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2023.05.28 17:34 Gargus-SCP Related Works - Wesley Dodds as The Sandman (Jan-Jul 1941): Troubled Sleep

After a 1940 defined by gathering strengths and refinement across the feature, the early months of 1941 bring a few troubling portents behind-the-scenes for Fox's affectionately termed Grainy Gladiator. Nothing ruinous in itself, but signs of an upcoming radical shift away from what the character represented to start.
For one, the April issue of Adventure Comics (#61) brings with it a new cover feature, Ted Knight AKA Starman, courtesy writer-artist Jack Burnley. Already the second lengthiest entry in the book at nine pages, Starman quickly managed what neither Sandman nor Hourman could during their respective years as star attractions and upgraded to a full thirteen pages by his third appearance in #63. For context, Sandman only went from six pages to ten with its upgrade, while Hourman has remained rockstaedy at eight pages, and neither took down another non-superhero supporting feature to justify the page increase like Starman did Barry O'Neil and Mark Lansing. Moreover, from Starman's second appearance on, he is only drawn by Burnley; writing duties now belong to the Sandman's own Gardner Fox.
Which loops in with two other issues at play over Wesley's tossing, turning figure. Starting with issue #61, available online sources no longer fully agree who wrote what for the Sandman feature. You must understand, outside superstar figures with major pull like the creators of Superman or Batman, very few creative teams are properly credited in these Golden Age comics - my credits the last few posts have all been crossreferenced across numerous wikis and databases who owe their credits to investigative work by fans like Jerry Bails back in the 1960s. Such work was sadly not exhaustive, and while a few places (like DC Continuity Project and Wikipedia) state or else imply Fox stayed on as writer for the next few issues, from June to November there is no consensus as to who penned the stories.
I shouldn't be surprised if Fox's involvement terminated with the March issue, for April also saw All-Star Comics shift its format slightly, with Fox writing all nine interior stories for the 64 page mag in addition to his duties on the longer Starman feature. Man would have to work double time to keep pace, even if Sandman didn't drop to eight pages with #62 in May. Either way, Fox is certainly gone following #64 in July, as that issue features the final story drawn by regular artist and co-creator Creig Flessel, who departs to work on Shining Knight later in the year. As I say, things are changing fast for Sandman, and not all changes seem necessarily for the better. Best, however, to take the stories on their own level before drawing any final conclusions!
Coverage note: This entry goes to July rather than June for the sake of my sanity. If I stopped midway through the year, I'd only need cover seven features here, but the back half of '41 would require coverage of eleven. A nine-nine split feels much more feasible.
Orchids of Doom - Gardner Fox, Creig Flessel, Chad Grothkopf
Once again, a socialite friend to Wes and Dian is at the center of a minor mystery with big implications - namely, how can Pedro Nogades, father to Carla, rightly claim he breeds otherwise purely wild orchids in captivity? Investigating as the Sandman, Wes and Dian find a dead man in the Nogades greenhouse with his head stripped to the bone, and in following another fellow who sniffed an orchid before promising a shipment of such to some ruffians on the bad side of town, see his own face dissolve to bare skull. A visit to the police chemist reveals the orchids on the dead men's persons were laced to release a deadly flesh-eating gas on exposure to natural air, which is enough probably cause for Wesley to enlist Carla's boyfriend Bill in staging a raid on the Nogades manor. Some close shaves and fisticuffs end with the group discovering a diorama of the local coast, laid out to assist enemy agents in an invasion. Pedro is put away and the orchids revealed as concealing microfilm copies of the coastal plans, but how do we square the mystery that started it all? Simple: Nogades was no botanist, and called the flower by the wrong name when concocting his cover story!
An alright yarn to kick of the calendar year. As per usual when Fox tries for a somewhat complicated mystery, he's no adequate means of tying off loose ends other than large blocks of text, but it's lively and keeps the situation evolving with decent justifications for mid-story action and dragging Bill along for further fisticuffs. Hooking the entire mystery on, "Oh, the bad guy misspoke," is a tad lame, if understandable in the context of Fox's passion for slipping general knowledge flexes into his stories. Flessel and Grothkopf get some good mileage out've the skull imagery that crops up whenever the flower kills, and I rather like the brief bout of fisticuffs towards the end. The minor social awkwardness when Bill gets in the car with Wes and Dian is pretty good too, and I'm sorry to report I can't add this story to the "Wesley getting shot" count, as the bad guy only plugs his hat. Kinda funny having a Golden Age Sandman story involving orchids given Neil's own pre-Sandman work with Black Orchid, innit?
The Story of the Flaming Ruby - Fox, Flessel, Grothkopf
There exists a ruby of blazing red, which has driven men to rage and madness wherever it appears, and today it sits in the hand of a young man in the local jeweler's shop, who flashes it cross Dian's vision. Later in the evening, she wakes in a trance consumed with the urge to kill her father, stopped only by Sandman as he rushes in from investigating a similarly queer case. A bank teller friend from his private life has found himself driven to steal from the vault and deliver it to some crooks on a lonely road every night, all after one of those men flashed him the ruby. Wes and Dian are unable to stop this night's transaction (on account of the ruby briefly turning Dian against Sandman), but seeing the gem in action gives Wes an idea on how to counteract its effects, and go into battle during the next drop armed with blue cobalt glasses. A brawl puts down all the blackmailers except one, but Wes opts instead to go after the head of the operation, knocking him out and lurking in the dark to catch the last as he reports in, revealing the bank teller! Turns out the ruby DOES have hypnotic properties and was used to assist their robberies, but the teller - hoping by playing at the victim to lure Sandman into his cohorts' midst and rub him out - spoke as if he remembered the whole experience, where Dian forgot herself on every exposure. Oops!
Same basic mystery structure and resolution type here as last month, complete with overly-wordy explanation, although I find the hook of pitting Dian and Wesley against one another gives it a minor leg up, as does the relatively straightforward nature of the criminal operation compared to planting microfilm in deadly flowers. There's a more even balance between the rush in bust 'em up style of crime-fighting the feature has developed and the stealthy skullduggery I think suits the character best, with nice action art to match each. Dian has some silly faces whenever she wakes from her hypnosis, and the four panel sequence of Wes halting her murder attempt works pretty well. This is, unfortunately, the final pencil-inking collaboration between Flessel and Grothkopf, and much as I've kvetched over the second man's solo work, I'm sorry to see the back of him in this capacity. When the two were in proper tune, they were the best artistic team Sandman enjoyed yet.
(Stop dodging bullets, I want to see you gunshot.)
Mystery at Malay Mac's - Fox, Grothkopf
Hey, a rare post-Hourman, pre-redesign cover appearance! That's always nice. "Hello, officer? Yeah, coupla chucklefucks right here, the alley off Fourth, can't miss 'em."
What's this? Dian breaking into a notorious criminal slumlord's safe in the bad part of town? A safe, as Wes discovers after he scares the lady off, filled to the brim with poison gas! Evidently not, as Dian is sound asleep when Wes arrives at Belmont manor to investigate, and a subsequent visit to Mister Mac reveals the only person who'd know the safe was booby-trapped is a local kidnapping organizer. Some blind, flailing fists turns up the girl, Dian's perfect duplicate, snatched from out of state to replace Dian and gain leverage over the cops. Too bad the kidnapper's made of strong stuff, knocking out Sandman and taking both woman for a ride to get back at Mac. Fortunately, Dian leaves Wes a trail of jewelry out the window, enabling him to follow and take down all the crooks with one throw of his gas pistol, revealing in the process 'twas Mac himself who tipped Dian's duplicate to his safe, in hopes of spoiling his rival's big plot.
Art-wise, this is probably Grothkopf's best work for Sandman to date. His tendency to exaggerate is translated into some properly goonish faces for the villains and really, really strong action poses, with some properly atmospheric shots sprinkled in for good measure. He cannot draw the gasmask for piss, but there's such an improvement I almost thought this was a Flessel joint before checking the wiki credits. Makes me wish we could see what he'd do if he kept on as a solo artist - free from the impulse to treat the feature as a cartoon, he produces damn fine work. As a story, this makes good time to mention my misgivings with Wesley's tendency to burst through windows and start swinging long before he thinks to use his sleeping gas. While it's great fun to describe and hype up as the mark of a madman who's even cooler as the badass normal than Batman, it also encourages a faster degradation in the character's identity. I'm sure you'll notice it's been yonks since lurking in the shadows and thinning the ranks by knocking them out in advance has factored into the stories. That Wes handles the bad guy by literally clonking him over the head with the gas gun rather than pulling the trigger speaks to the influence other, punchier superhero features have exerted over the strip.
The Menace of the Metal Gun - Fox?, Flessel
From aboard a mysterious aircraft, a madman fires upon the city with a metal-melting ray that dissolves the skyscrapers into slag! Alerted to Doctor Borloff's activities, Wesley meets with swift defeat when the rogue scientist melts his gas gun and escapes in his cylindercraft to terrorize afresh. There IS a bright side, as seeing the ray firsthand gives Wesley some idea how to counteract its effects, and he sends Dian and her father warning for the local airforce to coat their planes in sand as a silicate buffer against the ray. Alas, only one officer heeds his message, leaving Sandman alone to get aboard the machine via his new wirepoon gun and defeat Borloff from within. For his brawling process, a good midflight fight is nothing if the hero gets tossed out an open door, but fortunately he can grapple onto the lone surviving plane, recover his bearings, zip back up, and put a stop to Borloff's dreams of world conquest once and for all!
Action is the name of the game here, and even without Grothkopf's inking enhancements, I think Flessel does a fine job on his own. I'm wary of the wirepoon in the future, as by year's end it will completely replace the gas gun as Sandman's sidearm of choice in further drift from the original Christman concept, but taken as a neutral in its debut, giving Sandman greater aerial mobility does lead to some cool shots and enhance the sense Wes goes stark bananas in the mask by pulling some stunts that would almost certainly pull his arms from their sockets in real life. There are, however, some particularly stiff action shots, and in one panel Flessel cocks up the design on the mask worse than Grothkopf last ish. Based on the opening vignette, Borloff decimated millions of innocent lives in addition to all the planes he melted out of the sky, making him easily the deadliest foe Wes has faced to date, and in turn making the "We did it, gang, everything is bright and peachy again!" ending sorta offputting. They'll have to organize mass funerals tomorrow, Wes. Show a little respect.
For America and Democracy: The Grey Shirts - Fox, Grothkopf
In the top-level story, the JSA learn of their mission for the FBI: a group of Nazi insurgents known as the Grey Shirts are plotting subversive and destructive activities all across America, and are now posed to badly destabilize the nation in a series of disruptive attacks. Each is assigned a mission at critical points cross the nation, though given the widely-ranging disparity in their powers, their usefulness to the cause varies equally wildly. The Atom humiliates some goons spreading Nazi ideology at a single college, Hawkman barely prevents the destruction of an aviation plant in California, and Hourman's defense of an Oklahoma oil field ends with him toppling one of the oil towers to stop his quarry. Meanwhile, Green Lantern detonates a zeppelin secretly jamming radio transmissions nationwide, the Spectre casually annihilates some otherworldly vampiric globes sympathetic to Hitler's cause, and Doctor Fate uses his magic to out every single spy on the eastern seaboard. Uneven efforts or not, the group converge on the Grey Shirts' ringleader, and with a little help from Johnny Thunder, turn him over to good ol' J. Edgar Hoover's custody. Alas, Wesley does not get the blood he's thirsting after.
(Also Doctor Fate alerts Wesley to the identity and location of the ringleader before his mission starts rather than letting him figure it out on his own like everyone else. Prick.)
For his six-page leg of the assignment, the Sandman is off to El Paso, Texas to assist a local newspaper under threat from the Grey Shirts for printing pro-democracy and anti-Hitler editorials. Of course, this being Wesley Dodds on the job, he gets this information by roughing his way into the newspaper offices, then acts on it by beating on the guard at the Grey Shirts' camp and pounding down a band of brainwashed young men to prove he's a better American than them. After sending the wannabe Nazis for a whirl by running their bomb shipment off the road, Wesley doubles back to completely break the recruits' spirits, daring them to prove their hard enough by shooting an unarmed man in Hitler's name, chiefly himself. When none can cut the mustard, he marches them back into town with collars strapped to his car, and inspires the lot to join the Army to a few shirtless bars of "God Bless America."
Cripes but jingoism produces some heady results, doesn't it? I'm not sure I can rightly condone the ridiculous levels of patriotism on display here, even against such classically anti-American enemies as Nazis, yet at the same time, look at this and tell me it isn't the hardest shit you'll see all week. Again, though I've my misgivings about Wes as a brawler no matter how entertaining the results prove, there's something endearing about him being so raring for a fight his first move is to altercate the receptionist at the place he's assigned to defend. On the whole, Grothkopf's final Sandman contribution also shows refinement from his earlier works, the broader, thicker elements of his linework now tempers on a somewhat more grounded approach. Certainly the Sandman himself keeps a consistent look better than he does in any other issue published thus far this year. I DO notice he reused Flessel's design for the District Attorney wholesale on the newspaper publisher. Since he's going and heading out on a job well done, let's not hold it against him, eh?
The Purple Death Ray - Fox?, Flessel
At the nightly planetarium show, a member of the audience screams and falls down dead, stricken by a litany of strange symptoms with no obvious cause. Wesley, believing the man was killed by a death ray, examines the auditorium's projector, only to find no obvious alterations or fault. Undeterred, he purchases himself a seat next to the murdered man's for the next show, which is now occupied by another fellow who received a last-second courtesy invitation. Acting quickly, the Sandman reexamines the projector from the shadows and finds a replacement bulb screwed into the socket pointed directly at the man's chair. With assistance from his wirepoon, Sandman swings down and wrenches the man from his seat just as the show starts, the bulb bathing his seat in deadly radiation. On learning the man is a former judge and the deceased a former DA, it's not long before Wes ferrets out the killer; it's the cashier, a former scientist sent to jail for misappropriating university funds years ago, out for revenge and now stopped cold.
See, while I'm skeptical about the growing presence of science-fiction elements in the series, they make fine fodder when they play to Sandman's strengths. Lurking high above a crowd of people seeking the answer to some deadly mystery is exactly Wes' bag, and plus or minus some strange mask drawings, Flessel captures that thrill of closely examining a big deadly machine in secret before it fires. I'd submit the page where Sandman saves the judge from the beam as an easy contender for best of the year thus far, and the shot where Wes pushes Dian away from the killer's bullet is another fine piece of work. My memories of this one before sitting down to reread and write were a lot chillier, probably because I wish the series remained in crime pulp rather than raygun pulp, but a good outcome is a good outcome. Seriously, though, why is the mask going so bobble-eyed of late?
The Voodoo Sorcerer - ???, Flessel
As Dian and Wesley tiff over his interest in an exotic dancer they know through a mutual friend, the woman's tail-lashing dance is interrupted when she sees a great glowing triangle materialize before her eyes. With the shock straining her bad heart, the Sandman brings her to boyfriend's house, where he reveals the triangle is a voodoo witch doctor's means of accusing someone of murder - just as news comes over the wire that the man the woman lashed with her costume tail has died! Smelling a rat, Wes rushes to the scene of the crime to find the taile barbed with poison quills, only for the titular sorcerer to bumrush him out the window. It's a big misunderstanding, thankfully: he's as shocked by the murder as Sandman, and only summoned the triangle on suggestion from an acquaintance, forgetting the dancer would know its significance through her partner. By happiest coincidence, this provides Wesley the solution to the mystery right quick, for only his friend's chauffeur would have motive, opportunity, and knowledge to frame his employers and their associates for the murder of a stock broker who owed them money.
Hmm, ah, see, on the one hand, it IS nice that the voodoo guy is innocent of everything except a lapse in judgement and the real twist is an unassuming little man exploiting the mystery and fears around the craft to cast suspicion off his person. On the other hand, eek, yike, zoinks! None good. Bad, even. Outside unfortunate depictions of non-white persons from the 1940s, the story's pretty weak for a murder mystery, as numerous elements are evidently known to the characters well in advance, yet only made clear to the reader right before they become relevant, like the exact identity of the murdered man. It's only eight pages, so there's little opportunity to piece information together on your own time, and as such it is heavily reliant on narrative cheats to generate cheap surprise. About the best thing here is the big page-dominating panel of Wesley swinging through the city on his wirepoon, unconscious woman tucked under arm. Kinda hard to convincingly raise my dander about what it means for the character and his feature when it's successfully operating on the long-standing principle of "masked mystery men swinging on a wire through skyscrapers looks really cool." S'like a solid fifth of the formula behind why Spider-Man is so enduringly popular.
(Also not a big fan of how Wes dismisses Dian from participating in the case without any adequate reason why. She calls him out over it, even, and nothing in the story justifies his decision to fly solo on this one.)
The Unseen Man - ???, Flessel
Dian's purchase of paints from a local hobby shop includes quite the unusual accidental item: a paint that turns anything and everything invisible on contact. Determined to solve this mystery on her own, Dian investigates the shop with the dealer's cooperation, only for the dread Unseen Man to get the drop on her. Fortunately, Sandman is there to save her because he won't let Dian do anything on her own; unfortunately, Dian doesn't know Wes can see her attacker through his blue cobalt lenses and pulls him away, thinking him mad and letting the Unseen Man go free. As reward for her screw up, she's targeted in her home the next night, only for Wes to barge in again, having anticipated the only possible secret identity for the crook would make him likely to strike back at Dian. It is, unsurprisingly, the hobby shop owner, who Wes turns over to the police before heading out to patent his invisibility paint with the United States Army.
Alright, it's definitely not Gardner Fox writing anymore, because I cannot imagine Fox treating Dian so poorly. I gave her some dignity in summary, but this story is plain dumping all over her as a fussy, incompetent tryhard who fails at investigating on her own on account her womanly ways. Just look at the sheer antagonism between her and Wes; you two are partners, she's saved Sandman's skin like a dozen times, worn his costume and wielded his gas gun to do it once, even! Don't try to BS me into thinking Wes would run this paternalist "let me handle it, Dian, I wear the pants in this relationship" crap on her. You're only alive because she's worn your fucking pants. Otherwise, 'nother instance where the story and art alike don't give me much of note. I reckon Flessel was about done with the series with Fox gone and sorta phoned in his last few assignments. They're nowhere near the standard of his early solo artistic duties on the title. There IS another good wirepoon swinging shot, if one counterbalanced by a crummier instance with yet another weirdly-proportioned mask.
The Mysterious Mr. X: The Kidnapper's Union - Fox, Cliff Young
The Justice Society are bored. Bored, bored, bored. Why are they bored? There is no crime. Not a single ruffian or scoundrel or roughneck lawbreaker anywhere in the city! Where did crime go? Crime has taken an enforced vacation, courtesy the plans of big crime boss Mister X (hats off), as prelude to his scheme for taking out the JSA and putting all his criminal enterprises back on easy street. It's quite the collection of rackets out against the superheroes - an arsonist ring for Flash, a jewel snatching gang for Hawkman, leader of the phony fortune teller underworld against Doctor Fate, even hard-pressing gym membership shakedowns for the Atom! Naturally our heroes triumph, though every one also encounters a strange little man idly strolling through their battlegrounds. He's so omnipresent despite his mousiness, he's even there when they convene at the police station to organize Mister X's (hats off) arrest. Except this unassuming slip of a man? He IS Mister X (hats off), and with the Justice Society having taken all the fun out've crime, he's turning himself in to live comfortably on the state's dollar in jail. WHOOPSY-DOODLE!
For his six-page part in the game, Sandman must contend against the kidnapper's union, who naturally enough have abducted Dian to get his attention. Not only have these lowlives taken Dian hostage (though she doesn't particularly mind), they've taken out phony accident insurance claims against themselves should the hero injure any of them en route to his untimely death! Nobody quite expects Wes to avoid the sniper-guarded roads to their remote hilltop hideout, though, and a quick wirepoon swing over the canyon (complete with Mister X - hats off - sighting) puts him right in the criminal den. From there, it's a simple biff wham boom to take down the punks and disarm their supporting fire. Alas, Sandman is once again only in the loop on the true nature of the threat against the JSA because someone notifies him from their own investigation, this time Flash via telegram. Let him do his own detective work, you pricks!
Right. You see these panels? You see Dian being calm and collected in the midst of a kidnapping operation? You see Wes trusting her with a submachine gun to keep watch on the fools who mean them harm? Yeah, THAT'S Fox writing Dian. Whoever's writing the Adventure feature at this time ought've taken notes. Artistically, Young makes a fine replacement for Grothkopf and Flessel in Adventure - he can match the first for goons, the second for action, manages a nice turnaround effect before Wes swings on his wirepoon, and even gives us a by-now all-too-rare heavy shadow shot on Wes and Dian. I'm a big fan of the lead kidnapper who calls the JSA the "Justiss Sassiety," and find this instance of Mister X (hats off) the second best in the book, behind only his appearance in the Hourman story, which I think speaks for itself. Probably the only time I'll express preference for something Hourman related over Sandman.
The loss of all three major contributors to the Sandman feature across early 1941 and the crunch down to eight pages has certainly made the Adventure Comics side of the Sandman line a rockier experience. It's still possible to derive enjoyment from the wonky mysteries and higher-concept criminals, but one must accept atmosphere and and particularity have been near-entirely sacrificed for generalized bombast and louder appeal. Don't misunderstand, I've become a fan of Wesley Dodds, Fist-Swinging Bullet Sponge, and my past praises for him aren't diminished by the realization of what this has done to his integrity as a character circa today's stopping point. The trouble is, while I enjoy this half-mad, impossibly reckless read on the character, it simply no longer bears any resemblance to the early days' lurking and creeping through the seedier parts of town. There's a great series of justifications running through the Sandman concept - he's no powers, so he uses the gas gun, so he needs the gas mask, which hides his identity so perfectly it frees him to wear the ordinary business suit, which highlights his vulnerability. Fling him around like a ragdoll who knows no fear of injury or death, although I'll clap for the bravado of it all, I must object if it means any notion he should be sneaky or cautious degrades.
Especially if it means the gas gun vanishes from the character. It hasn't met its final end just yet, but for this seven month block it's proven a very perfunctory aspect of the strip, hung by his side and occasionally brandished without acting as an integral part of the action or storytelling. The wirepoon has subsumed its function as the sidearm, and while I must stress there are plenty aces shots of Wes swinging that fully justify its prominence, taking precedence over the thing that makes him the Sandman, Crimefighter What Fights Crime By Putting The Criminals To Sleep plain rubs me the wrong way. Be awful nice i we could have both without the new toy putting the old out to pasture, y'know? It's not led to anything I'd full-throatedly object over just yet, but... ach, you'll see next time. Speaking of...
Next time! 1941 comes to a close as Wesley picks up another feature to his name, and also a stupid, ugly new costume!
(Previous write-ups: 1939, 1940 pt 1, 1940 pt 2)
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2023.05.27 11:25 DoUdowOrUpVoteNwhy Extremely sick with very rare brain disease, raising money for 7th brain surgery with the University of Texas. Over 7 year ongoing battle.

