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Catholic Hospital's argument in Colorado court that fetuses aren't people captivates the Internet
thedenverchannel.com ^ | 01/25/2013 | Phil Tenser

Posted on 01/25/2013 5:39:10 PM PST by Alex Murphy

DENVER - In contrast to typical Church doctrine, lawyers for a Catholic hospital in Canon City are arguing fetuses aren't people, in response to a wrongful death lawsuit that is now being appealed to the state Supreme Court. Although the court case has stalled, a recent article gave it a burst of national attention.

Lori Stodghill died of pulmonary emboli on Jan. 1, 2006 at St. Thomas More Hospital, according to a district court judge's summary judgment on the case in 2010. At the time of her death, Stodghill was pregnant with twins who did not survive.

Stodghill's husband, Jeremy, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of himself and the couple's daughter, Elizabeth.

Judge David Thorson was the first to rule against the Stodghill family. In his summary judgment from Dec. 2010, the judge sided with the hospital's argument that "to be a 'person' one must at some point have been born alive."

The hospital's legal argument appears to be a notable departure from that position, but it is couched in Colorado legal precedent, instead of religious belief.

Referencing the hospital organization's promotional literature in an article about the case, The Colorado Independent wrote that "Catholic Health facilities seek to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."

"The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn," the article quotes.

According to the judge's ruling, the hospital's lawyers argued that a "person" covered by Colorado's wrongful death statute does not include a fetus which was not born or delivered alive. Lawyers for Stodghill argued that a viable fetus should be considered a person for the purposes of the statute.

The judge sided with the hospital.

"The Colorado general assembly is and has been free to extend the scope of the wrongful death statute to causes of action on behalf of unborn fetuses, viable or not. To date, it has chosen not to do so," Thorson wrote.

The ruling was affirmed by the court of appeals in August of 2012 and appealed to the State Supreme Court on Sept. 9, 2012, court spokesman Rob McCallum said.

McCallum pointed out that the Supreme Court accepts only a small fraction of the cases appealed to them. This case, given the designation 12SC730, has not yet been accepted.

Based on that timeframe, McCallum was at a loss to explain why the case has gotten so much news coverage during the past day.

The story that seems to have sparked the fire of recent coverage for the case was written by John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent. His story was picked up by other Internet sites, including Gawker.com.

"I thought it was a great story and, as you know, I'm really gratified that a lot of other people do too," he told 7NEWS.

Tomasic said the story came to his attention through an editor in his organization. He said the editor learned about the case from one of the lawyers involved, but wasn't sure which side the lawyer was on.

-- Bishops reviewing lawsuit --

Colorado's three Catholic Bishops issued a statement Thursday evening on the controversy:

The Catholic bishops of Colorado learned recently of the deaths of Lori Stodghill and her two unborn children, which took place at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colo. in 2006. We wish to extend our solidarity and sympathy to Lori’s husband Jeremy, and her daughter, Elizabeth. Please be assured of our ongoing prayers.

From the moment of conception, human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights, the most foundational of which is life.

Catholics and Catholic institutions have the duty to protect and foster human life, and to witness to the dignity of the human person—particularly to the dignity of the unborn. No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a Catholic institution which provides health care services in 14 states, providing care to thousands of people annually. Catholic Health Initiatives has been accused by some of undermining the Catholic position on human life in the course of litigation. Today, representatives of Catholic Health Initiatives assured us of their intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes.  However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L., Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Denver

Most Rev. Michael Sheridan, S.Th.D, Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado SpringMost Rev. Fernando Isern, Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo



TOPICS: Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Science; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic
In contrast to typical Church doctrine, lawyers for a Catholic hospital in Canon City are arguing fetuses aren't people, in response to a wrongful death lawsuit that is now being appealed to the state Supreme Court. Although the court case has stalled, a recent article gave it a burst of national attention....Referencing the hospital organization's promotional literature in an article about the case, The Colorado Independent wrote that "Catholic Health facilities seek to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops." "The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn," the article quotes....According to the judge's ruling, the hospital's lawyers argued that a "person" covered by Colorado's wrongful death statute does not include a fetus which was not born or delivered alive. Lawyers for Stodghill argued that a viable fetus should be considered a person for the purposes of the statute. The judge sided with the hospital....

Colorado's three Catholic Bishops issued a statement Thursday evening on the controversy..."...From the moment of conception, human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights, the most foundational of which is life. Catholics and Catholic institutions have the duty to protect and foster human life, and to witness to the dignity of the human person—particularly to the dignity of the unborn. No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a Catholic institution which provides health care services in 14 states, providing care to thousands of people annually. Catholic Health Initiatives has been accused by some of undermining the Catholic position on human life in the course of litigation. Today, representatives of Catholic Health Initiatives assured us of their intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes. However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

1 posted on 01/25/2013 5:39:19 PM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy
lawyers for a Catholic hospital in Canon City are arguing fetuses aren't people,

Funny, I argue that about Lawyers.

