Kentucky Fried Politics: A Colonel Sanders Timeline

That Cairo Olympics logo... It's a case of Don't Dead Open Inside.
I'll be honest, I read that Olympics logo as Craoi.
And yet when I first wrote it out, like this:
I read it as "Cioar"
Edit: see?:

[pic: ]

So I guess it's an imperfect logo either way!
Wow. Jackson vs Dinger, looks like. Interesting way for the war to end in North Korea.
I thought that the unwritten law of UN forbids electing an UN General Secretary from one of five permanent Security Council members, to counterbalance their massive influence due veto-power then others states.
Huh, I didn't know that; I'll fix that. I keep learning things via this site! :D
So with the news of the NK camps coming out I'm expecting Lennon to get a lot of flak over his comments on the war, maybe even enough for Labour to lose the next election.
He could try and make up for it by leading calls for food and medicine aid to the former North. Plus, the last general election in the UK was in late 1995.
How many people died in the Second Korean War?
I'm honestly not too sure. Hundreds of thousands in the North, for sure. But ROK troops? ...No more than 70,000, maybe? The US had over 40,000 troops stationed, and maybe a low percentage of them died. That's not counting the 40,000 SK civilians I mentioned being hit by chemical weapons. It was a short but bloody war.
Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas in the same Hillary Rodham Clinton of...Tennessee? Huh.
I've been mentioning Hillary on and off again since the 1960s, when she was campaigning for the Colonel in the South and met OTL composer George Stanley Clinton. The gist of it is she never married Bill Clinton, and instead moved to Tennessee and stayed a moderate Republican, becoming an ally of Governor Buford Pusser before becoming Governor herself, and then a US Senator. She was a potential VP pick in 1992 and 1995.
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Also sad to hear that the Colonel's wife passed away. I had a feeling that Dinger would win the election. I'm also happy that Bellamy became UN Secretary-General.
Chapter 76: January 1997 – December 1997
Chapter 76: January 1997 – December 1997
(w/ writing credit for noted segments given to @ajm8888 )​

“Where will he go next, this phantom from another time, this resurrected ghost of a previous nightmare – Chicago? Los Angeles? Miami, Florida? Vincennes, Indiana? Syracuse, New York? Anyplace, everyplace, where there’s hate, where there’s prejudice, where there’s bigotry. He’s alive. He’s alive so long as these evils exist. Remember that when he comes to your town. Remember it when you hear his voice speaking out through others. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being. He’s alive because through these things we keep him alive.”

– Rod Serling, the Twilight Zone


…for the first time since official polling in this subject began in 1971, there are clearly more Americans supportive of BLUTAG marriage there are Americans opposed to it. …When asked “Do you think BLUTAGO marriages should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?” 48% said yes, 45% said no, and the remaining 7% had no opinion or were undecided. [1] …When divided by political allegiance, 26% of Republicans support BLUTAG marriage, 40% of independents support BLUTAG marriage, and 57% of Democrats support BLUTAG marriage [2]

– Gallup, 1/2/1997 report

…Among the hundreds if not thousands of suspected drug lords the US is seeking to combat as President Dinger seeks an escalation of the War on Recreadrugs, there is one alleged regional warlord who is gaining international attention for his uniqueness. Evangelos Goussis, born in 1967 to Greek immigrants in what was at the time the USSR’s Uzbekistani Soviet, to Greek immigrants, represented United Turkestan for kickboxing in the 1988 Summer Olympics, and came in fifth place. After being banned from the sport for using steroids, Goussis seems to have drifted into a life of crime, being acquitted of drug trafficking in 1991. Since then, Goussis has operated a fitness and training equipment supply business in Tashkent, though UT authorities expect it to be a front for smuggling narcotics – possibly originating from Aghanistan and Tajikistan – into Russia…

Time Magazine, side article, early January 1997 issue

“The true character of our friends and our enemies, as well as the true character of ourselves, are seen for what they are and without adulteration of truthfulness, through our actions and our resolve, during moments that call for action and test our resolve. In the past 21 months, we have been through tragedy, terror, and warfare, and we have come back stronger each time. The implementation of our strengths as a nation to bring forth peace where there is war, prosperity where there is devastation, and light where there is darkness, whether through Pax Americana or collaborative alliances, is what has made us that shining beacon of hope for people worldwide. Over the next four years, let’s continue to make that common phrase ring true. Let’s make it a fact, not just a phrase, not just to every American who just passed their citizenship test, but to every American in every city, every American in every suburb, every American on every farm, in every mine, in every tech hub, university, hospital, assembly line and Mom-and-Pop shop in every state and territory in the United States of America!”