Hi my name is Xavier and I have been suffering for over 7 excruciatingly painful and incapacitating pain from a rare brain disease being the most painful disease in the world known as Trigeminal Neuralgia also known as the suicide pain. Roughly 23-27% of my fellow Trigeminal Neuralgia sufferers take their own lives due to being unable to cope with the level of pain brought on by the disease. There are multiple ways to get the disease, I sustained extremely damaging strains to my entire neck, spine, back, tissues, and muscles in those areas of my body when another driver caused a very back wreck that almost ended my life. The first person from 911 that interacted with me took one look at my car and at me and immediately remarked that had I not had my seat belt on that I would of died instantly, my mother always taught me to always wear my seatbelt and I always do. As a direct result of that wreck I developed the brain disease. I have had 6 brain surgeries to try and cure my pain so that I can get back to living a normal life, but nothing has worked at all. None of the treatments and surgeries have done anything at all to reduce or eliminate my pain 100%.
There are two types of Trigeminal Neuralgia, type 1 and type 2, I unfortunately have type 1. Type 1 is where the pain is present 24/7 all day long. I am on different medications to try and help manage my pain levels which is a temporary solution to my long term problem. My most recent visit with my radio oncologist which was follow up appointment after my most recent brain surgery of the radiation variety known as Cyberknife on 08-11-22. That surgery as aforementioned previously with the other surgeries did not work. He very bluntly let me know that he’s never had a TN patient that he wasn’t able to help in some capacity and that I was his most difficult patient he’s ever had and he’s extremely frustrated and regretful that he wasn’t able to help me at all. He also let me know that essentially that the radiation brain surgery with him was last resort and hope of getting cured partially or in full. Meaning that in my state I have literally went through every available avenue of treatment possible here and also every surgery and procedure available from a medical standpoint that all of my doctors could do.
At this point I am working with the University of Texas San Antonio Physicians Trigeminal Neuralgia Research Department on the next number of experimental new surgeries and treatments as well as different medical procedures not available in my state. Being that I live in a state different from Texas, the amount of funds I would need to cover travel, medical, cost of living, previous bills from previous surgeries and procedures, and possible unforeseen costs would be a number not feasibly predictable at this time. The goal is to work with the University of Texas on doing as many surgeries and procedures that’s medically necessary to find a permanent or temporary cure.
With the temporary cures there’s an estimate on each treatment to where the TN can restart on its own. I am working on getting onto social security disability as well as social security income benefits, but that process is very lengthy. I will have a YouTube page that everyone can view routinely to get real time updates on what’s going on with my progress. I am in desperate need of your help, please donate whatever you can and be sure to share this with your friends and family and post this on your social media pages to help raise awareness. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I’m eternally grateful.
Here's the University of Texas' Trigeminal Neuralgia Research Center:
I am applying for Social Security Disability benefits and SSI benefits as well. This is my 5th time applying, essentially my state has extreme rigid requirements and level of illness you must reach in order for them to approve you for benefits so it’s been very hard.
I will be posting weekly updates on my health status as well.
Please share my GoFundMe and donate anything you can please:
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2023.05.26 02:08 EmBejarano 8 weekend things to do around Colorado Springs and beyond: Territory Days, car enthusiast Slush; Kids to Parks, Denver BBQ Fest, arts trivia

Show off your trivia knowledge of the arts, maybe TV or the movies, maybe theatre or the fine arts. And there's dinner, too. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, 30 W. Dale St. Tickets $21
They bill it the "Playground for Car Enthusiasts" and Slush - The Motorsport Festival takes over Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain with drag racing, burnout pits, drifting and just showing off beautiful cars. For drivers and car fans, too.
A day of outdoor activities, Kids to Parks!, at beautiful Cheyenne Mountain State Park, 410 JL Ranch Heights, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Lime Kiln Parking Lot, Enjoy a mystery hike, steer roping, Pikes Peak Mobile Library, archery, corn hole, how to identify animal pelts and so much more. All free, no registration needed, but vehicles require a parks pass.
Territory Days: that's what packs the streets in Old Colorado City every Memorial Day weekend and has for 48 years, Vendor booths, performances, so much music and go-to-the-fair food, 9:30 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. Saturday and Sunday,10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday. Centered around Bancroft Park. Cowboy church Sunday. And don't miss all the Old Colorado City merchants and restaurants, too. No parking in the neighborhoods, a free shuttle from Coronado High School.
Delicious smells emanating this weekend from Empower Field at Mile High! Pitmasters have more than 30,000 pounds of ribs, brisket and pork on the grills for the Denver BBQ Fest. Add to that, cold brews and hours of live music. 3 and 4 hour sessions: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday. VIP pit passes. On Sunday, the Run for the Ribs 5K on the grounds around Empower Field, beer sponsor Breckenridge Brewery.
So many holiday arts festivals and events during the holiday weekend, Meadowgrass and Territory Days locally. One of the state's largest is the 24-year Denver Arts Festival in Stapleton's Central Park. 150 regional and national artists. Free festival, which also includes live music, is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Conservatory Green in Northfield. Food booths, wine, spirits and brews. A Kids' Art Zone.
See the Wings Over the Rockies' Warbird Invasion up close, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Among the famous planes: Fouga Magister, 1941 Ryan PT-22, 1939 Harlow UC-80, Boeing Stearman, DeHavilland Chipmunk, Focke-Wulf. Exploration of Flight, 13005 Wings Way, Englewood.
As part of the busy graduation season the Air Force Academy Cadet Bluebards has four public performances of “Beauty and the Beast” at Arnold Hall Auditorium, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. No ticket required, open seating. Info: Marc Napolitano, 914-400-4852
After a cold weather delay, the Cripple Creek Donkey Release is a perfect holiday treat at noon Monday on C Street downtown. The donkeys, with a history dating back to mining days, have been in winter pasture and will now have free roaming on the town's streets. There are two new ones, Calypso and Salsa, a mother and daughter. You can feed them apples and carrots and there are special treats available at nearby businesses.
Have a fun and safe holiday weekend everyone! As usual, none of the below articles are paywalled. Would love to see your photos and videos if any of you head to Denver to celebrate the opening of Casa Bonita :)
8 weekend things to do around Colorado Springs and beyond:
Weekend things to do around Denver and beyond:
Enjoy the 3-day holiday with these Memorial Day weekend festivals around Colorado:
Memorial Day weekend events around Colorado Springs:
MeadowGrass Music Festival offers Americana music over Memorial Day weekend near Colorado Springs:
8 best food trucks in Colorado Springs:
submitted by EmBejarano to ColoradoSprings [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 00:19 Mac-n-Cheese21 This Boingo CD I got at Goodwill for $3.99 came with an extra goodie!

submitted by Mac-n-Cheese21 to OingoBoingo [link] [comments]

2023.05.25 21:33 LemmingPractice Former NDP Voter, Voting UCP, and this is why

I have seen a lot of posts on this sub from former Conservative voters, saying why they are voting NDP. I have also seen a lot of posts from NDP supporters asking why Conservative voters support the UCP in this election.
So, I thought I would put together a post to try to provide a factual perspective on the argument for the UCP. I'm hoping it doesn't get reflexively downvoted by those who don't like my conclusions, but I will try to keep it as factual as possible.

The Economy
For me, the economy is usually the most important issue. I think a false dichotomy is often drawn between economic concerns and social programs. The reality, in my view, is that economic growth is what makes funding for social programs sustainable in the long term. Alberta's program spending per capita was the highest among the country's four big provinces in 2021-22, without the help of equalization dollars. We are able to maintain a comparably high level of spending in this province because we have the most productive economy in the country (tops in GDP per capita by a wide margin).
Growing the economy grows the government's tax revenue, which allows for the funding of more and better social services.
When it comes to the economy, too much of the discussion in this election has been about oil. Whether it's the UCP talking about how Notley will destroy the oil industry, or the NDP handwaving away their entire economic record because of the oil price crash that happened before they took office, the rest of the economy seems to be entirely ignored.
Part of why I voted for Notley previously was the idea that she would be working to diversify the economy. Unfortunately, she failed pretty spectacularly at doing that.
The Alberta Economic Dashboard is a useful tool for statistics. I think the investment numbers are the most important ones in there, as they show a government's ability to attract investment. It may take years for a project to start contributing to GDP, but it is usually the policies in place when the investment decision is made that are the most relevant. Companies aren't necessarily going to throw away millions in sunk investment because a new government came into power and changed things, but they will avoid investing in a place if changes made before the investment is made affect the calculus of their investment's expected return.
If you poke around the investment numbers, remove the oil investment numbers, and just look at the non-oil investment numbers, you will find that non-oil investment in Alberta fell 1.38% during Notley's term. Meanwhile, under the UCP, those same figures rose 11.96%.
That's a pretty wide gap, especially since the UCP had a pandemic which lasted for most of their term. Notley had an oil price crash, too, but the crash happened in 2014, she took office in 2015, and she had produced no tangible momentum in investment in non-oil industries by the time she left office in 2019. I just don't accept the argument that she couldn't produce any positive results in non-oil industries by 2019, based on an oil crash that happened in 2014.
The UCP also secured huge successes in multiple different non-oil industries which Notley had herself identified as being priority areas.
One area of high priority for Notley was renewable energy, and she complained very loudly when her highly regulated renewable energy program was scrapped by the UCP. But, despite Notley's talk during the election of the jobs and investment in renewables, the ones who actually brought in that investment were the UCP. The UCP's free market approach to renewables has been incredibly successful. It has been so successful, in fact, that in 2022, 75% of all new wind and solar capacity added in Canada came from Alberta. Notley talks about the importance of renewable energy investment, but the ones who actually brought the results were the UCP.
In tech, it's a similar story. Another focus area for Notley, yet another area where investment has been booming under the UCP.
Aerospace is another really promising area for diversification. Last year, airplane manufacturer De Havilland moved their headquarters from Toronto to Calgary, and committed to building a manufacturing and aerodrome near Strathmore. Maybe even more important was the deal thr province struck with Westjet which will see them move assets from Vancouver and Toronto and prioritizing Calgary as their main transfer hub. The move will double Westjet's capacity through Calgary, increasing destinations from Calgary, boosting the tourism sector (easier to travel to places with direct flights), and providing secondary benefits to any industry with mobile workers (eg. it's easier to have a consultancy in Calgary if your consultants can easily travel to clients without transfers).
In various other industries, hydrogen investment has been rapidly increasing, with Air Products currently building a $1.3B processing facility in Edmonton. Dow has invested $10B in their plastics manufacturing facility in Fort Saskatchewan. McCain doubled the size of their Lethbridge plant. Major biofuels plants are going forward in Calgary, Lethbridge and on Siksika Nation Land.
The list goes on. Alberta is doing great right now, and there is real economic momentum. It's momentum that is not being driven by oil. It's the momentum that Notley says she wanted to achieve, yet, was achieved under UCP policies she intends to scrap.
Unfortunately, Notley's approach seems to be too ideological, and she doesn't seem to be learning from her mistakes. Her tax proposal is to increase corporate taxes, and while the response from many has been, "yeah, those oil companies should pay more", that's not how that works.
Corporate taxes are a tiny part of an oil company's tax burden. The much larger part for them is royalties. It's like an industry-specific tax. Last year, the Alberta government made $27.5B in royalty payments, primarily from oil companies. Those payments come from a single industry, and mostly from a handful of companies. As many people have rightly pointed out, oil companies aren't going to leave Alberta (well, at least, not all of them will, a couple have) because the oil is here. But, other companies in other industries have more mobility. Last year, the Alberta government only made $6.4B in corporate tax revenues. Unlike royalties, those apply to every industry. For oil companies, corporate taxes represent a tiny fraction of their tax bill, and pale in comparison to royalties. For other industries, however, corporate taxes are their main tax liability. As such, by raising corporate taxes (as opposed to, say, royalties), Notley is not targeting oil companies, she is promising to disproportionately increase the tax bill of non-oil industries, hurting efforts to diversify, and reducing Alberta's ability to attract non-oil investment dollars.

Power Grid Promise
I wanted to include this one in a separate section, even though, my big concern here is the economy.
Notley promised to bring our power grid to net zero emissions by 2035, which contrasts with the UCP's 2050 target date. The estimated cost of that promise if $52B.
First of all, let's talk about the emissions that this will save. Last year, Canada produced 670 megatonnes of emissions. Alberta's energy grid produced 0.008 megatonnes. Canada is responsible for 1.5% of the world's emissions. As such, the emissions savings we are talking about here are 0.000019% of Canada's emissions, or 0.00000018% of world emissions.
Cutting emissions is an important goal, but you still need to do a cost benefit analysis. Looking at those numbers, we are not talking about world changing effects here. We are talking about a tiny fraction of emissions, for a huge cost.
The $52B cost gets passed along to consumers, which means two groups: 1. consumers, and 2. industry.
For consumers, estimates are that the cost of these measures could increase energy rates by 40%. While Canada's cost of living crisis is not as bad here as it is in other provinces, that's still a huge amount of additional cost inflation for consumers.
For industry, if the plan is to try to diversify away from oil and gas, what are we diversifying towards? If part of your answer is manufacturing or any other industrial sectors which provide lots of good blue collar jobs, then you need to consider energy costs, which are a huge part of the cost base of any company running large industrial power-hungry plants. Those costs make manufacturing in Alberta more expensive, and therefore, less competitive. The result is driving away the non-oil investment capital we need to diversify the economy.
For some perspective, the only form of renewable energy which has had a cost advantage over hydrocarbons for more than a few years is hydroelectricity, which has been the most efficient energy source in the world for over a century. Some provinces, like BC, Quebec and Ontario, are blessed with abundant hydroelectric resources, but waterfalls are in short supply on the prairies. As such, our energy grid grew up around what we did have: hydrocarbons.
As a result, our grid produces 75% of its power through hydrocarbons like natural gas. Ontario, by contrast, only has 8% of its energy grid power provided by hydrocarbons, yet it has balked at the 2035 target, and is instead building new natural gas plants. Why? Well, Ontario is the country's manufacturing center, and cheaper natural gas power will help to keep energy costs down for its industrial consumers, helping it to continue attracting industrial investment dollars.
Alberta is already taking large steps in bringing our grid to net zero. I discussed the huge increases in solar and wind power above. I mentioned hydrogen, and we have new communities being built to run entirely on that fuel. We are working on small modular reactors, and our technology to use abandoned wells to produce geothermal power has been so successful that it is being exported for use elsewhere.
Progress is being made, and it is being made very fast, but 2035 is a reckless target, and the cost-benefit analysis does not support the approach. It takes time for hydrogen production to ramp up, and for new communities to be built or retrofitted to run on it. It takes time to build modular reactors, to build solar and wind capacity, etc. But, we are leading the country in these efforts, but it is still a long journey.
The federal policy wasn't designed to be achievable for Alberta's grid, which runs 75% on hydrocarbons, it was designed to be achievable for Quebec (who get 94% of their power from hydroelectricity), BC (who get 84% of their power from hydroelectricity) and Ontario (who get only 8% from hydrocarbons, with the majority of their power being from hydroelectricity and nuclear). We do not have the geography of those provinces, and the only pragmatic approach is to tackle the issue based on our own circumstances, not taking an ideological position that will damage our economy.

