1 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - The rioting and looting in Mobile had many long-term effects for Alabama. The first was the rise of the corporate towns that protected the largest industries around Mobile. The second was the rise of bedroom communities in the area. The fires burned down many of the businesses and homes in Mobile, and many corporate towns housed their workers and families in temporary barracks to keep them safe. They often found that nothing remained of their homes or neighborhoods when the crisis was over. So they rebuilt, often simply by moving their container houses away from the port, and this time they built walls and hired permanent security to maintain the peace. What had once been considered a luxury of the rich became a requirement of the working class to be able to live. Walled communities and security guards. It became their new normal after the Second Great Depression.
2 - Medron - Cancer - My mom has been fighting cancer again, for the forth time, for a few months. Well, more accurately Mayo Clinic figured out she had it and put her on a new targeted treatment in testing right now that costs thousands of dollars a dose. The company developing it gave it to mom for free. The Clinic has been administering it under her normal healthcare plan. She is out no money. Only the time it takes to go to the clinic. For a couple years now, food she used to like no longer tasted good to her. And one of the side effects of the cancer she has is loss of taste. So we think she had it for a while. Some weeks ago, I started asking her if food was tasting good again. And she noted that she thought it was. Well, this week, she said out of the blue that food really was good again. She volunteered it. Out of the blue. Thank God for the Mayo Clinic.
3 - Medron - Cancer - As I’ve noted before, my mom has cancer again. Breast cancer some time ago. That was a major surgery and lots of chemo. A couple bouts of skin cancer that were much more easily removed and recovered from. And the blood cancer she is fighting now. Or rather the top shelf still in-testing drug cocktail is designed to fight. Now there is a couple interesting side effects that mom has noticed. She’s gone to bed around 11 and woken up around 5 for decades. Now she wakes up to the alarm at 7. And she normally takes a nap or two during the day. She’s also losing weight. She’s burning off around 5 pounds a month. See the cancer drugs kill the cancer in her blood, and then her body has to filter the dead stuff out of her blood. That takes a lot of energy, so she sleeps longer and is losing a bit of weight each month. “Life finds a way.” The things you learn from Jurassic Park. ;)
4 - Medron - He-Man - There has been a lot of discussion about the new He-Man show lately. Some liked it, considering it a fresh and new take on the old show. Some disliked it, wishing it was more about He-Man, or disliking that the show runner lied to them about the focus of the show. These two groups can largely live and let live. There is a third group that expresses their love for the new show, glorying in the fact that it’s not just a tired old He-Man show. They attack anyone who dislikes it as a crybaby, a manbaby, or a He-Manbaby in bouts of clever language skills. And they often say we have no right to judge the show because only half of it has been released. Firstly, they are attacking the people, not the argument. And secondly, we can judge whatever we want. If Netflix only releases a short season, then that is what we judge. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the audience judgment is rotten.
5 - Medron - He-Man - I must say that the new He-Man teaser was amazing. The animation is top notch. Getting a glimpse of the heroes and villains fighting was excellent. Seeing familiar heroes I’ve known my entire conscious life going into battle to protect Eternia again was heartwarming. It encapsulated the idea of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in less than 2 minutes of video. It made even Orko looked badass, and that is an achievement of truly Olympian proportions that all these people running around in circles right now wish they could achieve. ;) The teaser has over 7 million views as I write this. A quarter of a million likes. It is a perfect teaser trailer, and it shows just how much a straight remake of He-Man would rock. It would be popular, and would make Mattel boatloads of money as people bought the figures. That’s what Mattel wants. It’s what I want too.
6 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The Port of Mobile became the economic genie that pulled Alabama out of the Second Great Depression. It was successful in doing so because it maintained its own security, both on land and on the open water. Its early waterborne security was primarily composed of armed tugboats, but their yard facilities refurbished, converted, or built numerous other armed escort and security craft during and after the emergency. Most of their craft were only good for the Gulf of Mexico, but they built true ocean-going escort craft in time. They never built warships, you understand. Only nations need warships. The corporations of Mobile built armed escorts to protect Alabama-flagged shipping and other port facilities throughout the Americas and all over the world in time. Never warships.
