellany

After years of detecting land mines, a heroic rat is hanging up his sniffer. In four years he has helped to clear more than 2.4 million square feet of land. In the process, he has found 71 land mines and 38 items of unexploded ordnance.

Single's ad

Speaking of UFOs and related topics: "Preserving our way of life, because we care about the future - just not yours":

(This is a joke, of course...)


Categories: amazon.com, Apple, Associated Press, Battle of Midway, Bear Grylls, Dean Martin, Donald Trump, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Fast food, Fox News, Grease, January 6, Liam Neeson, Mike Pence, Opioids, Prince, Richard Henry Lee, Robert F. Kennedy, Sacker family, Sirhan Sirhan, Supreme Court, Tom Jones, Tommy James


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Shortages explained, more QAnon lunacy, the return of Arthur Treacher.
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Published Wednesday, June 02, 2021 @ 10:20 AM EDT
Jun 02 2021

Why there are so many shortages. (It's not Covid-19.)

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"A new inauguration date is set": Inside the latest QAnon conspiracy theory to "reinstate" Trump.

Flynn says he didn't endorse Myanmar-style coup after he appears to back plan in video exchange. Are these people not aware of the existence of video recording technology?

An Amazonian tribe may have discovered the secret to keeping the brain from aging. Some secret... good diet, exercise. Just once I'd like it to be some indigenous plant that can be synthesized in a home kitchen.

The pandemic is getting worse, even when it seems like it's getting better.

Contrary to earlier research, Vitamin D may not protect against COVID-19.

Remember Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips? It's coming back.

You have a week to opt-out of Amazon Sidewalk. Do it now. "If the idea of sharing part of your network with the neighbors is totally fine with you, please consider the fact that Amazon is a company of liars who cannot be trusted."

After 75,000 Echo arbitration demands, Amazon now lets you sue it. The change apparently was brought about by a surge in arbitration demands over revelations that Amazon's Echo devices were sometimes recording and saving conversations without consent, including those involving children. Those recordings allegedly ran afoul of laws in several states that require consent before recording and data collection.

Humans are causing mass extinction at a rate not seen since the last major extinction event. A new study suggests that we are entering a period of mass extinction comparable to the one 66 million years ago.

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is American Indian Citizenship Day, Global Running Day, I Love My Dentist Day, National Bubba Day, National Leave the Office Early Day, National Rocky Road Day, National Rotisserie Chicken Day, National Tailors' Day, and Yell "Fudge" at the Cobras in North America Day.

Birthdays

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(Grandma and Edie, 1972)

My paternal grandmother, Esther Schotting, passed away on this date in 1979. She and my grandfather raised me for the most part; they and the late Earle Wittpenn are mainly responsible for the person I am today. I remember her watching me as I walked home from elementary school in the afternoon, or crossing Eighth Avenue to go to Isaly's or McCrory's. She was always at a window, always looking for me.

In her last years, when I was changing buses to go to my job in Pittsburgh, she was there in the window in the apartment on Ann Street. I probably looked like an idiot, waving in the dark to no one visible. But I knew she was there.

The only time I ever saw my grandmother in a church was when I got married. She claimed she was an "old-time Baptist" and liked listening to Mahalia Jackson records and watching Billy Graham on the tv.

The local Baptist minister graciously agreed to conduct her service. I was holding up pretty well, until he ended his eulogy to a woman he never met with a poem by Margaret Widdemer that precisely described her:

She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.

And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.

Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late,
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning on Heaven’s gate.


Categories: amazon.com, Arthur Treacher, Covid-19, Donald Trump, QAnon


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Zero tolerance, zero brains; Bob Dylan; solar storms; spermageddon; canine-spread coronavirus
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Published Monday, May 24, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 24 2021

One of the problems associated with being thrown into Facebook jail is ignorance of the alleged offense.

The announcement states that your post has violated Facebook's "Community Standards," a dense, 27-page litany of offenses that will get you kicked off the platform.

I found the section which I believe addresses my post:

"We care deeply about the safety of the people who use our apps. We regularly consult with experts in suicide and self-injury to help inform our policies and enforcement, and work with organizations around the world to provide assistance to people in distress.