Sovereignty Act
The Sovereignty Act has been much maligned, but as a lawyer, I think I have a pretty different understanding of its practical application than most.
First of all, to address the constitutional question: no, the act is not unconstitutional. Theoretically, it could be used in unconstitutional ways, but the act itself is not unconstitutional. The act is a tool. You can use a hammer to build a house or to hit someone on the head. The hammer isn't the problem, but how it is used can potentially be. The Act's wording only allows Alberta to refuse to enforce federal laws that are unconstitutional. Obviously, it can't be unconstitutional to refuse to enforce an unconstitutional law, so the constitutionality depends on the use that is made of the Act, not the Act itself.
But, that's the theory, what's the practical effect and purpose of the act? Negotiating leverage.
To explain, let's take a look at a tactic that has been used to Alberta's disadvantage for a long time. With the Keystone XL pipeline, there were numerous environmental groups which challenged the project. Each and every one of them failed, and yet they succeeded in killing the line. How? By running out the clock.
Courts can't kill pipeline projects, they can only delay them. Like with TMX, if the court strikes down a regulatory approval, the company can just re-do the process, and re-apply, fixing the omission and getting the approval. The only one who can kill a project is the government.
With Keystone XL, the environmentalists lost every single challenge, but they ran out the clock, and kept court challenges going long enough for the next election to happen. Biden beat Trump, and then overturned the Presidential Order Trump had given approving the border crossing. In doing so, he killed the project.
The history of pipeline litigation makes the Sovereignty Act rather ironic. What the Sovereignty Act does, in practicality, is essentially the same.
Normally, the feds would implement a law, and the provinces would enforce it. The province might decide to challenge the constitutionality of the law, but the law would be enforced while that challenge occurred. If the province is successful, then the feds got to keep an unconstitutional law in place for the years that the court challenge took.
The Sovereignty Act reverses this situation. If used, the feds would not be able to implement their law in Alberta until they challenged the use of the Sovereignty Act (which would prevent the implementation). The feds would have to justify the constitutionality of their law against whatever the province says is unconstitutional about it. If the feds fail to justify their act, then it is struck down and the Sovereignty Act prevents an unconstitutional law from being enforced on Alberta. If successful, the feds could introduce their law after the court case is resolved. But, the use would be delayed by the court case, likely for years.
Unlike what many people think, the Courts aren't really about trials. Well over 95% of cases settle before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. Having a good or bad case is more about leverage than anything. A good case means good leverage, and likely a good settlement.
Similarly, the point of the Sovereignty Act isn't to use it to kill laws, it is to use it as a negotiating tool.
If the feds want, for instance, to implement a mandatory cut on fertilizer use by farmers, the Sovereignty Act could be used to prevent that. The feds would fight the battle in the courts, but, in the meantime, farmers would be able to keep using fertilizer. That leaves the feds a choice: either work collaboratively with the province and negotiate an agreement that both sides can live with, or go to court, have the policy delayed for years, and have that hanging over your head in the next election (as a win by your competitor could result in the policy being killed, just like Biden did with KXL). It is a public embarrassment to the feds, if it happens, and hurts their agenda, so they are incentivized to negotiate. Maybe that means a less restrictive fertilizer allowance, or phased-in implementation, or funding to enable a transition to more environmentally fertilizer options, etc.
This exact scenario actually played out at this year's budget. The feds threatened to implement three proposals which the province said it would use the Sovereignty Act on (fertilizer, the emissions cap and banning natural gas for electricity generation). There is a very strong argument that all of these matters are within provincial jurisdiction, since the province has constitutional authority over intraprovincial industry (ie. business that takes place exclusively within a single province). To implement the proposed policies, the feds would need to rely on the POGG provision, which is an exception that can allow the feds to pass legislation that encroaches on provincial authority, if it meets a certain test (the carbon tax was deemed constitutional based on the court finding that this exception had been met). Nothing about those constitutional challenges would have been a frivolous claim. The result of the threat was that the feds did not include those measures in the budget, and instead engaged collaboratively with Alberta. None of those measures have yet been implemented.
Unfortunately, this is the approach we need with the feds right now. Trudeau knows he has no shot of winning significant seats in Alberta, so his policies are focused on winning seats elsewhere. Some of this is with policies that apply cross-country on the surface, yet have disproportionate effect (like the 2035 grid policy I discussed above). Some of this is with policies that directly target the oil industry in Alberta (there is no emissions cap being contemplated for Ontario or Quebec's manufacturing sector, nor was there ever legislation targeting the manufacturing of cars and planes made in those places that run on Albertan hydrocarbons, and the shipping industries of the Atlantic Provinces and BC were never targeted either, despite being one of the world's most carbon intensive industries).
We needed leaders like Lougheed to stand up to the feds when Trudeau's dad was targeting the province, and unfortunately, we need that now, too.
Notley's plan, of course, is to get rid of the Sovereignty Act, based on unfounded allegations of chasing away investment (which, as I discussed in the Economy section, continues to boom right now). I wish her "be nice to the feds and maybe they'll be nice back" approach worked, but it didn't, and, as a professional negotiator, that doesn't surprise me at all.
Hard bargaining is far from the only negotiation strategy out there, but it's a tool you have to have. Negotiation theory means little without leverage. Many softer negotiation approaches are useless in litigation if your opponent knows you aren't willing to go to court, because they have no incentive to work collaboratively with you if you have no leverage. The ability to go to court is the source of your leverage. A successful trial lawyer will get better settlements in their cases because their trial record gives them leverage (ie. "if I don't settle with this guy, he is willing to go to trial). Lawyers who don't have credibility as a trial lawyer will get less on the same cases because they lack that same leverage. They don't even have to be good trial lawyers, they just have to be willing to fight a trial, because just the costs of a trial act as a significant incentive to work out a deal.
So, where is the source of Notley's leverage? Last time around, I thought she had a real shot to use the leverage of using her position as a non-conservative to give Trudeau an opening in Alberta. In 2015, Trudeau nearly tripled his predecessor's popular vote total in Alberta (9.3% in 2011 to 24.6% in 2015). Working collaboratively potentially gave Notley something Trudeau wanted (the promise of a breakthrough in Alberta). But, instead of using her leverage to get a solid commitment (like a commitment to retain the approval of Northern Gateway), she volunteered to champion his climate initiatives for vague promises of "pipelines for social responsibility".
The rest is history. In 2015, it was commonly known that Alberta's pipelines would reach capacity in 2018 when Fort Hills went online, since production levels in the oil sands are set 5-10 years in advance. Only two pipelines were set to be completed by 2018: Northern Gateway and Energy East. The TMX issue with BC didn't even arise until 2018, when the pipeline crisis had already started. There was never any chance that TMX could avoid the crisis. Notley didn't get a commitment on Northern Gateway, and it was killed. Energy East fell to a similar fate. Bill C-69 was dubbed the "No More Pipelines Bill" by Kenney in the last election, and, as predicted, there have been zero new export pipelines that have even entered the regulatory process since Trudeau took office in 2015.
Obviously, no one is perfect, and, although Notley's mistake was costly, you would hope that she would take that lesson and learn from it. But, as discussed earlier with the 2035 energy grid promise, she is doing the same thing again. What did she negotiate for in return from Trudeau for the 2035 commitment? Could she not at least have asked for federal dollars to subsidize the transition, in exchange for the accelerated timeline? And, why is she dead-set on throwing away her negotiating leverage by killing the Sovereignty Act? If she's not going to use the Act in an unconstitutional way, then what does she gain from taking a tool out of her tool bag? It's not like getting rid of the Act would stop a future UCP government from re-introducing it after a future election. The move is symbolic, at best, and takes away a practical tools from her arsenal.
Ultimately, I just don't trust Notley to negotiate with a federal government that I do not believe has Alberta's best interests at heart. With a different federal government it might be less of an issue for me, but we are where we are. I thought Kenney's approach of verbal grandstanding against the feds was similarly useless. But, the Sovereignty Act is actually a practical tool that has real weight. It's the first time an Albertan government has implemented one of those practical tools since the days of Lougheed and Klein. I don't understand why Notley would take away a tool like that which could work to protect Albertan interests.

Despite being the focus of the NDP's election campaign, I consider this one to be a nothingburger issue, but I wanted to explain why.
Before the last election, there was similar fearmongering about the UCP's approach to healthcare. In response, Kenney signed a healthcare pledge that he would not cut funding to the healthcare system, nor would he delist any service that was currently covered by AHS. He kept that promise, increasing healthcare funding each year, and not delisting any services.
Smith took power last year, and in her one budget since taking power she also increased healthcare funding. Her promise is to increase funding further. She has also made a similar pledge to Kenney's, which went along with the statement, "It means that a UCP government, under my leadership, will not de-list any medical services or prescriptions now covered by Alberta Health Insurance. No exceptions."
Moreover, the federal Canada Health Act also mandates what services have to be covered by provincial healthcare plans. There is no option under the Act to defund family doctor visits or any of the other services that have been talked about.
I have zero concerns about the healthcare issue, and it is ridiculous to me that the NDP have focused so much of their advertising budget on it.
The really sad thing about it, to me, is that the NDP approach is shutting down a conversation on healthcare that we really need to have.
Canada's healthcare system is the 7th most expensive per capita in the world, yet we only rank 35th in terms of quality of care. We are not getting our money's worth, and the situation is also continually getting worse, with per capita inflation-adjusted costs of healthcare increasing in 22 of the past 24 years.
I talked above about my economic concerns relating to the ability to sustainably fund social services, and the same thing applies here. Healthcare spending accounts for 13% of our GDP, which ranks 2nd highest among OCED countries. That's not sustainable.
While many talk about us having "free" healthcare, we don't: we have very expensive healthcare. We just pay for it once a year at tax time, not on a per-service basis.
Unfortunately, we need to have a real talk about our healthcare system, but every time it is brought up by a politician you get this false dichotomy fearmongering about how basically the only two options are our system vs the US system, and how we're going to have our chemistry teachers cooking meth to pay for medical care like Breaking Bad if we do anything but keep throwing money into propping up a broken system.
In reality, many of the world's best healthcare systems are hybrid systems, with private delivery and public funding being a very successful model (in other words, the government still pays 100% of healthcare costs for everyone, but delivery is provided by profit-motivated private companies who prioritize client service and efficient delivery of services to maximize their own profits).
The current system is a monopoly system. Both sides of the aisle seem to agree on the dangers of monopolies, and how they provide substandard service and higher costs to consumers. I don't know why so many people ignore that government bureaucracies are inherently monopolies, with no profit motive or market competition in place to drive innovation or force them to seek efficiencies.
Anyway, that's a bit of a theoretical rant, but, for the time being, the point is that healthcare shouldn't be a major issue in the election, and I really don't expect to see any noticeable change in healthcare services after this election, regardless of which party wins. Both parties have committed to throwing more money to prop up a broken system, and voter pressure seems to, again, be stopping politicians from having a productive discussion about how we could actually try to fix the system.

While there are other issues in the election, my post is probably long enough, at this point. If you made it all this way, then bravo.
I fully expect that many on this sub will disagree with my opinions, but I hope, at the very least, that people will read this and understand that there is another side to the story here. There are legitimate reasons to vote UCP, and many of us who are voting UCP are well-educated, very well informed on the issues and have considered them carefully, as opposed to just voting based on election sign colours or team loyalty.
submitted by LemmingPractice to alberta [link] [comments]

2023.05.24 05:51 deadjim4 Columbus OKs private development around Golden Park stadium. What businesses could come?

Columbus OKs private development around Golden Park stadium. What businesses could come?
Transcribed to avoid the paywall:
With little public discussion, Columbus’ city and Georgia state leaders this year quietly removed a covenant that blocked private development in the South Commons area around the Golden Park baseball stadium. The move comes seven years after the city considered selling Golden Park, which in 2016 hosted no baseball team and cost the Columbus Consolidated Government an estimated $83,000 a year in maintenance and utilities, to keep it open to rent for special events. That proposed sale was dropped when city leaders learned of the covenant the state of Georgia placed on the South Commons when it gave the land to the city in 1928.
That restriction enshrined in state law said the property “shall be kept open and used only for the purpose of a public park and playground and devoted to such amusement and pleasure as ... the City of Columbus may designate.” The restriction also mandated that the City of Columbus “shall have no power or authority to convey any part or portion of said real property without the assent of two-thirds of the qualified voters of said city at a special election to be held for that purpose.” With no public discussion, council moved to eliminate that restriction during a late-night meeting on Feb. 28, a session that primarily focused on the controversy over then-police chief Freddie Blackmon.
That evening, councilors talked about Golden Park during a closed-door session to discuss real estate, which is an exception to the state open meetings law, allowing private meetings involving “negotiations to purchase, dispose of or lease property.” Council then voted on a resolution asking state legislators to remove the covenant, with the resolution presented as a last-minute “add-on” to the city manager’s agenda, so it was not on the council agenda publicized before the meeting. The vote was 9 to 1 in favor, with only former Houston Astros baseball player Glenn Davis, the District 2 councilor, voting against it. Davis this week said he voted no because the proposal included no specific plan for the property.
“There was too much mystery, with a lack of understanding as to what could be done in that area,” he said, adding that he needed more clarity before he could support that. Council’s resolution asked that rescinding the Golden Park restrictions be added to a so-called “housecleaning bill” that involved transferring other Georgia properties around the state to local governments. That legislation, House Resolution 157, passed the General Assembly during this year’s session, and Gov. Brian Kemp signed it on May 1, freeing the city to pursue a redevelopment plan for that portion of the South Commons. Mayor Skip Henderson said council rushed the resolution through in February because it had to move quickly to be included in the state legislation that by then was making its way through the general assembly.
“We actually knew that there was a housecleaning bill that was already in the senate, and so when we heard about that, we thought, ‘Well, let’s just see if we can get this attached to it,’” he said. The city does not intend to sell Golden Park, and does not yet have a plan for the property, he said, but hopes new amenities there will spur more development down the road.
“I think there are some ideas being floated around, but I don’t think there’s any commitment to a concept,” he said. “We’re still trying to evaluate what is the best way to make that pivot down into Victory Drive and down along South Lumpkin Road into south Columbus.” The mayor on Monday asked councilors to approve a resolution at this week’s meeting to endorse bringing a Minor League Baseball team back to Golden Park, through negotiations with the company Diamond Baseball Holdings. Council voted unanimously to approve that resolution Tuesday evening.
Golden Park no longer is the derelict baseball stadium it appeared to be in 2016, when a minor league team hadn’t played there in eight years: The five-acre ballpark at 100 Fourth St. now is home to the Columbus Chatt-a-Hoots, who will resume regular season play there on June 2. They’re in the Sunbelt Baseball League that offers a summer season for college athletes hoping to play professionally.
The ballpark is on the western end of the South Commons, a swath of land of around 170 acres along the Chattahoochee River that now includes the city’s softball complex, where teams practiced for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Golden Park, the A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium, the Columbus Civic Center and an ice rink. The commons originated as vacant land set aside for public use when Georgia established Columbus, a planned city, in 1827 and 1828. Besides the South Commons, Columbus had a north commons that since has been developed, and an east commons now occupied by the Norfolk-Southern rail yard, between Sixth Avenue and 10th Avenue. In 1873, the state of Georgia by legislative act gave authority over the commons to a local board known as the Commissioners of the Commons, and that arrangement endured until 1928, when the state gave that authority to the city itself, deeding it the land.
“In the early 1920s, the state of Georgia said, ‘You don’t need the Commissioners of the Commons anymore. We’re just going to deed it all to the city of Columbus,’” said Ken Henson, a Columbus attorney and developer who has researched the commons’ history. “But that did not take away necessarily those restrictions that it still be used for public good and public benefit.”
City leaders say those restrictions have not been removed from the entire South Commons, and remain in effect for all of the land that’s not designated in the city and state resolutions. The resolutions removing a portion of that land from those constraints define the property as “that improved parcel or tract lying west of the east side of Fourth Avenue and south of Fourth Street, and extending across the Chattahoochee River to the south boundary of the city of Columbus.” Fourth Avenue through downtown is now named Veterans Parkway. City officials said in this context, it is the entrance road to the Civic Center, forming the eastern boundary of the property, which is bordered to the south and west by the river and to the north by Fourth Street, which becomes Victory Drive after passing the softball fields.
The resolutions specify the property is “currently used for the Golden Park baseball stadium, an auditorium, a civic center, and an ice rink.” It also includes the Jonathan Hatcher Skateboard Park just east of Golden Park.
Henderson said state plans to replace the 1962 Oglethorpe Bridge over the river west of the ballpark may create a new gateway into the city, with Golden Park positioned to be a more prominent feature. “There’s just tons of opportunities down there, especially if you think about, and I know it’s a ways off, the bridge, the Oglethorpe Bridge,” he said. “If they turn that into a gateway, you’ve got that east-west connector coming through there, and then the first thing you see is that historic ballfield, coming through that way.”
The mayor was asked if the city would sell any of that land to a private developer. “I hate to say no, because I don’t know what will happen after I’m gone,” said Henderson, whose last term as mayor ends in 2026. “But right now, what we would do, if we did engage with somebody for something, we’d do a land lease or something, but all that would be decided.”
When the city last considered selling Golden Park, rumors spread that a developer wanted the site for a casino, though state law has yet to allow casino gambling. Henderson said that’s not an option now. “I can emphatically say there’s no casino plan down there, and I can also tell you that I would never sell Golden Park. I think selling Golden Park, with the history of that ballfield, is something I would never condone.”
submitted by deadjim4 to ColumbusGA [link] [comments]

2023.05.24 02:01 tofu_with_tenacity Is it safe walking this route at night?