7 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Alabama’s Naval Station Mobile started as part of the Port of Mobile. Alabama leased part of the harbor to host their coast guard and navy after the Convention of States reformed the Federal government. They hired the Port yards to build new warships for State defense purposes. They also purchased many corporate “escort ships” to act as a core for their fleet, and Alabama became a major naval power. They would parley that into a major presence in the renewed space race, and several major components of the Mars Colonization Program launched from Naval Station Mobile. Each was sponsored heavily by the various corporations of Mobile, and carried their logos to Mars.
8 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Alabama sent a full squadron of former corporate escort ships to help Australia defend itself from the Chinese advance. Carrying Alabama Marines and helicopters, they acted as fleet escort and search and rescue auxiliaries throughout the campaign to halt the Chinese advance in Indonesia. They performed the same mission for the combined fleet that sailed to Singapore, and their Marines took part in the final offensive that eradicated the last Rogue AI nest. They came home to a heroes’ welcome and were quickly reassigned to act as training cadre throughout the growing Alabama State Navy. Some would even go to space, and later to Mars as part of Governor Amanda Carter’s security team. They would represent Alabama to the world for decades to come, and helped build the space navy that took them to the stars. Sporting various corporate logos of course.
9 - Medron - Olympics - The delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, forecasted by Akira decades ago, have come to an end and were largely successful as far as I’m concerned. There were challenges though. Stadiums designed for audiences had odd echoes, which sometimes made it hard for athletes to know when to start. A lack of cheering or other noises often made things eerie. And of course some athletes protested the flag. Most famous was the soccer team, shortly before the Swedes whipped them good and hard. And NBC gleefully broadcasted other protests and related segments. The network’s narrative broadcasts got tiring. The sports were good, though. Japan did a good job hosting the games. Overall fun to watch.
10 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Alabama’s Port of Mobile and Naval Station Mobile used favorable taxes and other incentives to make themselves major supporters and launch locations for American efforts to colonize the Solar System. And when hyperdrives allowed us to go to the stars, they joined the New Earth and New Washington Colonization Programs that brought us to the stars. That would start a tradition of Mobile supporting colonization efforts, and every major colony America had any involvement in sent components through Mobile. Not necessarily all, or even most, due to the superior launch locations in Florida, Texas, and Panama, but Mobile’s incentives made it virtually impossible for anyone seeking to launch components into space to ignore their facilities. The decades before Contact saw their revenue share steadily decreasing, though, and their days as a major space launch facility appeared to be ending.
11 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - When the Peloran made Contact and gave us gravtech, the corporations of the Port of Mobile saw their salvation. They had long used corporate incentives to make themselves a major space launch facility, but had been losing market share to newer launch facilities in far better locations. And the ever-expanding Panama Elevator was taking traffic from everybody. Gravtech promised a revolution in space launch capabilities though, and the corporations of Mobile pooled their resources to build the first American-made gravtech launch vehicle. They launched months ahead of their nearest competition, and used that advantage to lock in long-term launch contracts. By the time their competition caught up with the technology curve, Mobile had already established itself as the dominant player in the space launch field.
12 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The Port of Mobile remained one of America’s major space launch facilities throughout the decades after Contact that led up to The War. Their factories built numerous Alabama and American starships, as well as Class One, Two, and Three Colonization Ships for many colony projects. They launched, and landed, bulk cargo for trade and other projects in record-breaking tonnages decade after decade. It was a license to print money, and they did not miss a single trick they could imagine. They had very imaginative lawyers as it turned out, and an Alabama government that was happy to give them a great deal of leeway when it came to interpreting laws. The money flowed, the taxes came in, and the people of Alabama prospered like never before. It was a Golden Age that many thought would never end.