"While we do not allow people to intentionally or unintentionally celebrate or promote suicide or self-injury, we do allow people to discuss these topics because we want Facebook to be a space where people can share their experiences, raise awareness about these issues, and seek support from one another."

"We define self-injury as the intentional and direct injuring of the body, including self-mutilation and eating disorders. We remove any content that encourages suicide or self-injury, including fictional content such as memes or illustrations and any self-injury content which is graphic, regardless of context."

Here's the offending cartoon:

I maintain this isn't a cartoon about suicide- it's a cartoon addressing the power of social media to influence otherwise sane people to do insane things. If anything, it's an anti-suicide cartoon.

I've appealed prior suspensions and won, because it was obvious the artificially intelligent bot or stressed human outside contractor didn't grasp the concepts of satire, parody, or irony and made a bad call. Most of the time Facebook admitted it was in error and unhid the post. But I don't think it's going to work in this instance, because self-injury is one of those categories of which Facebook seems to have a zero tolerance policy. There is no way to contact any human at Facebook to offer a defense. And a small potatoes page administrator with a mere 10,134 followers really can't create enough media outrage to get Facebook executives involved.

I suspect Facebook adopted this policy to aggregate a number it can use in its "we're doing our best, but we can't catch everything" defense. They can point to their mountain of context-free suspensions and say, "Look, we suspended n accounts in the last month for violating our policy against self-injury."

Supplementary viewing/reading:

25+ best memes about jumping off a cliff

Little evidence supports the claimed effectiveness of zero-tolerance policies.

"The whole principle is wrong (censorship); it's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't eat steak."
-Robert A. Heinlein

"The written word will soon disappear and we'll no longer be able to read good prose like we used to could. This prospect does not gentle my thoughts or tranquil me toward the future."
-James Thurber

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"The first way to answer the questions in the song ('Blowin' in the Wind') is by asking them. But lots of people first have to find the wind."
-Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman. He's 80 today.)

Actor Gary Burghoff is 78 today. The video above is the 1984 pilot episode of a M*A*S*H spinoff that wasn't picked up.

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The first text message: On this day in 1844, Samuel Morse sent the message "What hath God wrought" (a biblical quotation, Numbers 23:23) from a committee room in the United States Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore, Maryland, to inaugurate a commercial telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington D.C.

On this day in 1940, Igor Sikorsky performed the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.

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NOT REAL NEWS: a look at what didn't happen last week.

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Pentagon's UFO footage- and Obama's curiosity- ratchet up expectations for a big reveal. When Congress passed the $2.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill in December, it included a requirement that the Pentagon and a number of intelligence agencies prepare a report laying out what they know about UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena), which is the new military-speak for UFOs. The report is expected to be delivered as early as June 1, and at least part of it will be made available to the public.

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Good news for a Monday morning: "...greater coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of all-cause mortality."

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Liz Cheney's GOP primary challenger admits to impregnating 14-year-old when he was 18. Liz Cheney's GOP primary challenger admits to impregnating 14-year-old when he was 18. The Facebook video he released, called "Senator Bouchard takes on the fake news media," claimed "I was young" and "you've heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it's like the Romeo and Juliet story," he said, neglecting several glaring differences like the Shakespearean characters were fictional and neither was running for Congress in the so-called "family values" party.

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Can the news be fixed? The fix is already in. Oh, you mean like repaired.

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The Great Amazon Purge... "About three weeks ago, several major Amazon brands were suddenly kicked out. Most people were unaware of the names of more than 12 disappearing Chinese companies, such as Mpow and Aukey. However, these two sell a number of electronic devices, such as phone chargers and external batteries for smartphones. If you click "Buy" on Amazon's first phone charger or wireless headphones, it could be from one of the sellers currently suspended."

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Alabama will now allow yoga in its public schools (but students can't say 'namaste'). But on the other hand, Alabama becomes latest state to legalize medical marijuana.

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Life as we know it:

Solar storms are back, threatening life as we know it on Earth.

A massive heat dome is about to make the Southeast sweat. "Temperatures starting on Monday will run between 10-15 degrees above normal, and border on record maximum temperatures, both for daily highs and lows."

Spermageddon: Could men be infertile by 2045? One word: parthenogenesis.

New coronavirus discovered- and dogs are spreading it. It could be the eighth coronavirus known to cause illnesses in humans.