Is it safe walking this route at night?
Gf and I are staying at BEI hotel and going to an event at Bill Graham. We’d be walking around 8pm to the venue and around midnight back to the hotel. It’s only a 6 minute walk, but would it be recommended to just take a Ubelyft instead?
submitted by tofu_with_tenacity to sanfrancisco [link] [comments]

2023.05.24 01:50 kabonius 31 years ago

31 years ago
5/23/92, a Saturday, with a three-night stand of Grateful Dead shows about to open at Shoreline Amphitheater. Bruce Hornsby had announced his departure from the band a couple of months earlier, and there had been the usual rumors about Garcia's health, so we were a bit uncertain what to expect as the summer tour kicked off. But the reports from Cal Expo that week had been positive, the vibe in the Shoreline lots was lovely, and it was a nice, sunny start to Memorial Day weekend. This was back in the day when you could park in that super-close lot adjacent to the entrance gates if you got there early enough. Once inside we were treated to an excellent first set, a Box of Rain set II opener, and a well-played (if fairly standard for the 90s) set II. After the show we went to the Safeway grocery store right down the street, and it seemed like half of Shoreline was also there... it was so crowded. I remember getting lost in the cheese aisle because everything was so colorful...
But $20 for admission?!? Thank you for a real good time!
submitted by kabonius to gratefuldead [link] [comments]

2023.05.24 00:27 trueskool JUNGLE

JUNGLE submitted by trueskool to SFEvents [link] [comments]

2023.05.23 23:38 Tony_of_ReclaimAI New from Reclaim: Scheduling Links by Calendar, Habit Notes, & Startup Discount 🚀

Hey everyone!
Lots of new product updates for you! Check out the small but mighty changes to get even more control over your schedule 👇

Scheduling Links - select a target calendar 🙌

Scheduling Links just got better — you can now create Scheduling Links for any of your calendars connected at Reclaim. Create different links for work, side gigs, or personal meetings so you book your meetings exactly where you want them to be.
Create a new Scheduling Links →

Habit notes - set descriptions ✍️

Wish you could grab a link to a project, workbook, or agenda from your Habit event? You can now customize your Habit descriptions so you never have to dig around again — access everything you need right from your calendar.
Customize your Habits with notes →

Multiple time ranges - Habits + Smart 1:1s ⏰

You can now set custom hours for your Habits or Smart 1:1 meetings using multiple time ranges for each day, or use your Working, Meeting, or Personal hours for these events. And, Smart 1:1 organizers can now manage both attendees hours to resolve meetings with low overlap in availability.
Customize your Habits → Customize your Smart 1:1s →

Buffer Time - break after any meeting ☕️

Instead of just auto-scheduling breaks after your videoconference meetings, you can now enable Buffer Time breaks after all meetings on your calendar to better protect against meeting fatigue and burnout.
Enable breaks after all meetings →

Markdown formatting - polish your events 🎨

Hate looking at a dense block of text, or a monstrous link, in your Planner event? Customize your Habits, Tasks, and Smart 1:1 meetings event descriptions with markdown formatting to use headers, bolding, italics, lists, hyperlinks, images, and more.
See the markdown formatting guide →

New pricing - more features in every plan 🥳

Every paid plan now includes support for all features + Task integrations, plus a free Smart 1:1 and Scheduling Link in our new free Lite plan. Free users already have these features ready in their accounts, and you can switch from your old paid plan anytime using coupon code SWITCH to get 20% off for 12 months.
Check out the new pricing plans →

SEPA payment support for European users 🌍

Reclaim now supports Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)! European users can now make cashless euro payments via credit transfers and direct debit — thanks to all of our amazing users in Europe for your patience while we got this set up.
Add your SEPA payment in Reclaim →

Startup discount - existing users can apply 🚀

Startups are now eligible to get a 3-year 20% discount on all plans at Reclaim — even existing Reclaim users and teams. We want to help you save more of your limited time and resources — let's see if you qualify:

Apply for the startup discount →

What's in development? 🧑‍💻

Every day is a product day at Reclaim! Our team is working hard on some pretty amazing new features we think you're going to love. Here's a preview of what's coming next:

We're hiring! 🥳

Looking for a change, and want to work with an awesome group of productivity experts to build some of the coolest tech in scheduling? We want to meet you! Check out the job opportunities below (all remote), and send us a note if you're interested 🕺

New reads 📖

Here are some awesome productivity and time management reads for you! If you haven't already, subscribe our blog to stay up to date on all sorts of ways to get more goodness out of your workweek:

Updates & bug fixes 🐛

We're always working to make things better behind the scenes! Stay up-to-speed with our recent product updates for the latest bug fixes and improvements.
Thanks for your continued support! Send us a note if you have questions or feedback, or register for an upcoming demo to see these updates in action.
The Reclaim Team 👋
submitted by Tony_of_ReclaimAI to reclaim_ai [link] [comments]

2023.05.22 13:22 ACOUSTASONIC 2024 Crosstrek Sport vs 2023 CX-50?

I realize that the Crosstrek competes more directly with the CX-30, but I'm looking at the Crosstrek Sport vs CX50. A CX50 S without the sunroof package is priced comparably to the Crosstrek Sport S Select without the sunroof. To be clear, I'm looking at the non-turbo CX50 and I won't be considering one due to budget.
I'm not a car enthusiast but I appreciate a well engineered and well executed package. Performance oriented driving and blazing 0-60 times are not important to me, but I do prefer a fun-handling car over something that's more family oriented (our son is grown so it's just the wife and me). I'm also looking for utility, reasonable fuel economy, and some ability to go off pavement and through snow (upstate NY). Both of these cars seem to fit the bill.
Anyway, if anyone has considered these two, which one did you buy and why?
submitted by ACOUSTASONIC to whatcarshouldIbuy [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 14:59 staplehill I read the draft of the new German citizenship law so you don't have to

The federal government has agreed on a draft for the reform of the citizenship law. Here are all relevant reforms from the full text:
Citizenship for descendants: Nothing whatsoever changes for anyone who gets German citizenship by descent through any pathway (Feststellung, StAG 5, 116 GG, StAG 15, StAG 14).
Dual citizenship: Immigrants who get German citizenship can keep their previous citizenship(s) and Germans who get a foreign citizenship no longer lose German citizenship.
Faster citizenship: You can get German citizenship after 5 years with German level B1 or after 3 years if you speak German level C1 and "demonstrate special integration achievements, especially good academic, professional or vocational achievements or civic commitment".
What are "special integration achievements"?
For children of foreign parents: Children who are born to two foreign parents in Germany get German citizenship at birth if at least one parent has been in Germany for 5 years and has permanent residency.
For criminal racists: Naturalization is currently not possible for people who were convicted of a crime where they got a fine of more than 90x their daily income (Tagessätze), or a suspended prison sentence (Bewährung) of more than 90 days, or a prison sentence. The new law now also prohibits the naturalization of people who were convicted of a specified crime (§ 86, 86a, 102, 104, 111, 125, 126, 126a, 130, 140, 166, 185 bis 189, 192a, 223, 224, 240, 241, 303, 304, 306-306c StGB) but got a lower sentence if the public prosecutor's office recognized that the crime was committed "with anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or other inhumane motives".
For adoptees: A German child that is adopted by foreign parents and gets the citizenship of the adopted parents no longer loses German citizenship.
For the same price: Naturalization used to cost 500 DM in the 1990s, the price was converted fairly with the currency reform to 255 euro and has now remained unchanged for decades.
Ministers of all three parties who make up the coalition have agreed on the draft text of the law. The bill will now be introduced to parliament where it will first be debated in committee, there are usually only a few minor technical changes to the text. Then the bill will be voted on by the full house. The coalition has 37 more seats than required to pass the bill. Coalition discipline is good so far so the bill should pass with no problems. The bill does not affect the German states (Länder) and therefore does not need approval from the upper chamber (Bundesrat). So it could become law in maybe six months or maybe in one year, we will see.
submitted by staplehill to GermanCitizenship [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 14:53 staplehill I read the draft of the new German citizenship law so you don't have to

The federal government has agreed on a draft for the reform of the citizenship law. Here are all relevant reforms from the full text:
Dual citizenship: Immigrants who get German citizenship can keep their previous citizenship(s) and Germans who get a foreign citizenship no longer lose German citizenship.
Faster citizenship: You can get German citizenship after 5 years if you speak German level B1. You get it after 3 years if you speak German level C1 and "demonstrate special integration achievements, especially good academic, professional or vocational achievements or civic commitment".
What are "special integration achievements"?
For children of foreign parents: Children who are born to two foreign parents in Germany get German citizenship at birth if at least one parent has been in Germany for 5 years and has permanent residency.
For criminal racists: Naturalization is currently not possible for people who were convicted of a crime where they got a fine of more than 90x their daily income (Tagessätze), or a suspended prison sentence (Bewährung) of more than 90 days, or a prison sentence. The new law now also prohibits the naturalization of people who were convicted of a specified crime (§ 86, 86a, 102, 104, 111, 125, 126, 126a, 130, 140, 166, 185 bis 189, 192a, 223, 224, 240, 241, 303, 304, 306-306c StGB) but got a lower sentence if the public prosecutor's office recognized that the crime was committed "with anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic or other inhumane motives".
For adoptees: A German child that is adopted by foreign parents and gets the citizenship of the adopted parents no longer loses German citizenship.
For students: The time as a student counts fully towards the 3/5 years but you can not naturalize while you are on a student visa, you need to get a work visa first (unchanged from current law).
For spouses: If you naturalize as a German citizen then your spouse and minor children can get citizenship as well despite not being here for 3/5 years. If you are married to a German citizen then you get citizenship after 3 years in Germany and being married to a German citizen for 2 years (unchanged from current law).
For the same price: Naturalization used to cost 500 DM in the 1990s, the price was converted fairly with the currency reform to 255 euro. The price has remained unchanged for decades and will stay the same with this reform.
Ministers of all three parties who make up the coalition have agreed on the draft text of the law. The bill will now be introduced to parliament where it will first be debated in committee, there are usually only a few minor technical changes to the text. Then the bill will be voted on by the full house. The coalition has 37 more seats than required to pass the bill. Coalition discipline is good so far so the bill should pass with no problems. The bill does not affect the German states (Länder) and therefore does not need approval from the upper chamber (Bundesrat). So it could become law in maybe six months or maybe in one year, we will see.
submitted by staplehill to germany [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 13:03 FelicitySmoak_ On This Day In Michael Jackson HIStory - May 20th

On This Day In Michael Jackson HIStory - May 20th
1972 - "Rockin' Robin" enters the UK Top 50 Singles chart where it will peak at #3 during a fourteen week run.
1973 - The Jackson 5 had a two-show gig at Vets Memorial in Columbus, Ohio. Ticket prices were $6, $5, and $4.
The next day, The Dispatch published a review with glowing terms, including "undeniably funky." The story, Soul-Swinging Jackson Five Score in Two Shows, said the performances "turned out mostly J-5 patriots" who had waited nearly two years for the Motown rockers to return to Columbus. (Previous shows were at Vets Memorial on 1/30/71 & at the Ohio State Fair on 8/28/71)
The evening performance featured 18 songs, including Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious" & The Temptations' "Poppa Was a Rollin' Stone."
"Individually, Michael and Jermaine lead the vocal work," reported Jack Willey of The Dispatch staff, "with Michael's striking flexibility acting almost like a lead instrument for the band. Whether fronting his brothers ... or soloing ... his style is clear, precise and very much his own."
The opening band was a new soul group called the Commodores
1975 - On their Destiny Tour, The Jacksons play the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee
1997 - Michael Jackson's Blood On The Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix was released in the US
1997 - Michael Jackson's video HIStory On Film Volume 2 was released
2003 - Michael Jackson arrives in Indianapolis with his cousins Rijo, Simone, Elijah & Levon. He came to give a deposition in court following a lawsuit brought by Steeltown Records boss Gordon Keith. The lawsuit accuses the Jackson Five and others of infringing the trade name of Ripples and Waves, another Gary band from the 1960s, and two of their songs.
The time and place of the deposition are being kept secret, but some fans thought they knew where it would take place.Jackson's attorney has also asked to keep the transcript of the deposition sealed, bar media from the deposition room, and prohibit recording devices other than those utilized by the court reporter and videographer.
WISH-TV reported that a few dozen fans gathered outside the Canturbury Hotel, where Jackson had rented out the entire 12th floor, in downtown Indianapolis in hopes of catching a glimpse of him
Fans got their first closeup glance of him as he toured Circle Centre Mall
People who waited to meet Michael say he was nice and courteous. He signed several autographs and even at one point ended up in the middle of the crowd while trying to get out of the mall.
He's expected to spend most of tomorrow afternoon giving his deposition
But fans just wanted to know if his Indiana roots are still in tact.
"Michael, what's it like to be back in Indiana? What's it like to be back in Indiana?'
"It's the best! Best baby, yea."
2005 - Trial Day 57
Michael goes to court with Katherine & Randy.