13 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The Shang attack that started The War changed the space launch industry in America forever. The Port of Mobile had been losing market share in the cargo launch market to larger competitors like the Ports of New Orleans and Los Angeles in the preceding decades. They were also losing their building contracts to the orbital Yosemite Yards. Everybody knows that the Shang attack destroyed Yosemite and dropped its rubble all over Western America. We have all seen the visuals of an obliterated Port of Los Angeles. New Orleans was a footnote compared to what that did to Pacific shipping patterns, but was just as devastating to the Gulf of America’s shipping. The Port of Mobile answered the many calls for increased shipping, and their yards accepted every military building contract they could physically jam into their facilities. Mobile made money hand over fist.
14 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The Port of Mobile prospered during The War. Their space launch vehicles shipped food and munitions into orbit day and night, week after week, much of which would be sent to Sunnydale and the Hyades Cluster as The War continued. Their factories built thousands of fighters and bombers a year. And each of their yards launched a major warship or transport a month. The sun never set on the Port of Mobile because their artificial lights did not allow a single shadow to linger as shift after shift came and went to feed the insatiable appetite of an American war machine on the march to kick the Shangs’ collective asses to the other side of the galaxy. It was an amazing time for the Port of Mobile.
15 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The Port of Mobile slowed down again after The War ended. The rebuilt ports in Los Angeles and New Orleans took much of their shipping business, and the American military began to downsize so needed little new construction. Mobile returned to civilian construction and shipping projects, and their market share has once again slipped as the decades have gone by. There are better locations to ship from, after all. The corporations of Mobile have always been able to overcome that location through numerous incentives, and they continue to prosper today. They are still one of the great ports in America, and the money and taxes they bring in make Alabama one of the richest States in the Confederation of Dixie. They will always have a place in the shipping business, as long as the corporations continue to innovate and acquire fresh contracts whenever a competitor gives them an opening.
16 - Medron - Afghanistan - A month short of the twenty-year anniversary of 9-11, the Taliban is taking over Afghanistan again. Everyone who paid attention to what the military and intelligence said knew this would happen in time. If America left, the Taliban would take over again. Biden said it wouldn’t when he defended his pulling our troops out. He lied. Simple as that. He tried to defend his policy of total withdrawal and just hoped it would be long enough before the takeover that he could escape blame. Well, now he’s hiding from everybody as the takeover happens quicker than most of us expected. And soon we will see if the Taliban will go back to their old ways. What will they do to all the Afghans who worked with us for twenty years? What will they do to the Afghan women and girls? How bad will it be? Or will they surprise us all? We will see.
17 - Medron - Generational Choppers - I made an honestly snarky comment on Sunday about generational choppers lifting people out of Saigon and now Kabul. I was quickly schooled by a friend who knows choppers better than me. The old heavy lift choppers the Navy used to evacuate Saigon were retired years ago. The military uses an entirely new generation of craft. Then he came back with some interesting news. If the people who know things are reading things correctly, based on pictures, aircraft identification numbers, and service histories, at least one of those old Navy choppers that evacuated Saigon was reactivated and turned over to the State Department. They took it to Kabul. Where it just helped evacuate the embassy. If I wrote this in a story, people would think I made it up.
18 - Medron - Foreign Policy - We have a very experienced foreign policy team in place now in America. The Biden bureaucracies were largely recruited from the Obama/Biden White House teams, and have a great deal of foreign policy experience. They watched Russia invade the Ukraine and sent them blankets. They destabilized Libya, which caused the death of Libya’s ruler and our diplomat. They watched the Syrian civil war cross chemical weapon Red Lines and did not respond. They withdrew our troops from Iraq, allowing the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They have now withdrawn our troops from Afghanistan, allowing the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Biden team has a great deal of experience in foreign policy, and we are seeing that experience in action right now. Sadly, I expect to see more of this in the years to come.