Categories: Alabama, amazon.com, Anthony Bouchard, Bob Dylan, Coffee, Covert Comic, Dogs, Drugs, Facebook, Fact check, Gary Burghoff, Helicopters, Igor Sikorsky, James Thurber, January 6, Liz Cheney, M*A*S*H, News Media, Republicans, Robert A. Heinlein, Romeo and Juliet, Samuel Morse, Self-injury, Spermageddon, Suicide, Telegraph, The Sun, Weather, William Shakespeare


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Wrestling with the infrastructure and Nazis
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Published Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 8:39 PM EDT
Jun 19 2018

In addition to the Windows system problem I talked about last week, the overall tech situation worsened on Saturday with a power outage. West Penn Power restored service in a little over an hour, but the reinitialization surge apparently took out our Comcast Xfinity X-1 cable box/DVR in the living room and the main surge suppressor/uninterruptible power supply in my office.

Dealing with the cable box was simple. I scored a new one as well as a new cable modem/wireless router just by driving to the local Comcast office- it was open on Saturday until 7 p.m. Getting the unit up and running was uneventful. The X1 boxes store recordings and schedules in the cloud, so we didn't lose anything.

The only aggravations were getting used to a smaller remote (Comcast calls it the XR11) and having to fix the 30-second commercial skip feature.

The older boxes supported entering a code into the remote to enable the 30-second commercial jump feature. With the new configuration, the page up button jumped five minutes ahead. A workaround is using X1's voice command feature: tell the remote "jump ahead 30 seconds." You can apparently tell it to jump forward or backward in five second increments up to 30 seconds. It's neat, but it's a lot faster just to hit the page up key a couple times.

In the new setup, the "jump ahead" stuff is not stored in the memory of the remote, but in the X1 box itself. You have to program the box via a secret input sequence: get the remote close to the box, point the remote at it, hit the exit key on the remote three times as fast as you can, followed by 0030. I had to try it a few times before it "took." There's no indication whether or not the input worked. In fact, hitting the exit key three times and the four digits results in the box going back to wherever the main tuner was set, and displaying the mini-guide with channel 30 highlighted. Patience and persistence will win out, though.

Regarding the UPS system blowout, I think it was just time to replace the batteries in the unit. I've done it twice already, though. The unit's over ten years old, and I need one with a greater capacity, anyway. I ordered a 1,500-watt unit via Amazon Prime. Pulling the old unit out, installing the new one, and re-cabling everything is a long and tedious operation. I wanted to get the replacement in ASAP. Aside from West Penn Power's "normal" summer fair weather blackouts, it's also thunderstorm season. I decided to take a vacation day from work and do it today, instead of waiting for the weekend. So, of course...

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On the brighter side, replacing the hybrid drive on my Toshiba laptop with a standard mechanical drive appears to have solved all my Windows 10 problems. There was absolutely no indication the drive was the source of the trouble; it passed all the diagnostics with flying colors. The problem is the way in which a hybrid drive manages the solid state drive (SSD) portion of the device. It is totally opaque to the user. I suspect something was cached in the SSD that wasn't compatible with a Windows 10 or driver update. That's just a guess, based on my observations that the system started to act up each time I installed a new application, or a new Windows update was applied.

I'm not comfortable not knowing if the drive was actually the cause of the problem, but I have no software tools to dig deeper into the system, and I can't waste any more time investigating. Four to eight hours every weekend for three months, plus another four hours during the week just getting the thing to boot correctly... I'm too old for this stuff.

Final results: From a system with no user apps running, shutdown, reboot, and Windows load to the desktop with taskbar populated and the "Windows" chime: two minutes. I can live with that.

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Godwin's law
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies) is an internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1"; that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds. Promulgated by the American attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1990, Godwin's law originally referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions. It is now applied to any threaded online discussion, such as Internet forums, chat rooms, and comment threads, as well as to speeches, articles, and other rhetoric where reductio ad Hitlerum occurs.

So, how bad are things now in the United States?

Pretty bad. Godwin's suspending his own law.


Categories: Adolf Hitler, amazon.com, Evil, Godwin's law, Mike Godwin, Nazis, West Penn Power, Windows, Xfinity


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