2 posted on 01/25/2013 5:47:16 PM PST by mnehring
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To: Alex Murphy
Big deal over nothing. When in a court of law, and the law is on your side, argue the law. If you want to learn right from wrong don't go near the law.
3 posted on 01/25/2013 5:50:22 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Alex Murphy

The left has pounced on this as a possible lose-lose scenario for the church, and they want to take every opportunity to rub the church’s nose in it.

Truthfully, the lawyers are in error, because the law in Colorado is clear that the unborn are not living persons, so they *did not* need to advance that argument in contradiction to church teachings.

In fact, they could have even argued that the church *accepts* that the unborn were indeed persons, and it would not change the outcome one bit, as far as the law is concerned.

At this point, once the case is at an end, the bishops should come out to say that the lawyers were in error, and that they argued the laws of the state, not the laws of the church.


4 posted on 01/25/2013 5:56:13 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
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To: Alex Murphy

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. The Courts need to make up their mind which way it is. When someone today murders a pregnant woman, that person is almost always charged with two counts of murder, one count for the mother and one count for the baby (fetus). It can’t be both ways in a court of law. It either is a human being or it isn’t. I say it is.


5 posted on 01/25/2013 5:58:00 PM PST by ImNotLying (The MSM bears a close resemblance to the world's oldest profession!)
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To: hinckley buzzard

What I’m picking up is that the relevant bishops are going to see how this plays out and then respond.

Here’s the only way I can see the hospital’s side being right. They say, in essence, “Colorado has a law. We don’t approve of that law, but there is is. And it says the unborn aren’t persons. So how can a Colorado court say we’ve harmed a person when the one harmed was unborn. You made the law, don’t you have to rule by it?”

Otherwise, they’re doing wrong. They MAY be doing wrong in any event, but they’re REALLY doing wrong, I think,if they’renot arguing in something like what I said.


6 posted on 01/25/2013 5:58:10 PM PST by Mad Dawg (In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.)
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To: hinckley buzzard
You're probably right, however.

At some point the American people need to impose the Constitution upon the American Government. The conservatives need to impose conservatism upon the GOP republican rino party, and the Catholics need to impose Catholicism upon this hospital and upon the rest of those who use that name. Lacking that, the name becomes meaningless.

7 posted on 01/25/2013 5:59:28 PM PST by WhoisAlanGreenspan?
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To: Alex Murphy

Rolling eyes and I’m not even a Roman Catholic.


8 posted on 01/25/2013 6:33:04 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: HiTech RedNeck; Alex Murphy
Hi, Tech!

Eye-rolling? HT, if I thought "the hospital" were saying that the unborn twins weren't in fact human, I'd be after them hammer and tongs, doing my Banshee-of-Moral-Law scream.

But that's not what they're saying. Or at least, it's not clear from this article.

Please hear me out on this one, which I've now read from several different sources.

Having been named in a lawsuit, the hospital is required to respond with a legal argument. It would have been edifying for them to have said, “As a Catholic hospital, we absolutely know that life begins at conception, but the law of Colorado does not recognize a fetus as a human being,” but the first half of that statement is not a legal argument and doesn’t, technically speaking, belong in a court pleading.

What if the hospital didn't do anything wrong? If that's the case (and we have only the father’s claim, as relayed by several inflammatory articles I've seen), then should they just skip legal argument, and pay money to the father regardless of their own innocence? Is that right and just?

Based on the information we have, it is entirely possible that the hospital did everything in its power to save the lives of the mother and the baby girls, and that it bears no fault. It is also possible that the father, wracked with grief, wants money for its known sootheing properties, or whatever. We really don’t know. If so, however, the (inevitable) millions paid by the hospital would be money not available for maintaining good treatment standards, hiring excellent doctors and staff, and so on. It would also mean that anyone, no matter how dishonest their claim, could get free millions from this hospital on demand.

It comes down to this: facts and law are not the same thing. That these twins were living human beings is a fact, but Colorado doesn’t recognize this in the law.

This is win-win (or at least, win-draw) for the pro-life cause, because if the court "finds" that the babies were "human" --- which they should --- that sets an enormously important precedent for pro-life; and even then, the hospital can still argue "on the merits" that they didn't do anything wrong, since that's the heart of their case.

If one wants to set a precedent ultimately strengthening anti-abortion legal arguments, this is the correct way to go about it. Out-of-court settlements and agreed dispositions don’t set precedent.

(This may not be what’s going on at all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is.)

Bishops Aquila and Sheridan seized the "teachable moment" to reiterate the moral truth: they in particular actually lead the ranks of bishops whom we fully expect to Do the Right Thing. (Unlike others I could name.) (Yes, I have a "Beatus Vir" list and a "Dies Irae" list.)