19 - Medron - Afghanistan - Like most Americans, I am in favor of leaving Afghanistan. We should not have stayed as long as we did. We should have supported the Northern Alliance against the Taliban twenty years ago, destroyed Al-Qaeda, and left no more than a residual or support force there. Like we do with the Kurds in Iraq. Give them air support from secure bases, but let the locals fight in and for their own country. It is their land to hold and defend, not ours. I’m perfectly fine with us keeping small forces in the area, inside secure bases, helping the locals when they want help, but we should not have large scale armies taking the region over. The fact is that there are good ways and bad ways to reduce or remove our presence. The plan we see in action now is not one of the better ones, if you wish to support a peaceful region.
20 - Medron - Afghanistan - In a hypothetical situation, where I was in charge of withdrawing from Afghanistan, I would continue to give the Afghan army air support. I would maintain the Afghan air force, in facilities guarded by our people, so they could continue to support the Afghan army. I would support the Afghan military so they could maintain security. I would maintain enough force in the area to destroy any threat to Afghan territorial control. COUGHTALIBANCOUGH. I would withdraw our civilians and friends first, then pull our equipment out. Our military would come out last. I certainly would never pull our military out first. I wouldn’t cut the Afghan army off at the knees by taking away their air support. I wouldn’t go on vacation when the Taliban surprised absolutely NOBODY and went on the offense. And I would stay there until everybody who wanted out go out before I pulled our military out.
21 - Medron - Afghanistan - So reports are that the Taliban is stopping people from going to the airport if they want to. Checkpoints. Random attacks. Some people getting kidnapped on the road. And there are thousands of Americans there. The British and French are going in and removing their people with special forces. Other reports are that the Taliban got the government records and are tracking down people who worked with us to kill them and their families. Women are handing their babies over barbed wire fences to get them out of the region. Things are getting worse each day, while Biden and his tame media are doing their best to tell us exactly the opposite.
22 - Medron - January - In January of this year, our southern border was secure with a great deal of substandard fencing being replaced with modern border walls. Our infection rates in the current crazy were going down thanks to Operation Warp Speed’s bouncing little bundle of joy. Those who blamed China for it were silenced on social media. Energy and fuel costs were low, and we were building a major new pipeline. Our economy was booming and unemployment rates were sinking. Republicans were protesting election fraud and Democrats were calling them Insurrectionists. Russia wasn’t building a new pipeline into Europe because we vetoed it. Afghanistan was mostly stable with minimal terror attacks. What a difference seven months makes.
23 - Medron - Today - Today, our southern border is wide open, with hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens crossing it every month. Our infection rates in the current crazy are going up, thanks a great deal to the unpoked and infected illegal aliens being sent all over the country. Intelligence now suggests that China was to blame for the whole thing. Energy and fuel costs are higher, and pipelines all over the nation have been shut down or threatened. Our economy is sliding towards stagflation, unemployment is twitching, and everything is on edge. Those who protest election fraud have been banned from social media, or jailed in solitary confinement for months, but the FBI reports there was no Insurrection. Russia is building a new pipeline with Biden’s approval. And Afghanistan is collapsing back to Taliban rule due to the worst military pullout since Saigon. What a difference seven months makes.
24 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Mississippi’s primary “industry” in the years before the Second Great Depression was gambling. Casinos dominated every shoreline and beach throughout the State, competing to bring vacationers from all around the United States and beyond. This made them highly resistant to many of the worst effects of the general collapse that accompanied the depression. “Misery loves company” is a saying that has an odd amount of truth, and their gambling businesses actually saw rising profits as the decay accelerated around the world. Those profits paid for expanded security of both the private and public variety, including AI networks, and their gambling districts never shut down. The lights never went out in Mississippi.
25 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Mississippi’s prosperity in the years before the Second Great Depression was not across the board. There were haves and have nots all over the State. And though the lights never went out in Mississippi, many areas of the State did go dark during that time of crisis. Rioters and looters burned down major city districts, and terrorists took over the capital itself. They captured, tortured, and killed the Governor and her family on live network broadcast to drive home the message that they ruled. It was a dark time for the parts of Mississippi caught outside the gambling districts where security and prosperity continued to bring in record profits.