– US President Larry Miles Dinger’s 1/20/1997 inauguration

Vice President: US Senator James H. Meredith (R-MS) {since 1995}

Secretary of State: Chief National Security Advisor and former Assistant Secretary of the Army Susan M. Livingstone (R-MO) {since 1997}
Secretary of the Treasury: right-wing libertarian author, academic, and political consultant Llewellyn Harrison “Lew” Rockwell Jr. (R-AL) {since 1997}
Secretary of Defense: retired US Navy Admiral John McCain (R-VA) {since 1997}
Attorney General: Associate Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court Linda K. Neuman (I-IA) {since 1997}
Deputy Attorney General: prominent lawyer and attorney-at-law Andrew Franklin Puzder (R-MO) {1997}
Postmaster General: former publisher of The Los Angeles Times Albert Vincent Carey (R-CA) {since 1993}
Secretary of the Interior: African-American former Director of the US Office of Personnel Management and US Undersecretary of the Interior Constance Berry Newman (R-IL) {since 1997}
Secretary of Agriculture: Deputy Secretary and former US Representative Standish Fletcher Thompson (R-GA) {since 1995}
Secretary of Commerce: businessman and COO of Goldman Sachs Henry Merritt Paulson Jr. (R-NY) {since 1997}
Secretary of Labor: US Representative Larkin Irvin Smith (R-MS)
Secretary of Education: African-American author and President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Freeman A. Hrabowski II (I-MD)
Secretary of Health and Welfare: US Representative Richard Michael DeWine (R-OH) {since 1997}
Secretary of Transportation: Cuban-American state secretary of Transportation Guillermo “Bill” Vidal (D-CO) {since 1996}
Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs: US Representative and former Arlington Mayor Tommy Joe Vandergriff (R-TX) {since 1997}
Secretary of Energy and Technology: US Representative and retired mathematics professor Rodney David “Rod” Driver (D-RI) {since 1997}

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): former Director of the National Security Agency William Oliver “Bill” Studeman (R-TX) {since 1993}
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): businessman, former US Congressman, former US Attorney General and former FBI Deputy Director William Ruckelshaus (R-IN) {since 1997}
US Trade Representative: former Chairperson of the US International Trade Commission Paula Stern (D-TN) {since 1993}
Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA): COO of AT&T Cara Carlton Sneed (R-CA) {since 1997}
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): former Governor Charles Woods (R-AL) {since 1993}
Administrator of the Overwhelming Disaster Emergency Response Coordination Agency (ODERCA): former US Congressman and EPA Deputy Administrator James Prather “Jim” Jontz (D-IN) {since 1997}

White House Chief of Staff: former Director of the US State Department’s Office of Press Relations, former interim US Ambassador to Mongolia, and former campaign consultant John R. Dinger (D-IA) {since 1995}
Chief Domestic Policy Advisor: African-American CEO of the Teachers Insurance And Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAAAA-CREF) Clifton Reginald Wharton Jr. (I-MI) {since 1993}
Chief Economic Policy Advisor: US Representative Enid Greene (R-UT) {since 1997}
Chief Foreign Policy Advisor: Director of Chinese Affairs for the US State Department and former Peace Corp Director Kent Wiedemann (I-OR) {since 1997}
Chief National Security Advisor: former US House Speaker Robert Smith Walker (R-PA) {since 1997}
Director of the Office of Management and Budget: financial advisor, author, and founder of Orman Financial Group Susan Lynn Orman (I-IL) {since 1997}
WH Press Secretary: campaign press secretary Andrew J. Duck (D-MD) {since 1997}