Amidst speculation that the trial could wrap up as early as next week, Michael's former defense attorney resumed his testimony. Mark Geragos told jurors last week that he had ordered the surveillance of the Arvizo family because he “was concerned they were meeting with a lawyer to make some accusation or sell their story to tabloids.”
The lawyer also said he did not remember being told that the Arvizo family had returned to Jackson’'s Neverland Ranch in mid-February and said he was uneasy about that possibility because he "was concerned about a false story or a concocted one."
Geragos testified that he gave a “broad directive” to investigator Brad Miller to follow the family, instructing him to “find out who they're meeting with and what they're doing.” However, he said he did not specify the particular surveillance methods to be used.
Prosecutors have previously shown surveillance videos of the family to support their allegations that Jackson & his associates were attempting to hold the Arvizo family captive.
Prosecutor Ron Zonen tried to link Miller to the alleged kidnapping conspiracy. He asked Geragos if he was aware that an employee of Millers is alleged to have thrown rocks at the house of the accuser's grandmother.
Geragos responded, "“I don't send people out to throw stones at people's houses"
Prosecutors also questioned Geragos about the Arvizo family’s interview with the DCFS in February, 2003. In previous testimony the mother, Janet Arvizo, claimed that Miller & a man she knew as “Asef” had attended the interview. She said “Asef”, whom she believed was a part of Jackson’s security team, had asked her to secretly record the interview. She further claimed that “Asef” had threatened the safety of her parents should she not comply.
Geragos testified that he was aware the interview was taking place but said he did not direct Miller to attend or to secretly tape the interview. Importantly for the defense, he also said that Asef Vilchic in fact worked for Miller and not for Jackson.
Once again, exchanges between Zonen and Geragos were often heated. At one point, Judge Rodney Melville criticized the prosecution for approaching the witness stand too often without permission.
Geragos had refused to answer certain questions during his testimony last Friday due to a limited waiver of his attorney-client privilege. Judge Melville had been under the impression the waiver was complete, but in fact it only covered Geragos for events leading up to Jackson’s arrest.
Judge Melville said “I feel deceived by Mr. Mesereau and I am considering ... sanctions of some sort against Mr. Mesereau”. Mesereau had apologized for the confusion, explaining that he had not thought the period after the arrest would be relevant. Court observers expected the sanctions to include a fine.
The Judge said that he could have stricken Geragos’ testimony from the record but did not feel this was viable as the jury had already heard his testimony. However, he said he would entertain the prosecution's motion to strike the testimony from the record once completed.
Judge Melville also stated that a condition of his allowing Geragos to resume testimony was that whenever prosecutors asked him about events after November 2003, he was to tell the jury, "I refuse to answer that question based on attorney client privilege."
Zonen stated in court Friday that the defense may rest their case as early as next week.
"We're approaching the end of trial," he told Judge Melville. ”The defense has indicated they may be resting as early as next Tuesday."
Defense attorneys did not contradict the statement but did not comment on it.
Court Transcript
2006 - Michael meets with Prince Abdullah (Bahrain) for the last time and informs his host that he is travelling to London and Tokyo. Shortly after producer Bill Bottrell and drummer Brian Macleod arrives in Bahrain to work on new songs for Michael’s project
2009 - Michael goes to Dr Klein’s in Beverly Hills
2009 - Kenny Ortega and Randy Phillips announce in a press conference that the 4 opening O2 shows have been rescheduled from July 8 to July 13 due to production delays
2009 - In a letter signed by Michael, Leonard Rowe is prevented from working or speaking on his behalf. Frank Dileo is now Michael's one & only manager.
The letter was only publicized after Michael’s death. Leonard Rowe also claims (Like Tohme Tohme) that he never received such letter. The letter did have a Michael Jackson signature. By whom & when was this letter was actually signed is unknown. 
2013 - Jackson v AEG Trial Day 14
Katherine, Rebbie and Trent Jackson are at court.
LATimes reported that Jacksons offered a settlement.
Kevin Boyle , a lawyer for Katherine Jackson and Michael's kids , said they offered to settle the lawsuit against AEG, but that they never got an answer. Kevin Boyle said the family made the offers in January & March. Boyle would not provide details but said AEG's insurance would have paid, which means they could have settled the case without them paying a dime of their money. He said AEG has never offered to settle & they haven't apologized.
Marvin Putnam, an attorney for AEG, said it was inappropriate to discuss settlement discussions, "We don't settle matters that are utterly baseless. We believe that is the case in this matter. I can't see why we would consider a settlement as anything other than a shakedown"
CNN Reports there was a snack controversy during trial: AEG lawyers gave a bag of peppermint candy to the bailiff to hand out to the jury this week. Even Katherine Jackson enjoyed the treat but Jackson's lawyer raised an objection, suggesting jurors might be influenced if they realized the source of the sweets. A compromise was reached. Each side can provide snacks for jurors, but they'll be placed at the bailiff's desk before jurors enter court so they have no clue who brought it.
Shawn Trell Testimony
Jackson direct
AEG Live General Counsel, Shawn Trell, told jurors that he had forgotten that Kenny Ortega was working under a signed contract.
Trell said he met with his attorneys last night and reviewed one doc -- Kenny Ortega's contract. "He had a written contract," Trell said. "I remember the email dynamic. I'm not too proud to admit that I didn't recall the cover contract," Trell said he was changing his previous testimony to add that Ortega had a written contract, not only emails between him and AEG
Next topic was Insurance: Cancellation/Non-Appearance/Sickness. Trell said he started working on insurance for the tour in November of 2008. Panish showed several chains of emails where the parties talked about the insurance for the tour
Email from Bob Taylor insurance broker to Trell on 1/7/09:
Prior to speaking with carriers we ask the artist to attend medical with a doctor...A full medical with both blood/urine tests. The doctor also wants to review the medical records over the last 5 years to ensure full disclosure. Insurers require further medical examination to be carried out by their nominated doctor. They may restrict illness coverage or death from illness coverage until this examination has taken place
Email from 4/30/09 - Wooley to Trell :
"We have no coverage against Michael sickness unless and until he submits to another medical in London
Email from 5/28/09 - Trell to Taylor:
"We really need to get that medical done"
Email from 6/23/09 - Trell to Taylor :
"Any update on the availability of Term insurance?" (life insurance)
Trell said if they secured life insurance, they would get money if Michael died. "We would get the money owed to us, yes," Trell testified. Trell also said he continued discussions with an insurance broker about additional coverage to recoup AEG Live's investment if the tour had to be canceled.
Email from 6/24/09 -Taylor to Trell :
Insurers have refused to move on this. Huge amount of speculation in the media regarding artist's health. They feel if they're to consider providing illness to cover this particular artist, they must have very through medical report
Email from 6/25/09 - Gongaware to Taylor :
"If we don't get sickness coverage, we are dropping this policy"
Email from 6/25/09 - Taylor to Gongaware :
The consultation in London is critical. The doctor is holding the afternoon of the 6th July open at Harley St. But keep in mind the visit could take 2 hours plus
Next topic: Budget/Costs. Panish showed an email from AEG's Rick Webking to Michael's estate with 1st report of artist advances/expenses. This was a letter sent to the estate containing the expenses incurred, Trell said. "It seems to me we submitted this report for their review, I don't see any request for payment," Trell said.
Trell said he spoke with Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware about Michael's physical condition prior to coming to testify. "I had heard about rehearsals in which Mr. Jackson was fantastic," Trell said
Trell said he's aware of email from Ortega saying doctor was not allowing Michael to attend rehearsal on June 14, 2009. "I was aware of the doctor not allowing him to attend rehearsal," Trell said
Email from 6/17/09 from Phillips:
"...Ortega, Gongaware, Dileo, and his doctor Conrad from Vegas and I have an intervention with him to get him to focus and come to rehearsal"
Email from 6/17/09 from Gongaware to Phillip's assistant:
"We need a physical therapist and a nutritionist"
Email from Production Manager - Gongaware/Phillips on 6/19/09 :
"Paul/Randy I'm not bring a drama queen here. Kenny asked me to notify you both Michael was sent home without stepping foot on stage. He was a basket case and Kenny was concerned he would embarrass himself on stage, or worse yet, be hurt. The company is rehearsing right now, but the DOUBT is pervasive"
Email from Randy Phillips to Tim Leiweke on 6/19/09 :
"We have a huge problem here."
"I think he recognized there was a problem on the 19th," Trell said. "I would take it seriously, as I believe Mr. Phillips did." Trell agreed with a statement by plaintiff's attorney, Brian Panish, that company executives knew by then there was a "deep issue" with Jackson
Does Trell consider that exchange a "red flag" that AEG Live should have noticed, Panish asked. "I would take it seriously, as I believe Mr. Phillips did," Trell answered. "I don't know I would use the word 'red flag'
One of the emails shown to the jury was from Jackson estate co-executor John Branca, sent 5 days before Jackson's death & marked 'confidential':
"I have the right therapist/spiritual advisosubstance abuse counselor who could help (recently helped Mike Tyson get sober and paroled) Do we know whether there is a substance issue involved (perhaps better discussed on the phone)
The email was sent the same day that a meeting was held at Jackson's home with Murray. No further info given to jury.
Trell said Mr. Phillips never told him about this email
Email from Ortega to Randy Phillips on 6/20/09: (chain of emails)
"I honestly don't think he is ready for this based on his continued physical weakening and deepening emotional state"
Trell said he didn't see these emails. He said he spoke with Randy Phillips about Phillips' perception of Michael, in order to prepare for testifying, but not about specific emails. Trell has been designated as the most qualified person to speak on behalf of AEG
Email from Phillips to Gongaware on 6/20/09 at 1:52 am :
"Tim and I are going to see him tomorrow, however, I'm not sure what the problem is Chemical or Physiological?"
From Gongaware to Phillips, on 6/20/09 at 5:59 am :
"Take the doctor with you. Why wasn't he there last night?"
From Phillips to Gongaware, on 6/20/09 at 2:01 pm :
"He is not a psychiatrist so I'm not sure how effective he can be at this point obviously, getting him there is not the issue. It is much deeper"
Trell said Randy Phillips went to a handful of rehearsals, three at the Forum and two at Staples Center. The head of the marketing department attended rehearsal on June 23, 2009. "She was blown away by it," Trell testified.
He said he was unaware of issues with Jackson at rehearsals."I knew of no problems with Michael Jackson at all",Trell testified.
Trell said he never saw the emails from Phillips directing people to exclude images from This Is It of Michael looking "skeletal" while rehearsing. "What were his observations of Michael's physical condition during rehearsal," Trell said. "I asked for his (Phillips) personal opinion."
Next line of questioning is about human resources and background checks. Trell said they can be valuable and useful tools when hiring. Background check costs around $40 to $125. Trell said AEG Live could afford this fee. "We don't do background checks on independent contractors," Trell said. Trell said he was involved in the hiring by AEG Live for the This Is It tour. His department was responsible for retaining independent contractors. Trell said he is not familiar with background check process for hiring. "I am not familiar with the process of doing background checks," Trell said. "No training."

Panish: "There was no hiring criteria for the This Is It tour, correct?"
Trell: "Not to my knowledge"
Trell testified that when it comes to independent contractors, they have either worked with the artists, AEG or known in the industry. Trell agreed that no background check was done on anyone working on the This Is It tour. AEG Live General Counsel Shawn Trell told jurors that no legal or financial checks were done involving Conrad Murray or anyone else who worked as an independent contractor on the This Is It shows.
Depending on the nature of the position, a background could be done, Trell said, like for potential employees in the financial area. Trell said he thought a background check would be appropriate for people working in financial roles, but not tour personnel who weren't employees of AEG
As to independent contractors, Trell said there's no supervision and monitoring like there's for employees
Panish: "You don't do anything to check into background, supervise or protect the artist?"
Trell: "No, safety is a concern"
Trell said that AEG did not hire Murray, that the doctor was like many independent contractors, "When they leave the environment, what they do on their own time is their own business.
Trell testified he doesn't believe the artist is more at risk because AEG Live doesn't do background checks
"We did nothing to monitor Dr. Murray," Trell said. "We did not monitor whatever it was that he was doing, no."
"It called for Michael Jackson being able to terminate Dr. Murray at will," Trell said about the contract. "If the concerts didn't go forward, and he was terminated under this provision, Dr. Murray would not be paid going forward," Trell explained
As to Dr Murray being under dire financial straits, Trell said that he doesn't know if he agrees with it, everyone's perception is different
Trell: "I certainly wasn't aware of it at the time"
Panish: "Because you didn't check, right?"
Trell: "That's right"
"I don't think conflict of interests are a good thing, and we would want to prevent it," Trell said
Email from Kathy Jorie to Shawn Trell on 6/24/09 at 12:54 am:
Subject: Revised agreement with GCA Holdings/Dr. Murray
It had two attachments Attachments: Revised Michael Jackson -AEG GCA Holdings Murray Agreement 6-18-09 Final MJ -- AEG GCA Holdings Agreement (Dr. Murray) 6-23-09
Email chain from 6/23/09, 5:39pm from Jorrie to Wooley, Murray
Subject: RE: Michael Jackson - Revised Agreement with GCA Holdings/Dr. Murray Email:
I have redlined the Word version so that you can see all of the revisions. In addition, I've attached clean PDF version for execution" (The email says that if Dr. Murray approved it, he was to print it, sign and send it back to Jorrie)

Panish: "Did Ms. Jorrie call this contract a draft?"
Trell: "She called it a Final Version"
"Every document is a draft until it is executed," Trell said.
Panish showed emails exchanged among AEG executives that contained drafts of Murray's contract. Although Murray had signed a contract with the company, neither Jackson nor anyone from AEG had added their signatures. Trell testified that a copy of the contract had never been sent to Jackson
With Trell on the stand, Panish played part of an interview that AEG Live President Randy Phillips gave to Sky News television soon after Michael's death. "This guy was willing to leave his practice for a very large sum of money, so we hired him," Phillips said. Panish also showed jurors an e-mail between AEG lawyers suggesting that Phillips told other interviewers AEG Live "hired" Murray.
Panish: "Isn't it true that Randy Phillips made numerous comments that AEG Live hired Dr. Murray?" Trell: "I know he has made that statement"
Panish said AEG higher-ups became concerned after Phillips made such admission. Trell said he didn't know if that was true. Bruce Black is the General Counsel for parent company of AEG and AEG Live. Michael Roth is AEG's media relations
Email from Kathy Jorrie to Bruce Black and Michael Roth on 8/25/09: Subject: AEG Live president says AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray
Panish shows Trell a deposition, under oath, given by insurance broker Bob Taylor on another case. Trell said he has never seen or read it. Trell denied having a telephone conversation with Mr. Taylor where Trell asked him if a doctor's compensation was covered in the insurance.
Panish: "Does that refresh your recollection that AEG was employing Dr. Murray?"
Trell: "Mr. Taylor has this completely wrong"
After lunch break, Brian Panish asked if Shawn Trell wanted to change anything else in his testimony, to which he said "No"
Bruce Black, attorney for Anschutz, was present in the meeting with LAPD. Trell met with the police on 1/12/10. Trell told the police that day that Dr. Murray would receive $150,000 compensation per month. Trell also said that Dr. Murray requested and AEG would provide necessary medical equipment and a nurse. More than five months after Jackson's death, Trell said, he informed LAPD detectives that Murray initially requested $5 million to join the tour but eventually agreed to a salary of $150,000 a month for 10 months.
Panish: "As far as you know, all the agreements written for TII tour was done under AEG Live Productions, right?"
Trell: "Yes"
Panish: "Was Dr. Murray trying to help AEG get insurance?"
Trell: "The policy was in both names, so he was helping both parties"
Trell said Dennis Hawk, who represented Michael, was in touch with Taylor regarding the insurance

Panish: "As of June 2009, you don't even know whether Mr. Jackson had a personal manager working for him, right?"
Trell: "Well, my understanding at the time there were a couple of people acting in that capacity"
Email on 6/2/09 from Randy Phillips to Jeff Wald:
"Jeff, remember getting Michael to focus is not the easiest thing in the world and we still have no lawyer, business manager, or, even real manager in place. It is a nightmare!"
Trell said the only time he saw an artist's signature required to retain an independent contractor was for Dr. Murray. Trell said his understanding was that Dr. Murray worked for Michael for 3 years; didn't know how many times MJ saw Dr. Murray. "I've never spoken with Dr. Murray ever. And I met/spoke with Mr. Jackson once," Trell said.
"He was a significant expense," Trell testified about Dr. Murray. Trell said AEG Live didn't do anything to check Dr. Murray's competency as doctor, other than checking his physician license. Trell said AEG didn't do anything to determine Dr. Murray's financial conditions in 2009.
Jury was shown an email that Phillips sent to Kenny Ortega on night of June 20, 2009. It was email urging Ortega to stand down.
Email on 6/20/09 Phillips to Ortega :
Kenny it's critical that neither you, me, anyone around this show become amateur psychiatrist/physicians. I had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Murray, who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more. He said that Michael is not only physically equipped to perform & discouraging him to will hasten his decline instead of stopping it. Dr. Murray also reiterated that he is mentally able to and was speaking to me from the house where he had spent the morning with Michael. This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical
Panish asked Trell whether Phillips "characterization to Ortega, given no background check was done, was a lie". Trell responded that he didn't know what Phillips knew or was thinking when he wrote that email to Ortega. Trell also said he expected Randy Phillips to testify at some point during the trial, so he could address the email himself

Panish then asked Trell, "Sir, you never checked out one single thing about Dr. Murray -- you've already told me that, correct?"
"As of the date of the email, that would've been correct",Trell said.
When pressed by Panish, Trell said that Phillips' statement that Murray had been checked out, along with the executive's claim that the doctor 'does not need this gig' were inaccurate. "I don't know where Randy's understanding or impression comes from", Trell said. Trell testified that Phillips might have been "misinformed" or simply was stating his impression of the Las Vegas cardiologist
Panish: "But no one at AEG checked Dr. Murray to see if he was successful or not, isn't that true?"
Trell: "Yes"
Panish then asked several pointed questions about whether Shawn Trell agreed with Phillips telling Ortega they'd checked Murray out. One of Panish's questions was whether Trell thought Phillips' email was 'acceptable conduct'
Panish called Phillips' statement "a flat out lie" and asked Trell whether he agreed with it or if it signified how AEG did business. Trell said he didn't know what Phillips thought he knew when he wrote the message. "I know this statement is not accurate, but you'd have to speak with Mr. Phillips about what he thought or meant in saying it," Trell said.
Panish: "That's a flat out lie, isn't it sir?"
Trell: "I don't know what Mr. Phillips intended to say, this should be a question to him"

Panish: "You don't know if he was successful or facing bankruptcy, did you?"
Trell: "No"

Trell: "I know the statement is not accurate. You have to speak with Mr. Phillips about what he meant to say"
Panish: "Do you agree with the CEO of your company making untrue statements?"
Trell: "I don't know that he didn't know it wasn't true when he said it"
Trell said Phillips never told him that he checked Dr. Murray out. As to reference in Phillips' email about Dr. Murray being unbiased, ethical, not needing this gig, Trell said it was Phillips' impressions. He said AEG typically only runs background checks on candidates applying for full-time jobs with AEG, not independent contractors.

Panish: "Isn't it true AEG Live does not do background check on independent contractors?"
Trell: "That's true"
Trell said that no one from AEG interviewed Dr. Murray because he was an independent contractor.

"Did anyone from AEG ever at any time interview Dr. Murray", asked Brian Panish
"No", Trell replied.
Panish showed a document used by AEG entitled "Disclosure and Authorization to Conduct Background Check". Doc is used for employment, promotion, retention, contingent or the rate staffing, consulting, sub-contract work, or volunteer work. Panish asked if there was any reason why Dr. Murray was not given a background check. "He wasn't an employee, he wasn't applying for a full time position with the company," Trell explained. Trell said theoretically they could've asked to check Dr. Murray's background and credit.
AEG Cross
Jessica Bina began her examination by showing the letter submitted by AEG's CFO to the Estate of Michael Jackson for their review. She asked Shawn Trell about the estimate presented to Jackson's estate that included Murray's $300k fees. She asked why it was prepared. Shawn Trell said it was done at the request of the estate. He said Jackson's estate wanted to know state of tour finances when Jackson died. Trell said the report was requested by the Estate after a series of meetings after Michael's death. "The purpose of the meeting was to wind up the business affairs of the tour due to Michael's death", Trell said. "It was my understating in June Tohme was back in the picture in some capacity. I'm not sure which, Mr. DiLeo was in it too," Trell said

Bina: "Is there any request for payment?"
Trell: "No, there's no demand for payment, it's for review"
Stebbins Bina asked about the inclusion of Murray's fee in the document. Bina showed the report that was attached to the letter. Murray's fee on the document had a footnote. Trell read what that footnote said, and explained why estate wasn't asked for Murray's fee. Next to "Management Medical" there's a reference to footnote 3. Note 3: 'Contract is not signed by Michael Jackson and such signature was condition precedent to any payment obligation' - Footnote on Murray fee. Trell testified Webking, the CFO for AEG, did not ask Michael's Estate for payment of Dr. Murray's salary
"You testified you were somewhat confused (by the inclusion of the $300,000)?", Bina asked Trell as she projected the list, dated July 17, 2009, on a screen for jurors.
"Do you see there's something in parentheses?', Stebbins Bina asked, zooming in to blow up a footnote from AEG CFO Frederick Webking that stated Michael Jackson never signed Murray's contract, so its terms were not enforceable.
"Is Mr. Webking asking the estate to pay?", Stebbins Bina asked Trell. "No", he replied, explaining that upon reflection he believed Mr. Webking was just being 'thorough' by including the $300,000 as a budgeted cost.