We also need to see more information on what this hospital did and did not do. It can be a challenge, sometimes, to extract facts from bloggers shrieking at the top of their typeface.

9 posted on 01/25/2013 7:36:18 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Justice and judgment are the foundation of His throne." Psalm 89:14)
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To: Alex Murphy

That’s odd. Fetuses have human DNA.

How would they argue that point with a scientist?


10 posted on 01/25/2013 7:39:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Alex Murphy
WHAT!!?? How is Thomas More a Catholic hospital? It is part of Centura Health now.It's also a horrible hospital. I don't know anyone that trusts them with their loved ones or themselves. "That place will kill you" is what I have heard about it and I have to agree that it is third rate at best. Thomas More is even bad for a Centura hospital in my opinion.
11 posted on 01/25/2013 8:01:47 PM PST by Colorado Doug (Now I know how the Indians felt to be sold out for a few beads and trinkets)
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To: hinckley buzzard; RIghtwardHo; Reaganite Republican; Clintons Are White Trash; HerrBlucher; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

12 posted on 01/25/2013 8:05:05 PM PST by narses
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To: hinckley buzzard; RIghtwardHo; Reaganite Republican; Clintons Are White Trash; HerrBlucher; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

13 posted on 01/25/2013 8:05:38 PM PST by narses
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To: Colorado Doug
Never mind. Centura Health is sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives. Wow! Catholics everywhere should be ashamed of this enterprise.
14 posted on 01/25/2013 8:08:34 PM PST by Colorado Doug (Now I know how the Indians felt to be sold out for a few beads and trinkets)
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To: Colorado Doug
So when did Seventh Day Adventists who can't exist without slandering and preaching against the Catholic Church join with Catholics to run a health care system?

Something is very strange in that mix because it says it's an Adventist and Catholic combination, just about the last thing I would ever expect to see. I would bet there were Adventist and Catholic hospitals a group of investors could take over and they keep the stuff about being “faith based” in order to try and tap into whatever reputation the hospitals already had.

If my experience in the Southeast is any guide, once a group of Adventists throw in with investors rather than dedicated Adventist management everything goes down hill in a hurry.

15 posted on 01/25/2013 8:36:51 PM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: narses
I forgot to ping you on my post about an Adventist/Catholic arrangement at the hospital in question in this article.

Have you ever heard of that before? It sure surprised me and it was notably absent from both the headline and the article which don't mention the Adventist connection at all unless I missed that bit. Regards

16 posted on 01/25/2013 8:51:08 PM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

For an individual Roman Catholic congregation or ministry (like a hospital) to go looey shouldn’t be a surprise to me or you. I’m not so rigid or stereotypically minded as to think that situations like this would reflect the overall “official” morality views of Rome, although it might reflect a failure of the Roman authorities to exercise their authority. If this church has a hierarchy and an authority, they ought to use it: even Scientology with all its weirdness sometimes seems better controlled from the top. Could stand to get some of the moxie of Revelation in their pens and send warning letters to badly sinning church congregations in plain English, or whatever local language they speak. But again I admit that’s an evangelical POV. (In actual evangelical situations the church supervision hierarchy doesn’t exist, so you don’t see such things. But if devout evangelicals had that sort of hierarchy that’s what they’d do with it. It’s right out of the bible.)

Of course I hope that here it’s not that bad, but it does look like a weird gotcha situation for them. I don’t even know how HARD they pushed that argument or if it was couched in terms like “for the statute’s sake.” News distortion is not rare either, sadly.


17 posted on 01/26/2013 12:54:40 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: Rashputin

Yeah, the 7th Day Adventists are pretty darn outspoken about what they believe aren’t they. They make it clear when they disagree with today’s Roman Catholic church. There are bruises on both sides when they meet.


18 posted on 01/26/2013 1:00:01 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Well, that's been The ProblemTM in the Catholic Church for decades now: Christly doctrine, crappy discipline.

Your Evangelical POV, that there whould be some severe and stern Seven Churches of Asia excoriation going on --- at the very least --- is exactly right. Christ didn't bestow rightful authority on His right-hand men only to have bishops creeping about emitting soft, won't-you-be-amicable sighs.

It kills me how an ecclesiastical top deck so loaded with compulsive dialoguers and hand-wringers can still be so commonly reproached as "authoritarian" !! If only !! :o/

19 posted on 01/26/2013 7:52:23 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("Justice and judgment are the foundation of His throne." Psalm 89:14)
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To: hinckley buzzard

No, the hospital should have settled rather than take the case to heathen courts.


20 posted on 01/27/2013 7:37:47 AM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

The bishops are autonomous in most matters. IMHO, the local bishops should have acted as the bishop in Arizona did, when he sanctioned a hospital for getting out of line. The hospital argument is pure sophistry.