26 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Mississippi truly was different from most States during Second Great Depression. Most States saw riots and looting in the cities, and law and order in the smaller towns and farmlands. But it was the rich and powerful gambling districts and cities of Mississippi that had power and security to keep them safe. And it was in the poor rural and small town regions that the evils of roving gangs and terrorists took hold, though they did manage to the storm the Capitol. The casinos helped coordinate the emergency election after the Governor was murdered, and they put forth a mutual candidate that would represent them all. He won easily, formed a new government on the Gulf Coast behind casino security lines, and proceeded to fight a long war to reclaim the rest of the State from the chaos it had fallen to.
27 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Mississippi’s casino-backed government spent many years fighting the various terrorist and rebellious groups in the State’s poorer, more rural regions. Some proved easy to subdue, most often by simply buying their grievances out. The casinos had a great deal of money, most of it from Out-of-State sources. Giving the poorer citizens of Mississippi a piece of the pie was small ball for the casinos. The harder nuts to crack proved to be the various anti-capitalist revolutionist terror groups. They sported funding from beyond the State as well, and many of their best leaders trained with their brothers in arms from the various Islamic States. They were extremely dedicated to the revolution, forcing Mississippi’s new government to hunt down and eradicate them, one group at a time. This was often unhealthy for the nearby landscape or any people in the area.
28 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Mississippi had money to burn when most other States were just trying to survive. They funded many other State militaries, and many consider them to be one of the unifying agents that brought the Confederation of Dixie together. This was not charity on their part. The casinos that funded it all considered peace and security in the regions surrounding them to be an investment for their own good, and they secured many gold-plated contracts with local governments that remain in effect to this day. They also helped fund numerous space launches, and were primary sponsors to the first generation of casinos in Earth orbit. They have continued funding casinos, and other new ventures, all over known space to this day. Their ventures often fail, but they also often succeed, and the casinos consider the gamble to be worth it.
29 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Mississippi’s casinos supported a surprisingly altruistic society from the very beginning. They ran the numbers, studied the studies, and came to the decision that a happy and healthy population was good for profits. They could work longer, suck more foreigners out of their hard-earned money, and they were far less of a headache to govern. Families with nice houses and white picket fences are less likely to break the law and hurt other people, greatly reducing the amount of money required to keep the peace. They also aggressively supported free speech on all platforms, especially that speech critical of the government. Monitoring the complaints allowed them to know where they should modify matters to address common concerns. Mississippi has one of the highest standards of living, and greatest profits, in known space because of this aggressively altruistic governance.
30 - Medron - Foreign Policy - America is not to blame for all that has happened in Afghanistan these last few weeks. That is casting the blame too far. Biden is not to blame. That is casting the blame too narrowly. The entire Biden administration is to blame. Their appointees and staff are in many cases the same people who ran foreign policy under the Obama-Biden administration. They oversaw the fall of Libya and Benghazi. They flew planeloads of cash to Iran. They enabled the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is not their first goat rodeo. This is not the first nation destabilized or destroyed on their watches. Now they have abandoned our own citizens and allies in Afghanistan. They should all be fired for cause. They should be impeached. They have betrayed our allies and us. They did not need to do this. They chose this path. Never Forget.
31 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The casino-led government of Mississippi leads a State with one of the highest standards of living in America. The people are friendly and masters of bleeding foreigners of all the money they can afford to lose. The State is peaceful and safe for visitors and locals alike. The reason for this is simple. The casinos do not believe in imprisoning those who break the peace or hurt others. Prisons cost money to maintain. It is much better to put such people to better use, or be rid of them altogether. Those convicted of minor offenses are granted the option of serving their terms in the Mississippi Defense Forces. Those who commit less minor crimes are required to spend their sentences in exile, where they can see how people outside Mississippi live. The worst dangers to peaceful society are executed after a scrupulously fair and swift trial.