"Did Mr. Webking make a mistake as you thought yesterday?",she asked.
"No, he did not", Trell answered
Second report made to the Estate on 9/18/09, there was no amount next to management medical. Stebbins Bina then showed a Sept. 2009 report of This Is It's finances to Michael Jackson's estate. Murray's fee is not listed in that document
Trell went through his job description with AEG. He said he has five lawyers in his department and has worked on thousands of agreements. Trell explained what PMK is -- Person Most Knowledgeable, identified by the company to testify on its behalf. Trell said he didn't know about all the topics he was designated, so he had to do some studying and interviews with people
As to Ortega's contract, Trell said he was aware of a string of emails being at least a part of the original agreement with Kenny. "When we were done here yesterday, I looked at Kenny Ortega's original agreement," Trell said. Trell noted he hadn't looked at Ortega's agreement since it was entered into in 2009. Before the afternoon break, Trell and jury were shown Kenny Ortega's tour agreement. It was signed in April 2009. The agreement was three pages of legalese, with several pages of emails attached that confirmed the terms. The first three pages included some paragraphs that described who owned the rights to This Is It content. A large number of emails are part of the agreement as exhibits. Trell said he recalled the emails exchange and admitted again not being proud of forgetting the cover contract portion. Bina showed Ortega's executed contract with everyone's signature on it. Trell said Kenny Ortega was paid after his contract was signed.
Trell, Phillips and Kathy Jorrie were involved in drafting and negotiating the contract with Michael Jackson. For MJ, Trell said Dr. Tohme Tohme and attorneys Dennis Hawk and Peter Lopez represented him. He said there were multiple drafts. "It's my understanding they were talking to, or at least receiving offers from, a competitive of ours, Live Nation," Trell said. Trell also said that before signing an agreement with AEG, Jackson had been considering a tour offer from its main competitor, Live Nation.
Bina showed the jury the final tour agreement. Trell said he went to MJ's home at Carolwood to sign it. Upon arrival, Trell said Mr. Jackson got up from where he was seated, and said 'Hi, welcome, I'm Michael." Trell said it was pretty funny, since he was a very distinct person. Trell said they shook hands, he had a good firm handshake and his voice was not what people think
"He popped up, came over, introduced himself, was very cordial, there was a real positive energy, good vibe in the room," Trell said. "He seemed genuinely enthused," Trell added. "He had the contract in front of him, said he read every page, seemed very enthused." Trell said they all signed it and Mr. Jackson was really keen on the 3-D stuff, that he was already down the road in his mind. "I was probably there just a little less than an hour. And that was the only time I met him," Trell recalled.
Bina discussed the contract for the tour agreement:
A first class performance by Artist at each show on each of the approved itineraries. Contract: Artist shall perform no less than 80 minutes at each show, and the maximum show length for each show shall be 3.5 hours. Artist shall approve a sufficient number of shows on itineraries proposed by promoter or producer as to recoup the advances made. Trell said compensation was agreed on 90-10 split. Artist received 90% of what's defined contingent compensation.
Trell explained to jury how concerts get paid for. One scenario is artist pays for production up front. A second scenario is that the promoter gives artist an advance, and then they use the money to put together the show. The third option, Trell said, is the artist pays someone like AEG Live to produce and promote the show, with costs to come out of their pay. Trell called the second and third option like an interest-free loan. In Jackson's case, AEG agreed to a 90/10 split of show's proceeds. Jackson would have received the 90 percent portion, Trell said. Jackson was also on the hook for a 5% production fee
AEG Live was promoter & producer. "We advanced the money necessary to mount the tour," Trell explained. "It's interest free money". Trell testified that Jackson's advance, which covered his $100,000-a-month rent on his mansion and a $3-million payment to settle a lawsuit that would free up his performance rights, was considered a loan to be paid back to AEG.
Part of the advance was to pay off the settlement agreement of $3 million in London court. The underlying dispute was that a company owned the rights for Jackson's live performance. "The rights needed to be freed up," Trell said. The advances were to be paid back to AEG Live before the split of revenue. Production Advances were capped to $7.5 million. Contract:
Artist was responsible for all the production costs in excess of the cap and had to reimburse promoter.
"Michael Jackson was known to have very elaborate productions," Trell said. "Production values can get significant, for lack of a better word, it really depends on how many bells and whistles they want," Trell said. Trell said AEG would not advance money without the artist requesting it.
Trell said it's not only typical and customary, but standard and artist needs to secure either non-appearance or cancellation insurance. Their interest in the policy, Trell said, was to cover the advances and production costs incurred with the production of the show. "If the were no obligations to AEG, the payout would go back to the artist", Trell explained, "It just recoups our loan made to the artist."
Trell was also asked about elements of tour insurance policies and an agreement with former manager Tohme Tohme. Jackson's contract called for him to represent to AEG that he didn't have any health conditions that would keep him from performing.
Artistco hereby represents and warrants that artist does not possess any known health conditions, injuries or ailments that would reasonable be expected to interfere with Artist's first class performance at each of the shows during the term
Oh Tohme's $100k per month agreement, Trell was shown a January contract that Jackson signed to pay that amount. However, Trell said Tohme's agreement was predicated on Jackson getting tour cancellation insurance by a certain date. Deadline passed and by that point Tohme was no longer Jackson's manager, so he wasn't entitled to be paid his monthly fee.
January 24, 2009 -- agreement entered with Dr. Tohme Tohme. Trell said Michael was involved and signed this agreement. "This agreement was entered into January 26, Trell testified. "There are conditions that needed to be met before any payment could be made." One of the the conditions was placement of non-appearance insurance, Trell said. That placement was done in late April, early May. In May, AEG received letter from MJ saying Tohme didn't rep him anymore. "No payments were ever made under this agreement," Trell explained.
Julie Hollander Transcript
Shawn Trell Transcript
submitted by FelicitySmoak_ to MichaelJackson [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 09:15 ThePeLiCaN417 Toyota 86/GR86 as a first car

17 year old in the Nueva Ecija area who constantly travels to Manila. I have a decent driving history, started driving around ages 14-15 under supervision on private roads and got my license last year just after my birthday with no setbacks. I have experience driving friends’ cars, namely a Mazda 6, Mirage G4s, Honda Brio and Civics, and a Mitsubishi Montero. I am currently daily driving a 2019 3rdGen facelift Toyota Vios passed down to me, on which I do light maintenance on with fluids and usual engine checks. When it comes to more deep or comprehensive things, I often come to local garages owned by a few friends and some acquaintances, and I pick up a lot of learning on my own through experience. Due to me graduating 12th grade in a few weeks and my birthday right after, my parents have asked me if any cars have picked up my interest, which is their way of saying they want me to get a car of my own. The GT86 twins have always had my fancy throughout my early teenage years, and with that, I wanted to ask if a second hand 86, or a brand new GR86 would be an okay first-owned car for me? Maintenance and upkeep would be a learning curve, and I am not necessarily into modifying it as much as the next person, as I intend on daily-ing it for my college commutes. Would a college student like me be suitable for the 86s? I do not need the auxiliary benefits of have storage and seating capacities of pick-ups or crossovers, and what little things I do daily are doable with just the little coupes that the 86s are.
submitted by ThePeLiCaN417 to Gulong [link] [comments]

2023.05.20 04:14 suk_doctor I have always had an interest in politics and technology. I spent the day conceptualizing a US political party with Chat GPT based on my interests and ideas. Here's what I produced.

The UNITE Party
In the following text, we'll introduce the UNITE Party, a political concept seeking to rejuvenate the American political landscape. We'll discuss how this innovative entity plans to work alongside existing parties, break traditional boundaries, and foster cooperation.
The text will explore proposed constitutional amendments addressing crucial issues like digital privacy, environmental conservation, and workers' rights. We'll also shed light on the party's approach to governance, which is rooted in respect for diversity, pragmatism, and reasonability.
Additionally, we'll outline the party's mission to promote sustainable prosperity, social equity, and human dignity, while introducing VOICE (Voter Operated Interface for Civic Empowerment) as a tool to empower citizens and revolutionize the democratic process.
Introduction: The Necessity of a Third Major Party
As we navigate the vibrant, multifaceted American political ecosystem, it becomes increasingly clear that the longstanding two-party system, marked by Democrats and Republicans, often results in a stifling impasse that hinders the nation's progress. While existing third-party options bring unique perspectives and valuable contributions, they frequently grapple with limited influence in the face of this deeply ingrained duopoly.
In response to this predicament, we introduce The UNITE Party. Our vision is not one of competition or exclusion, but rather of coexistence and cooperation. We seek to harmonize the strengths of the two major parties, acknowledging the value of their contributions, while also transcending the ideological constraints that often impede progress. In parallel, we aim to augment the voice of smaller parties, fostering an inclusive and dynamic political discourse.
We aspire to help guide America beyond the dichotomy of a two-party system. The UNITE Party is committed to working in tandem with both major and minor parties, creating a rich tapestry of ideas. Yet, we are not content to follow the existing patterns of political discourse; we are here to lead, to introduce a fresh narrative that emphasizes unity, inclusivity, and forward-thinking action.
We believe that by joining hands with the different political forces in the country, we can inspire a new era of cooperation and progress. Our goal is not to dilute the voices of the existing parties, but to amplify them within a framework that encourages unity over division, dialogue over deadlock, and innovation over stagnation. By doing so, we intend to breathe new life into our democracy, facilitating an environment where all parties work together for the betterment of America.
Body: The Ideals and Principles of the UNITE Party
The UNITE Party, symbolizing Unity, Natural-Resource Management, Innovation, Technology, and Empathy, champions a broad-minded, empathetic, and innovative approach to governance. Our principles are rooted in the belief that unity in diversity is our strength, advocating respect for all races, religions, creeds, and backgrounds without preference or prejudice.
We strive for sustainable resource management, championing environmental policies that preserve and enhance our natural resources for present and future generations. Simultaneously, our commitment to innovation and technology regulation is rooted in pragmatism and reasonability, with an emphasis on developing adaptive policies that harness the potential of technological advances while mitigating their risks.
At the core of our mission is a deep-seated reverence for human dignity, fueling our pursuit of policies that promote social equity and humane treatment for all, irrespective of their identity or status. In this pursuit, we remain committed to the principles of fairness and equality, ensuring that the voices and needs of all citizens are recognized and respected.
Through these commitments, the UNITE Party aspires to create a society where sustainable prosperity, social equity, and human dignity are not merely aspirational ideals but realized outcomes. We aim to construct a political landscape marked by reason, pragmatism, and empathetic understanding, where diversity is celebrated, and every citizen has an equitable chance to thrive.
Our Differences, Our Strengths: How UNITE Stands Apart
The UNITE Party is distinct from both Democrats and Republicans as it seeks to draw upon the best of both while dismissing their more destructive, divisive aspects.
From the Democrats, we embrace the empathetic pursuit of social justice, equality, and climate responsibility. From the Republicans, we adopt the importance of individual freedoms, limited bureaucracy, and the fostering of entrepreneurship and free markets. However, we decidedly part from the Democrats' tendency towards over-regulation and from the Republicans' reluctance to address economic inequality and climate change.
What does the UNITE Party offer? A balanced, innovative, and empathetic approach to governance. We're not merely a blend of two parties but a new path forward that seeks sustainable prosperity, social equity, and human dignity. We aim to marry personal freedom with social responsibility, economic growth with environmental stewardship, and innovative dynamism with ethical foresight.
Proposed Amendments
To manifest our commitment to these principles, we propose new amendments to the Constitution: The Digital Bill of Rights, Right to a Healthy Environment, Campaign Finance Reform, Artificial Intelligence Regulation, Equal Access to Quality Education, Bodily Autonomy Rights, Reasonable Firearm Regulation, Supreme Court Reform and Judicial Ethics, Ethics Reform for Federal Offices, Workers' Bill of Rights. These amendments encapsulate our commitment to digital privacy, environmental sustainability, democratic fairness, technological ethics, and educational equity.
Getting Started: Proposed Amendments
To lay the groundwork for a more equitable, sustainable, and technologically advanced society, we propose ten new amendments to the Constitution:
  • Amendment XXVIII (Digital Bill of Rights): This amendment would assure every citizen's right to control their personal data, protect their digital freedom of speech, and guard against unwarranted surveillance.
  • Amendment XXIX (Right to a Healthy Environment): This amendment would acknowledge a constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment, obligating the government to protect the environment for present and future generations.
  • Amendment XXX (Campaign Finance Reform): This amendment aims to limit the influence of money in politics by setting measures such as capping campaign contributions and increasing transparency in political spending.
  • Amendment XXXI (Artificial Intelligence Regulation): This amendment would set a framework for the regulation of AI and other emerging technologies, establishing the rights of individuals in relation to AI systems.
  • Amendment XXXII (Equal Access to Quality Education): This amendment would recognize the right of every child to receive a quality education, no matter where they live, requiring the government to ensure equitable funding across districts and high standards for all students.
  • Amendment XXXIII (Bodily Autonomy Rights): Citizens over the age of 18 have an inviolable right to make decisions concerning their bodily autonomy, health, and reproduction, subject to public safety and ethical constraints. For those under 18, these decisions rest with parents or legal guardians, respecting the best interests of the child.
  • Amendment XXXIV (Reasonable Firearm Regulation): The people's right to bear Arms is preserved. However, to ensure public safety, the United States and States may enact regulations regarding the manufacture, sale, possession, and use of firearms. These regulations shall not permit the seizure of firearms from law-abiding citizens in a manner infringing on this right.
  • Amendment XXXV (Supreme Court Reform and Judicial Ethics): Supreme Court Justices serve ten-year terms. The number of Justices may be expanded by a two-thirds congressional vote, reflecting the population size and diversity of the United States.
  • Amendment XXXVI (Ethics Reform for Federal Offices): Laws will be enacted to prevent corruption, bribery, and political activism in Federal Offices. These measures include the creation of an independent ethics oversight committee and more rigorous transparency requirements.
  • Amendment XXXVII (Workers' Bill of Rights): Workers hold the right to a safe work environment, fair compensation, union formation, and strikes. While Unions and Worker Rights are protected, safeguards will be established to ensure unions remain accountable, transparent
Proposed Laws based on these Proposed Amendments
  • Natural Resource Management Act: Financed through a levy on companies benefiting from natural resources. AI ensures politician's decisions align with the community's interests, not just resource-intensive industries.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Digital Media Act: Resourced by a tax on major tech firms. AI plays a pivotal role in guaranteeing the community's needs supersede private interests in policy creation.
  • Comprehensive Poverty Alleviation Act: Sustained via tax restructuring and efficiency gains in social programs. AI helps pinpoint the most potent poverty mitigation approaches, mandating fact-based policy choices.
  • Sustainable Wealth Act: Funded by an environmental levy and a transition to resource-centric economics. AI evaluates eco-impacts, keeping policymakers on track with sustainable and socially beneficial decisions.
  • Bodily Autonomy Protection Act: Supported by public funds and health allotments. AI scrutinizes health data and effects of policy choices, ensuring transparency in decisions that impact public well-being.
  • Firearm Safety and Regulation Act: Backed by a surcharge on firearm commerce and savings from lessened violence. AI evaluates firearm policy impacts, encouraging informed decisions in the community's favor.
  • Judicial Ethics and Reform Act: Financed by federal budget and operational improvements. AI observes judicial conduct, reducing potential for corruption and bias in our courts.
  • Workers' Rights and Union Accountability Act: Supported by business taxes and improved workplace safety. AI supervises labor compliance, ensuring the welfare of workers and limiting undue influence from powerful unions.
  • Automation and Employment Transition Act: Funded by a tax on automation and increased output. AI keeps tabs on job trends and automation effects, guiding decisions that prioritize citizens' interests over those of influential donors.
Making UNITE a Reality: Steps to Establish the New Party
(Personal Note: I personally feel this section to be pretty weak. I tried several prompts to get something stronger here but ultimately this is the best output I received, which I find to be very intriguing).
To establish the UNITE Party as a significant player, we shall:
  • Build Our Base: Reach out to Americans across the political spectrum who share our principles and desire a fresh political alternative. Our base will include those disillusioned with the current partisan divide and those who believe in the possibility of a more united future.
  • Fundraise: Seek the financial support of ordinary Americans and ethical businesses, steadfastly refusing dark money and contributions that compromise our principles.
  • Recruit Candidates: Identify and support potential political candidates who embody our principles at all levels, from local school boards to state legislatures to the Congress and the Presidency.
  • Campaign on Our Principles: Actively engage in public discourse, sharing our vision for a more unified, sustainable, and equitable America, and demonstrate how our proposed Constitutional Amendments contribute to this vision.
Proposing VOICE (Voter Operated Interface for Civic Empowerment)
The UNITE Party's vision is to foster a political system that seamlessly combines efficiency, empathy, and equity. At the heart of this vision is a profound respect for the voice of the citizenry - an unwavering belief that the people's will should guide the country's course. The Voter Operated Interface for Civic Empowerment, or VOICE, is a manifestation of this belief. By proposing the creation of VOICE, the UNITE Party aims to create a technology-based, direct democratic platform where every citizen can engage with the legislative process. This enhances transparency, broadens participation, and empowers citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable.
VOICE is a secure, government-operated platform where citizens can directly engage with the legislative process, ensuring that technology complements human-led decision-making and placing paramount importance on user privacy. Every citizen would have access to VOICE via a secure app or website, each user having a unique identity secured and encrypted through a stringent verification process, potentially using biometrics. Blockchain technology would provide a decentralized, immutable record of votes, while protecting user data from misuse.
Legislative proposals and votes would be presented in an understandable format, with AI helping to generate impartial summaries and potential impact analyses. Although VOICE would provide a conduit for citizens to voice their opinions, the final decisions would remain in the hands of elected politicians, upholding the principle of representative democracy. After voting concludes, AI could analyze the vast pool of votes to discern trends or key demographic insights. This AI analysis can also track politicians' voting records and public declarations, comparing them against the data from VOICE to promote accountability.
VOICE embodies the UNITE Party's commitment to create a more accountable and responsive political process. By maintaining privacy and emphasizing human decision-making, this platform could serve as an effective tool to connect citizens and legislators, fostering a more transparent and engaged democracy.
How VOICE Would Work
The Voter Operated Interface for Civic Empowerment (VOICE) is conceptualized as a secure, government-operated platform where citizens can actively participate in the legislative process. This proposal assures that VOICE serves as a supplementary and informative tool to the human-led legislative process, while maintaining a stringent focus on user privacy.
Platform Access and Security
VOICE would be accessible to every citizen via a secure app or website, each user having a unique identity secured and encrypted through a rigorous verification process, potentially using biometrics. Blockchain technology would provide the backbone for this secure identity system, offering a decentralized, immutable record of votes. Although government-operated, the cryptographic nature of blockchain technology would keep user data private and encrypted, thwarting any attempts by the government or any entity to exploit this data for surveillance or political retaliation.
Legislative Proposals and Voting
Laws and policy proposals would be presented in an understandable format, with AI aiding in the generation of unbiased summaries and potential impact analyses. Citizens would have the opportunity to engage with these proposals, ask questions, and vote on them. Emphasizing that VOICE isn't designed to make legislative decisions autonomously, it aims to offer citizens a platform to voice their opinions while leaving the final decisions to elected human politicians. VOICE's goal is to provide a path for direct democratic engagement and to furnish politicians with a clearer picture of public sentiment.
AI-Powered Analysis and Accountability
Upon the conclusion of voting, AI would analyze the extensive pool of votes to discern trends or key demographic insights, endowing politicians with a deeper understanding of public sentiment. The AI analysis can also track politicians' voting records and public declarations, comparing them against the data from VOICE, promoting accountability to act in the citizens' interest.
Continuous Improvement
AI would contribute to the continuous improvement of VOICE, suggesting enhancements based on user feedback, predicting future voting trends, and ensuring the system remains user-friendly and effective. The data utilized for such improvements would always remain anonymous to maintain user privacy.
Thus, VOICE harnesses the potential of blockchain and AI to fortify a more accountable democracy. By preserving privacy and underscoring human decision-making, the platform could serve as an effective tool to connect citizens and legislators, fostering a more transparent and responsive political process.
Conclusion: A Unified Voice for Progress
The UNITE Party envisions a renewed political landscape, a departure from rigid partisan divisions, and an embrace of unity, progress, and empathy. This vision underpins our party, but it is a vision that needs all of us to make it a reality.
Through our platform, we present the Voter Operated Interface for Civic Empowerment (VOICE), a tool designed to engage every citizen in the legislative process, fostering transparency, accountability, and a direct democracy reflective of our modern era. Our proposed constitutional amendments aim to create a more equitable society, reinforcing individual autonomy, a fair balance of power, ethical standards, and economic rights for all.
Our proposed laws, built on these amendments, strive to manifest this equality and fairness in everyday life. These are founded on robust funding strategies, drawing from innovative solutions like the wise allocation of resources, the increased productivity brought by automation, and a taxation system that supports all, with Universal Basic Income as a transitional measure. In doing so, UNITE emphasizes a commitment to a future where technology and human ingenuity work together for the benefit of all. Our principles reject division, promote unity, and reassert the value of each individual voice in our democracy.
We invite Americans of all political backgrounds to join us in this critical endeavor. Together, under the banner of unity, prosperity, and progress, let us create a future that truly represents us all. Let us make our voice, the VOICE, be heard. Let us UNITE.
submitted by suk_doctor to ChatGPT [link] [comments]