21 posted on 01/27/2013 7:43:11 AM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

The bishops are autonomous in most matters. IMHO, the local bishops should have acted as the bishop in Arizona did, when he sanctioned a hospital for getting out of line. The hospital argument is pure sophistry.


22 posted on 01/27/2013 7:43:26 AM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
In fact, they could have even argued that the church *accepts* that the unborn were indeed persons, and it would not change the outcome one bit, as far as the law is concerned.

I think you're spot-on. I haven't paid much attention to this case, and if all I had to go on were the headlines, I'd think the Catholic Church is being entirely hypocritical in this case.

But then, that's what the headlines WANT people to think.

So I stopped and read this article and the subsequent posts - and I'm glad I did. Your response makes the most sense of what I've read this morning.

Prayers for the father and daughter who must now find their way without their Wife/Mother and siblings. God bless and keep them both near to his heart.

23 posted on 01/27/2013 7:52:00 AM PST by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy; Alex Murphy
The left has pounced on this as a possible lose-lose scenario for the church

The left and certain freepers too. Maybe they are one and the same, maybe not, but they are bed-fellows...

24 posted on 01/28/2013 2:41:14 AM PST by Cronos
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Yeah, the 7th Day Adventists are pretty darn outspoken about what they believe aren’t they

True, down to their statement that no work on sabbath, not even lighting fires

And even as the Adventists said in Patriarchs and Prophets, page 761, "...He (Jesus) was revealed to them as the Angel of Jehovah, the Captain of the Lord's Host, Michael the Archangel".

Though I find it strange that the Adventists don't mention that they believe that "Christ will place all our sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin...so Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit."

25 posted on 01/28/2013 2:47:34 AM PST by Cronos
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To: Cronos

Maybe I wasn’t clear. The way it had been set up was a lose-lose scenario, at least how it was described by the media. What I was suggesting was that it could be changed into, if not a win, then a break-even for the church.

The way the media described it, either the church would denounce its own doctrines (which their lawyers did); or it would insist on its doctrines, and lose the case. In either case this would make the media, and the anti-Catholics, happy. As such from the media’s point of view, it was a lose-lose.

What I suggested was that the church could still insist that life begins at conception, upholding their doctrines, and yet this would *not* cause them to lose the case, since the case is based in Colorado law, which does not even consider the doctrines of the church.

Thus, the case would still be decided that the fetuses were not human beings, and thus the church does not have to pay, though it believed them to be human. Which decision would be a loss as far as the media and the anti-Catholics are concerned. And the church would not waver at all from its beliefs.


26 posted on 01/28/2013 5:40:28 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
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To: Cronos

That wouldn’t be the same as saying Satan worked the Atonement, if it were true. It’s just saying that Satan gets all the blame in the end for the sin that he wanted to exist, namely all of it in the universe. Which many would believe logical, even though the bible does not spell it out explicitly. A controversial idea? It is truly yawnworthy.


27 posted on 01/28/2013 7:29:46 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
well, the controversial belief of the Seventh Day Adventists is ..He (Jesus) was revealed to them as the Angel of Jehovah, the Captain of the Lord's Host, Michael the Archangel".
28 posted on 01/28/2013 11:43:51 PM PST by Cronos
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To: Cronos

Most Christians believe in pre-incarnational appearances of Christ, including some called the angel of the Lord, but wouldn’t agree necessarily to identify the angel Michael
as having been one of these. Like your other mention about a detail concerning sin and the devil, these are internal theological matters. Good Christians can differ on details or on the identification of vaguely defined biblical personages. The 7DA are typically quite bold about how to live a Christian life, mistakes or not.


29 posted on 01/30/2013 10:12:20 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
these are internal theological matters.

No, these are not. If the SDAs say Jesus is an Angel, just an angel, even the highest one,that is saying that He is not God

That puts the group in the same category as it's sister religion, the Jehovah's Witnesses (they grow up out of the same mileu)

Christianity at it's basics is: There is One God, the Father is God, Jesus is God, The Holy Spirit is God. Jesus is 100% man and 100% divine. He died for our sins. Without His sacrifice we could not be saved by our own efforts.

That's it in a nutshell.

If one says that Jesus is not God, either just a holy man (Jehovah's Witnesses) or a super-angel (SDA), that is not Christian.

Neither is saying there is more than 1 God -- Mormonism -- that instantly cuts off the continuity with Judaism.

Neither is saying that Jesus was only Spirit or only man, either way negates the incarnation and eliminates the purpose of the incarnation and sacrifice as does the last (Jainism -- not even Pelagianism which acknowledges that the sacrifice was necessary)

30 posted on 01/31/2013 2:00:10 AM PST by Cronos
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