2023.05.19 21:41 OfficialDCShepard [SF]

"Batman, we need to talk," Superman said darkly, his eyes glowering red with heat vision ready to burst as his feet punched a hole through the hood and engine of the Batmobile in the landing.
"Another temper tantrum, Clark? You're paying for this round of repairs," Batman huffed nonchalantly, too concentrated on the Batcomputer to look at his Kryptonian friend that he'd just bought some upgrades to the Watchtower. It wasn't really about the money when he was one of the richest men on Earth; but this repair bill to the literal tank he drove nightly would ultimately be too much for a reporter's salary, so Bruce would be giving the world's strongest man and his supposed best friend an interest-free loan.
"Your little playmate went too far this time, Bruce."
"So, you found him," Batman sighed, a bit annoyed at Clark using his fake name. The real mask he wore. "I admit it...I couldn't."
He hated himself for it as he slammed his fist down on the console. Batman was supposed to be the World's Greatest Detective, and when the Bat-Signal lit up the night that meant he should never fail, especially not at this. Once the Riddler went first, getting to Central City under Batman's nose and permanently paralyzing the Flash with speed-tracking shock drones, that had to be the end of it, and that's when he built the Containment Wall around Gotham. A series of virtual defenses such as electric turrets; automated bat-drones weaving between skyscrapers; zero-point energy batteries to destroy alien ships or hypersonic nukes; Batplanes patrolling the skies; Batsubs scanning the harbor with ground-penetrating sonar; and Batmobiles on set patrol routes prepared to blast hostiles off the streets with air cannons.
The nukes worried Batman the most. They had been proliferating by the thousands, ostensibly as humanity's last line of defense should the League fail in an invasion of Earth but could destroy cities in seconds and moved so fast that even Superman couldn't stop them mid-flight. As NATO and the Eurasian Pact increasingly barreled towards a war on several fronts, it was likely they'd use them, but the Justice League was legally prohibited by their UN grant from intervening, even if it meant the end of the world. Things were delicate already, but if any non-state actors got their hands on them...
All of this, of course, was programmed solely by him and automated by the Batcomputer. He trusted no one else with such a dangerous machine. It did its job by giving Batman a bit of breathing room. It allowed Jim and the GCPD to re-focus on everyday law enforcement instead of as many villain disruptions, as well as much-needed firings of easily bribed officers who had grown lazy relying on Batman covering their asses while they gave themselves lavish pay raises; a Wayne Foundation-funded overhaul of Arkham Asylum to better focus on mental health treatment instead of mainly being a supervillain supermax; and community outreach by him and others in the Bat-Family to try to lessen the population of thugs for the villains' armies by easing tensions through conversations instead of just punching them forever.
It also allowed Bruce Wayne to work with Vice President Amanda Waller to publicly fend off then-President Luthor's plan to occupy Gotham using the National Guard and kryptonite-powered Lexcorp robots that he'd turn into his own personal police, or Mayor Sharp's even more unbelievable plan to borrow $50 billion from various investors in Gotham and Metropolis turning the poor, mostly Black and brown half of the city into a fascistic prison state called Arkham City. What a mistake that would've been. It seemed, however, that Batman's seemingly endless rogues gallery was getting bored of playing with him as a result, and increasingly trying to punch above their weight.
Even Batman didn't know how he kept up sometimes when the Justice League fought literal planet-destroying armies, and often felt inadequate as a result despite no one questioning his leadership of the team, even when they'd had to deal with the contentious question of Captain Marvel's age, and Wonder Woman often sticking up for his point of view despite him rejecting her romantically. However, he worried that the Justice League, overconfident in their abilities, would be woefully unprepared for Gotham's evil should its contagion ever spread outside its dingy corner. Especially if any of them found his contingency plans.
"The Joker finally escaped containment. I don't know how he did it. That's on me. But you should never have threatened to kill him. Life gave you a test, and you failed it."
"Don't test me! You have a code. I don't," Superman snapped. "But no one's tried to push me this far or take this much from me. Hell, even Lex has standards." Mostly just working within the US political system, rather than launching a coup after being ousted from power. "That insane psycho tried to blow up The Daily Planet! With no other demands than meeting me! He used loudspeakers of all things hidden in the key to the Fortress to make me freeze with sound reverberating through it, and I barely managed to destroy his trap and get there in time. Jimmy...oh God, Bruce, Lois!"
Batman remembered why he'd become friends with a god in the first place; because it didn't occur to him, and even the Man of Steel could feel pain like a human. With a smile, a rarity for his dour countenance, he figured out how to defuse his best friend's hurt and said wryly, "She's pregnant. Congratulations."
"How did you...?"
"I talked to Perry at a mixer. I bought the company you work for, remember? Saved it from an impossible insurance bill and guaranteed its operation for the next century."
Superman rolled his eyes a bit at how pedantic Bruce could be. But then he relaxed when Batman said, "He told me you're both taking parental leave. Well deserved, after you gave Darkseid an all-expenses paid vacation to the Phantom Zone, and her expose of Ace Chemicals got President Luthor impeached. And, of course, the League will grant you leave as well. If anyone deserve a break, it's Superman."
"Thank you, and she'll appreciate that you read it," Clark Kent said, finally feeling a little bit more centered. After all, the Joker had surrendered and even if he was going to escape Arkham again, at least he hadn't hurt anyone. "If it's a boy, we're naming him Jonathan."
"A fine name for someone who I'm sure will be an upstanding man, raised by a wonderful father," Batman said, hoping to appeal to the fact that Clark had grown so much and would be fine even without the Kents to guide him. "And may I suggest a girl's name?" he added.
"Yes?" Superman asked while perking his super hearing.
"Martha. Though you probably were going to name her after your mother anyway."
Knowing that it would mean a lot to his best friend too, Clark beamed, "I'll only take that to Lois if you agree to be their godfather. But you know how she is, she'll veto it if she has a better name in mind." He hoped that would cheer Batman's conscience, knowing he still went to church sometimes and would appreciate the import of the role even though he was supremely skeptical.
"I don't deserve it," Batman sighed, head in his armored hands, rubbing his hands against the titanium and fabric hard. "I tried, Clark, I really did this time. If I'd known what this meant to you, and if you'd just called to tell me that he was in Metropolis, then I wouldn't have wasted time searching everywhere from the airship docks to Arkham Asylum for him."
"That must be hard."
"Don't tell me what's hard!" Batman roared and slammed his fist, his sudden anguish echoing off the cave walls and making the Kryptonian feel like he was on an alien planet as a swarm of bats flew over him, causing his still-sensitive ears to throb.
"I have twenty-five billion villains big and small to keep track of every week in Gotham, not to mention the League of Assassins and the Court of Owls, so they all picked today to fight their stupid little gang wars and get a piece of me while I was distracted. Then Selina got all up in my face about not proposing yet at the worst time possible. Barbara and Dick had a moronic fight about patrol shifts and they both called me on their expensive-ass bat phones to whine about it in separate hotel rooms they put on my card instead of talking to each other like adults. While looking for the Joker in Wayne Tower worried sick that he was holding Tim hostage, I caught him in his room with that alien girl who's a bad influence again, and I was so stressed I had to get to the Batcave and yell for five minutes straight just to not go insane. I almost said fuck it all and visited Harley and Poison for...well, I don't need to elaborate."
He and Selina had an understanding, and Batman was focused on being embarrassed to admit his strange love/hate relationship with the surprisingly supportive bisexual ladies.
That blunt way he said "alien" like that, though, stung Superman right in his Kryptonian symbol for hope. "Her name's Starfire, and you wouldn't say that about Raven and Beast Boy. Besides, you're being a real jerk to me when I nearly lost everything that has ever given me ground beneath my feet. Lois and this baby are my reason for being, you understand."
It wasn't a question; he knew Bruce did. And so, Batman remained silent.
"So why do you keep throwing assholes like the Joker, or the Penguin, or Two-Face, or the Scarecrow, or whatever weird-named wackos in Arkham, when they've killed thousands of people and you know they'll escape? When the Joker paralyzed Barbara, tormented Jim, killed Jas-"
"Never say his name again," Batman growled as he rose to his feet.
"Sorry. I'm just angry still," Superman saying. "If they've hurt the people you love, why not just deal with them for the last time?"
It was then Clark remembered why he had trusted Batman with kryptonite to stop him. While on vacation on the Red Planet together, Martian Manhunter confided that Batman had once told him, after he was blocked from reading the great detective's mind by a technique taught to him by Tibetan monks that, "I have a $70 million sliver of rock for the Kryptonian. All it would take for you is a dollar book of matches."
The reason, J'onn said to Clark casually in a way that chilled him to the bone, that Batman wasn't an unstoppable killing machine, and a League-level threat was because he would never consider it. Yet if he ever did go through with it, he had a truly frightening intellect and capacity for vengeance. Like that one time him and Superman accidentally traded power levels for a day and Batman nearly killed the entire League before Zatanna switched their souls back.
"I won’t. Ever. Even though I know what it's like to lose, more than you can ever know!" Batman raged.
"Yeah, yeah, your parents. You've told me a million times," Superman sighed, crossing his massive biceps as he leaned back on the car.
"Not just that," Bruce said, his brow downcast. "Have a seat. And listen."
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2023.05.19 21:38 TeoVelici June 1st Throwback set

Who else is going? I am also going to the trilogy 😍
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2023.05.19 00:32 Madisonmcg1 Bill graham throwback set confirmed for Thursday!

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2023.05.18 18:44 xTrendy_D Pregnancy regrets in 3rd trimester. Will I ever be good enough?

I am 33w and 4 days pregnant my pregnancy has been depressing since day 1. I’ve had no support, no love, no bond, no nothing with anybody. I’ve been constantly in a financial strain trying to make sure all my bills are taken care of while still saving for my son. Ive worked 2 jobs majority of my pregnancy , I’ve done side gigs like doordash & instacart almost daily, I’ve sold my personal items and it’s STILL not enough. My son’s father has been relentlessly ridiculing me after not even talking to me for 5 months of the pregnancy. He moved over 9 hours away & changed his number to be with her other sons while never even asking to see if my baby was still alive or not. He went from changing his number on me to now harassing me telling me how bad of a mother I am & he’ll take my baby from me. He says because he’s 10 years older and more financially stable I’ll have no choice but to give up my baby 💔 I drove myself to hospital on Tuesday after passing out at work my blood pressure was about 179/110 I’ll be seeing a high risk OB starting next Thursday and will likely be delivering at 37 weeks all alone. it’s so hard waking up everyday feeling like nobody loves you especially in a time like this. My own mother put my sons stuff outside in RAIN because I was late on giving her the whole 300$ a month for rent. I explained to her 4 weeks in advance I’ll need a little extra time in May because I’ll have to pay $235 for my sons circumcision & had to buy a new alternator for my car my only reliable way to make money and support my son & myself. I also bought a car seat what was on sale it was 40% off too good of a price to pass up especially when it’s an essential my baby needs! I gave her my last 178.67$ in my account on Sunday and told her first thing Thursday I’ll give her the rest when my direct deposit hits. I pull in my yard yesterday she left my sons playpen full of his clothes, bottles, and 2 big boxes of diapers just sitting out in the rain. My heart is shattered. I’ve been paying my mom rent since I was 19 & I’ve never been late on it I was homeless for a short period of time when she put my out I take my living expenses very serious. It’s like no matter how far I get or how much I try it’s never enough. What did I do so bad in my life to have people who suppose to support me the most during this challenging time treat me like this?? I never asked my sons dad or my mom a dollar! I can admit I’ve went around major of my teenage& adult life looking for love in all the wrong places because I never got it growing up. After my grandmother passed away I never felt like anybody truly loved or cared for me, at least not in the way I see other people have it. I sit in room with nothing but his playpen & clothes & diapers because i sacrificed & sold EVERYTHING I had to make sure he has what he needs. He’s the only person in life who’s ever gonna love me. Only person I can guarantee won’t leave me. He’s the only reason i still wake up. Only thing I look forward to is feeling his little kicks and roll every day. I cry every single day at the thought of a man who abandoned me at 21 and left me pregnant just swooping in taking my child from me. Nobody hears me or understands my pain or my hurt. I never got the belly rubs or the feet & back rubs everybody talks about. I’ve never had someone cook for me or bring me something i craved. I never had anybody accompany me to my doctor appointments or just simply ask how the appointment went. The thought of throwing me a baby shower never even crossed anybody mind because I quote “but myself in this situation and have to figure it out” when in reality my manager 10 years older than me took advantage of me & left me when I didn’t want to be taken advantage of anymore 💔. Anytime I bring up not want him at my son’s birth I get called all type of names and being told I’m bitter & miserable. What about my feelings?? Why don’t my feelings ever matter?? I’ve been struggling with depression for 8 months continuously alone, working my ass off 11+ hours everyday not even get a text message from this man left alone a dollar to go towards my baby’s expenses and respected his decision. After 2 times I stopped calling & accepted he doesn’t love us. But when I put my foot down and I want a calm peaceful birth with memories I can actually cherish im the bad guy in the story. I’m not gonna lie when I seen him call me a randomly last month a piece of me got elated at the thought of him finally coming around and at least want to be their long distance for his son, but nope he was just calling so he could get the paper work for 6 weeks paternity leave while is still raise my son on my own. In my previous post I sounded happy and excited for what the future will hold for me and my son but right I’m completely defeated. That has light died. As I’m 4 weeks away from giving birth I’m regretting my whole situation. I don’t feel like a good mom. I don’t feel like I have the heart to love my son as he should be loved. I just feel drained and dead on the inside. How can I be a loving mom when I never had one myself? He’ll have an unhappy mom with an absentee father how could he possibly thrive in such an environment? I feel guilt I feel hurt & I honestly don’t have the emotional capacity at this time to go through another tribulation. I just wanna ask for somebody to pray for me peace and my sanity. I was strong this whole journey but I think I’ve reached my limits. I love my baby more than anything I’d give my life if I knew it’d make his better but I honestly, don’t want this life anymore. I’m tired of the darkness & despair. I just want somebody to listen.
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2023.05.18 15:26 YaaliAnnar NoP: Lost and Found (53)

First Previous
Memory Transcription Subject: Pintal, venlil farmer
Date [Human Standardized Reckoning]: 2136-10-21
As Timür predicted, the first interstellar vessel from Earth after the invasion pulled into our orbit at the next paw. However, the humans had to prioritize who could board the flight to Earth, and as a mere chef, Timür couldn't secure a position right away. Despite this, he managed to get us seats for the fourth or fifth flight taking place next paw.
So we extended our stay in the gubernatorial complex. Vichak, an educator at heart, took this time to interview various governmental agents for civic class. As a farmer now, the gardens of Earth's plants interested me more. Timür, in his spare time, brought me on a tour of the new flora that his team was testing for viability in Venlil Prime.
"Do you know this fruit called durian?" I asked. "The gojid sisters seemed to love them a lot."
"Oh yeah..." Timür's chuckled "I remember the spaceport authority calling me to sort that out. I tried one in a dare once. It tastes okay if you hold your breath."
And my curiosity about the fruit just evaporated like that.
On our way to the greenhouse where the humans stored the specimens from Earth, we passed a lot of courtyards with interesting features. Once or twice the guard challenged us, but Timür had high enough access that we could always bypass them.
Before we departed, the human chef, in his never-ending attempts to bridge our species through cuisine, served us his creations for the last time. But the food somehow lacked the breathtaking flavors present in our previous meal. I didn't doubt that Timür put just as much effort into his craft as before, but perhaps the tragedy that befell Earth added an unpleasant note to everything we consumed.
The higher echelons of Timür's government, although empathetic to my situation, didn't extend that understanding to the gojid sisters. They deemed Shehrab and Dunyab to lack a sufficiently compelling case to be granted passage to Earth. So, the spiky sisters accompanied us only as far as the departure zone.
"Hey, Shehrab," I said, "please take care of Alita for me, alright?"
Beside us, the giant array of clear polymer allowed us a view of the shuttles landing and taking off. The humans were now permitted limited mobility within Venlil Prime and had access to various transportation hubs, including this one. As a result, we could get to orbit through the civilian spaceport.
Dunyab, the younger of the gojid sisters, gripped Shehrab's hand tight and her face was twisted into a sulky pout. The news that her dream of returning to the predators' homeworld had been denied was still fresh and raw.
"And remember to stay safe on earth," Shehrab said, "Always have a human with you, okay? You won't know if they have rogue arxurs lurking around in search of a meal."
"Noted," I responded. I patted my bulky satchel. "I also brought a pistol with me, just in case."
"Wait... you have a pistol?" Dunyab’s eyes widened.
"As a farmer...sometimes I have to go into the wilderness. It's a last resort," I clarified.
"Ah there you are!" Before she could voice any further concerns, Timür returned the human and held a can of beverage in his hand. I think that was...Sprunk?
"She'll be safe? Right?" Shehrab interjected.
"Don't fret, Shehrab, '' Timür reassured. "The areas they'll visit on Earth had no arxurs at all, rogue or otherwise." As he spoke, he glanced at something beyond his glasses, perhaps a notification appearing in his field of vision.
"We should get moving. The shuttle won't wait for us," Timür warned, urgency seeping into his tone.
For my daughter, it was her first voyage into the void, while for me, it marked my second journey across space since my vacation years ago. My gnawing anxiety concerning the fate of my son drowned any excitement I might have felt. I held on to the belief that he had emerged unscathed through the invasion. The communication between Earth and Venlil Prime was still restricted to government officials and armed forces only. With no way to contact my son, a nagging whisper in the back of my mind kept echoing, "But what if he didn't survive the bombardment?"
The shuttle whisked us off to the nearest orbital station around our planet's orbit. There, amidst the hard vacuum, we waited. Time seemed to stand still as we anticipated the arrival of the ship that would carry us toward Earth. The human-designed vessel had a blocky form as with all their built environments. On the other paw, their larger size made everything feel roomier.
We separated from Timür and a human soldier escorted us to a private cabin, where they have a bed big enough for two venlils.
Our homeworld of Venlil Prime floated light-years away from the tumultuous events unfolding on Earth. The news of the bombardment had only trickled in the form of texts. At first, the news felt like a sudden disaster in a faraway colony. But then we learned that the assault on Earth was neither sudden nor unforeseen. The humans had managed to find out about it days in advance, and they used that precious window for frantic evacuation efforts.
The problem was that relocating billions of people from Earth to safety just couldn't be done, even if humanity had a vast resource at its disposal, which it did not. It forced the predators to make ruthless decisions for survival. They prioritize the young, the bearers of their future, and for those too young or vulnerable to fend for themselves an adult takes care of two or three of them. This alone had been heartbreaking. But the true magnitude of the loss humanity had sustained hit me hard, like a sucker punch to the snout, when I started to watch the recordings.
Humans as a species, talk a lot, and their need for communication and connection perhaps occupied the same level as other basic needs like food. You can find evidence of their chattiness from the way they store data and transmit them. During the assault, they still manage to maintain a planetary communication network, and this was where the recordings came from. Even though hundreds of millions of humans had perished, their thoughts, feelings, and last moments were immortalized within their sprawling networks of millions and millions of servers. Our cabin had a device with the sole purpose of tapping into their media and a particular channel caught my attention.
It continuously broadcasted the last recorded messages from the victims of the Federation's brutality, echoing their voices into the future.
Unable to suppress my curiosity, I found myself drawn to these snippets of human life. Alongside Vichak I opened the channel.
The first recording unveiled a tranquil scene in which a group of humans lounged on a field, circling food containers neatly arranged on a mat in the middle. The lush grass beneath them seemed to cradle them. The caption identified the people as 'Umut Yılmaz and Friends' and the location as 'Istanbul'.
A spark of recognition flared in my mind. Istanbul... wasn't that where Timür came from?
We continued to watch as one of the humans in the recording rose to their feet. They cleared their throat, drawing the attention of the group. The human turned away from their friends.
"Friends!" Their voice seemed to echo across the field. "We, who are about to die, salute you."
That bleak opening made me realize that they meant this for whoever was watching the recording.
"Our impending doom is approaching," they continued, their voice gaining strength and determination. "Its shadow stretches across our world, attempting to smother our spirit, to mute our voices, and to crush our resolve. But, my friends, you will not succumb to the encroaching darkness. Rage! Rage against the dying of the light."
Their words carried a fierce defiance.
"We don't know how much time we have left. Yet, instead of surrendering to fear, we will confront our destiny with our heads held high, our eyes unblinking. As the last flame of our existence flickers against the oncoming storm, remember this: You are not victims succumbing to fate. You are warriors challenging it. You are not defeated. You are defiant. You are not the ended. You are the enduring."
Here we stand, on the precipice of oblivion, our spirit unyielding. Here we are! Here we remain!"
With the conclusion of their speech, the surrounding humans began to strike their hands together in a rhythmic pattern, a human gesture of approval and appreciation that I had come to recognize. The speaker then sat as their friend proceeded to distribute the food among themselves, partaking in the simple pleasures of life even as death loomed.
Not cowering in a bunker, but facing death with dignity. You can argue that it was a predatory display, but... it honestly admiring and inspiring to see such defiance.
The subsequent recording transitioned from the open expanse of a park to the heart of a grand edifice. The location, as indicated by the caption, was 'Paris'. The individuals featured were identified as the 'University of Sorbonne Choir'.
The camera panned across the scene showing the grandeur of the architecture. It has the pointiness and the roughness of human design, but it came out beautifully. Multicolored light came from the intricate stained-glass windows illuminating the spacious hall that provided an elegant backdrop for the choir.
The humans stood arranged in neat semi-circular rows, a human standing at the helm raised a baton and they sang.
"So, let us rejoice, While we are young." they sang, their voice sounded ethereal, something that I didn't expect to come from predators.
"After a pleasant youth, After a troublesome old age, The earth will have us."
And so their song continued. As I understand it, it seemed to be about academic life, but also exhorting the virtue of enjoying life when you still have the means to.
"Dear ones and comrades, scattered into places. Various, we congregate."
As the last note faded away, the screen transitioned, replaced by a close-up of a single human. His skin was a rich, deep shade of brown, a stark contrast against the light red fabric of his attire. His eyes held an unusual tint of red instead of the customary healthy white human sclera.
An unsettling chill crawled up my spine as his unwavering gaze met the camera.
The text at the bottom of the screen provided further context about this individual. His name is "Uxolo Dlamini" and he is from "eGoli".
"Hi, Malika,
It's been less than a day and I have missed you. Here in Joburg, the streets are empty and the silence is deafening.
When you were born, Malika, I was not in the right state of mind. But the sound of your crying in the room, as your mama held your hand, washed away all of my doubts and fears. You gave me a reason to live, my sweet daughter. Papa was ready to give you all my best, Malika. I read all the books and attended all the classes about parenting. But now all of that was for nothing."
The human sniffed and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
Please forgive Papa, Malika, for not being able to be there for you when you take your first steps, or when you go to school for the first time, or when you graduate, or... or..."
The human let out a wail and covered his eyes. We watched as he cried his heart out before he could regain his composure.
"Papa has done all I can, my love. I have secured a spot for you and your mother in the evacuation and that was the least I can do." He blubbered through tears. With a sniff, he forced himself upward again.
"You must be brave and strong, and always remember to give kindness to the world, even when it doesn't give it to us. If there is an afterlife, know that I will be watching you with pride, my sweet Malika."
The recording ended, replaced by another, but at this point, Vichak had been so overwhelmed that she turned the screen off and set the device aside. Tears flowed freely from my eyes as I hugged my daughter. I felt a deep ache in my chest as I let out mournful sobs. I can still remember the raw emotions in the human father's voice showing his pain and desperation as the situation forced him to leave his family.
The profound weight of that father's predicament hit me with a stark realization. Their carnivorous diet and hunting habits, which we considered significant at first, now seemed like minor details in the grand scheme of their existence. Such trivialities didn't define the essence of being human. They were sentient beings, much like us, with a capacity for love, and the bravery to make unthinkable sacrifices for their loved ones.
Following the recordings, we found ourselves burdened with a heavy sadness. The emotional toll was too much to shrug off, and Vichak and I decided to spend the rest of our journey just lying down on the bed, slowly drifting asleep.
A soft chime interrupted our slumber. I hopped off the bed and opened the door and saw Timür standing on the other side.
"Hey… I'm here to say goodbye. The shuttle to my hometown will be here soon."
"We're shuttling directly from the ship?" I asked in surprise.
"Earth has no space station left." The realization washed over me, and I felt a flush of embarrassment at my thoughtless question.
"Oh… yeah," I mumbled.
He continued, "A soldier will notify you again when the shuttle from Nusantara has docked."
I swallowed hard. "Will you be okay?" I managed to ask.
His response was raw and honest, "I… I'm not sure,".
Overwhelmed by a wave of compassion, I did something I had never done before. I hugged a human. My arms wrapped around Timür in an awkward embrace. His hand, slightly pudgy and warm, patted me gently in return.
"Thanks, Pintal," he murmured.
A while after Timür's departure, the door chimed again, this time I faced a soldier. We followed their lead, meandering through the ship's corridors and navigating a gravity-free tube that led us to our shuttle. Inside, a handful of humans awaited us. They offered us weak smiles, nodding their heads. Yet, beneath their attempts at cordiality, I could sense the deep-seated sorrow each one of them carried.
Upon our arrival on the ground, I instinctively looked up to a sky that was just a bit too bright. The sun hit my eyes and I had to avert my gaze.
"So. This is what a day and night cycle is like," she mused aloud.
"Hey don't stare at the sun. It can damage your eyes." I said, remembering my vacation at a garden colony.
Down on the platform, we saw a human with a crisp white dress holding a sign in venscript with our names on it.
"Hello! You must be Pintal and Vichak. I'm Elangkasa!" My translator assigned them a voice of nondescript gender.
Their demeanor exuded a mix of professional courtesy and genuine warmth.
"Is Vani alright?"
"Oh, he's thriving even," Elangkasa said with a smile.
The surge of relief was so potent that I found myself enveloping Vichak in a tight embrace, our shared joy a beacon of hope amidst the turbulence of our journey.
Our journey to the camp took us through an expanse of untamed wilderness. We spent our time admiring the lush green jungles, the vibrant flora stood as an example of Earth's natural beauty. I had heard about humans' efforts to preserve their planet, but witnessing these landscapes firsthand was an experience of a different magnitude.
Upon reaching the camp, we immediately requested Elangkasa to take us where Vani was. Elangkasa touched their forefinger to the side of their head, their lips moving in a hushed whisper. The language sounded foreign, and my translator failed to decipher it.
"Alright," they finally said, reassuring, "Your son is in the community center right now. Let's get there!"
We found Vani in the company of a short, hairy human, his designated exchange partner. When we came in my son was snuggling with the human in a reclining chair, reading on a pad. It seemed we had caught them by surprise. Both of them stared at us, their expressions a mix of shock and bewilderment.
"Mother? Sister?" Vani finally managed to utter, his front-facing stare shifted awkwardly between us. He untangled himself from the human and stood up, his paw firmly planted on the ground. I took a good look at my son. He wore an apron and footgear perhaps in imitation of humans. Despite being covered in fabric I can tell that Vani had grown a bit more muscular.
But those were just small details. In an instant, I was running towards him, my arms outstretched in desperate need for a hug. He reciprocated the embrace, his familiar warmth enveloping me. I felt another pair of arms join us, Vichak's I presumed.
"I missed you, Vani," Vichak murmured, her voice choking with emotion.
"I missed you, son," I added, feeling a tear escape and trickle down my cheek. I sniffed, blinking back the tears threatening to spill over, and turned my gaze to the human.
"Uh...hi?" the human, Johan, said, offering a small wave. "I'm Johan. Vani showed me a picture of you once."
I nodded in acknowledgment, managing a small smile. "Thank you for hosting Vani, Johan."
"But...why are you here, mother?" Vani asked.
"We're here to bring you home, Vani. This planet is no longer safe, not after the invasion."
His reaction was immediate. Vani released his grip on me and moved to stand beside Johan. "I… I can't leave."
My eyes looked at Vani and the human. My son grabbed the human arm in his and a realization began to take shape in my mind. "Vani… dear," I began cautiously, "are you and… Johan…" I let my voice trail off, allowing the implications to hang in the air.
Vani simply nodded.
I had suspected something was going on between them from the pictures I had seen. My old self would probably raise a great fuss about having a child sleeping with a predator. But now, with my assumptions about humans being challenged thoroughly, I found myself only happy that my son was in a loving relationship.
"I'm glad you found someone," I said and I thought I saw Vani sigh in relief. "Look... if Johan is your concern, he can come with us to Venlil Prime. We have a lot of humans there too, just one more wouldn't be much trouble."
Just as I finished speaking, an arxur appeared outside, its form visible through the window.
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2023.05.17 20:59 FakeElectionMaker Steve Welch universe lore.

Steve Welch universe lore.
Presidency of John McCain (2013-2015)
With the Democrats' new congressional majority (the first since 1993), Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved several bills into Congress:
  • Medicaid expansion, a public option and protections for preexisting conditions.
  • Greater background checks for gun owners under 21.
  • The repeal of the NCLB and its replacement with an education bill providing subsidied daycare for working-class children and technical training for high school students.
President John McCain opposed all of them, due to their impact on the federal budget, and thrratened to veto the three bills, if they passed. However, conservative Democrats in the Senate joined their 49 Republican colleagues to block the first two; only the two latter standalone programs were signed into law.
With the US economy having mostly recovered from the Great Recession, and Congress and the White House not in agreement on domestic issues, McCain's second term focused on foreign policy.
After the Syrian Civil War broke out in 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) moved into Syria, but the NATO bombing campaign and safe zone for the Free Syrian Army prevented them from making significant gains. After 2014, ISIS began to be pushed back, until the self-proclaimed "caliphate" collapsed in 2016.
After Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, the US government imposed sanctions on the government of Vladimir Putin, freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs.
The policy of sanctions against Iran continued, but the protest movements against the Islamic Republic fizzled out.
After Democratic gains in the 2014 midterms and the President's increasing age, McCain's popularity declined, and he increasingly delegated responsibilities to Vice President Tim Pawlenty.
2014 United States elections
Democrats made a net gain of one seat in the Senate and 21 in the Chamber of Deputies. During the midterms, the party sought to embrace a sort of economic populism, in order to differentiate themselves from the mostly neoconservative Republicans. This helped them with working-class and to a way lesser degree, rural voters.
2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries
Following Barack Obama's defeat in the 2012 election, speculation focused on the following candidates:
  • Senator for New York Hillary Clinton
  • Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders (both failed primary candidates)
  • Governor of Florida Alex Sink
  • Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland
  • Senator for Minnesota Amy Klobuchar (more people who failed to win the 2012 nomination)
  • Governor of Wisconsin Tom Barrett
After the 2014 midterms, Sanders and Barrett formed exploratory committees. The two eventually ran for the nomination, and occupied the same lane, although Barrett was more moderate on policy.
In March 2015, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy. Like during her unsuccessful 2012 campaign, Clinton occupied the estabilishment lane, later being joined by female black Governor of Florida Alex Sink, whom faced gridlock from the Republican State House but recieved national attention for her handling of hurricanes.
Strickland, Klobuchar and former President Steve Welch refused to run again; Welch had abandoned electoral politics.
Sanders led in most polls during the second semester of 2015, due to his populist and progressive policies, which appealed to dissatisfied voters in the Midwest and West Coast.
However, Tom Barrett, who polled negligibly earlier, began to surge in late 2015, presenting himself as a pragmatic and reasonable alternative to Bernie Sanders.
Barrett's campaign, however, fizzled out following his third-place showing in the Iowa caucus, which was won by Hillary Clinton due to the split in the populist vote. After weak showings in the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucus, he suspended his campaign and endorsed Sanders.
Alex Sink, on the other hand, caught momentum following a strong debate performance, finishing third in Nevada and second in the South Carolina primary due to her strength with black voters. However, she did poorly outside of the south during Super Tuesday, and withdrew from the race afterwards.
With Clinton and Sanders the only major candidates in the race, there was a fierce contest between them, until Hillary Clinton secured the nomination by winning the Southern states aswell as California, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.
2016 Republican Party presidential primaries
Vice President Tim Pawlenty had been the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination since the beginning, facing little opposition. He had the support of both the party machinery and grassroots conservatives, and the advanced age of John McCain gave him considerable experience for a vice president.
However, billionaire Donald Trump joined the race after the 2014 midterms. Trump, who had never held public office before but briefly ran for President in 2000, supported populist and nativist policies, gaining the support of voters without a college degree and interestingly, Northeastern moderates uninterested in the culture war.
Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul also ran, but their campaigns failed to gain traction due to Donald Trump taking the populist lane.
Throughout late 2015, Trump significantly trailed Pawlenty in the polls, and some speculated he would drop out of the race. However, he shocked the political world by performing strongly in the Iowa caucus and most importantly, winning the New Hampshire primary, sending shockwaves across the political spectrum.
On the other hand, his New Hampshire victory caused the Republican estabilishment to fall behind Pawlenty, and do everything possible to forestall Trump's chances. During Super Tuesday, the billionaire outsider only won Vermont and Alaska, later carrying Maine.
After winning no contests in Super Tuesday III, Trump dropped out to run as an independent candidate in the general election, therefore securing Pawlenty the nomination.
2016 United States presidential election
After Donald Trump dropped out of the Republican primaries to run as an independent, Hillary Clinton immediately became the frontrunner, as voters without a college degree in the rural South, Appalachia and Midwest were won over by his populism and nativism. Trump promised to, among other things, build a wall in the border with Mexico, impose higher tariffs on Chinese imports, continue John strong stance against terrorism, and work with Congress to write and pass an infrastructure bill.
Clinton ran a moderate Democratic campaign supportive of a comprehensive healthcare reform program, raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour, raising taxes on the wealthy and closing corporate tax loopholes, renegotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership with greater protection for American manufacturing, increasing teachers' wages and funding for the Department of Education, banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, stricter enforcement of immigration laws together with a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who did not commit crimes, and a nuclear deal to prevent the growth of Iran's program.
Tim Pawlenty ran as a third term of John McCain, while promising to lower taxes, appoint judges who could overturn Roe v Wade, protect the Second Amendment, and continue to confront Russia, China and Iran. Pawlenty promised to veto any bill that raised taxes, imposed restrictions on gun ownership, or created new government programs. He attacked Donald Trump as an egotist who was not truly committed to conservatism.
Following the leaking of a video where Donald Trump boasted about committing sexual assault, his campaign lost momentum outside the South and among social conservatives. However, the spoiler effect was enough for Hillary Clinton to win a whooping 432 electoral votes, while Trump and Pawlenty were tied in the electoral vote.
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