To Australia: Governor and former businessman Fred Hemmings (R-HI) {since 1997}
To China: former US Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord (R-NY) {since 1997}
To Colombia: US Ambassador to Venezuela, former US Ambassador to Cuba and former US Ambassador to Chile Charles A. Gillespie Jr. (R-CA) {since 1997}
To Germany: Governor Gloria A. Decker (R-NJ) {since 1993}
To Japan: US Ambassador to Indonesia, former US Ambassador to China, and former US Ambassador to Hong Kong J. Stapleton Roy (I-DC) {since 1997}
To Korea: US Representative Jay Chang Joon Kim (R-CA) {since 1996}
To Mexico: former US Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan Jr. (R-NM) {since 1997}
To Russia: former Governor Ann Bedsole (R-AL) {since 1993}
To the U.K.: former US Representative Richard Keith “Dick” Armey (R-TX) {since 1996}
To the U.N.: diplomat, business executive, former TXGOP Chairman and former US Representative George Bush (R-TX) {since 1993}

Solicitor General: attorney and US Deputy Attorney General Thomas “Tom” Liddy (R-AZ) {since 1997}
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman: US Army General and Supreme Allied Commander Europe John M. D. Shalikashvili (I-DC) {since 1997}
Federal Reserve Chairman: former US Representative and Chairperson of the US International Trade Commission John Kasich (R-OH) {since 1997}
NASA Administrator: Deputy NASA Administrator Dale Dehaven Myers (D-WA) {since 1993}


Kim Young-sam quickly became aware of the price tag of victory. It was going to be extremely expensive to modernize North Korea. Hundreds of billions of dollars, by most estimates. The former Northerners required re-education, medical care, housing, and employment. The costs of therapy for those who suffered mental and physical anguish at the hands of the Kim regime, high-security prisons for former DPRK leaders, and so much more were added to the victorious government’s list of responsibilities. Additionally, continued suspicion of insurrection from communist diehards, while a weak and pathetic cult-like collection of holdouts, was nevertheless taken very seriously by the emboldened Korean military [3].

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010

…Additional “reabsorption” plans were announced by the Korean government on January 29, 1997. Due to the cultural and even linguistic differences from nearly 50 years of separation, complete “merging” of the northern provinces into the economies and infrastructures of the southern provinces would occur over the course of ten years, aiming to end in 2006. The northern provinces were administered militarily until these plans were announcement; after them, they were treated more like territories with federally-appointed province leaders; they aimed to allow the provinces to host local elections as early as 2001. The UN approved of the government’s administrative plan, as did China due to Dinger sticking to his then-still-unofficial pledge to not build any US military bases in the former DPRK. PRC hardliners, though, wanted American troops to leave the peninsula altogether, (Chairman Zhu’s Defense Minister famously bellowed “no more North, no more need!” in English to American reporters in Beijing on January 30, 1997), but Zhu believes that to aggressively push the US off the landmass was not viable in the face of international praise of the US-SK Alliance’s swift toppling of the Kim regime.

Documents declassified in 2009 reveal that additional back-channel talks commenced in late January, in which Dinger promised Zhu that American troop presence would be down to their lowest numbers in decades within a decade, but would be even sooner if order returned to the North. This incentivized Zhu to encourage the PRC hardliners to amp up their calls for US withdrawal in order to “apply the pressure of the ticking clock” to American forces stationed in the former DPRK…

– Ken Armstrong’s 1996: The Second Korean War, Simon & Schuster, 2012

“I’ve never met Mr. Lennon for more than a handshake’s worth of seconds, so I don’t know that well, and so I don’t know what went through his mind when he thought it was a good idea to abandon the innocents of North Korea. I will concede, I also opposed the war when it first broke out. But I am not a politician. Mr. Lennon was in charge, in control, and in command. He knew more about the war and the conditions in the north than me or my husband Tommy or anyone not in government ever could have known. He knew, and he should have supported the liberation of those poor souls. Shame on him! Shame on you, Mr. Lennon!”

– Musician, artist, singer-songwriter and activist Yoko Ono, 2/2/1997

As it turned out, China was needed in “social reunification” efforts in Korea, playing a vital role in ending hostilities on the peninsula, because the formerly North Korean people had been taught that China was their ally. Thus, the “brainwashed” masses were much more willing to listen to representatives of the PRC than to those of the ROK or the USA. The “Reconciliation period” seemed much like couple’s therapy, but for the roughly 40,000 Northerners still swearing allegiance to the Kim family. Zhu offered his services to United Korea, and his efforts to help them approach these 40,000 or so, dubbed “The Reluctants,” slowly improved PRC-ROK relations.


Above: Zhu, pointing and smiling at the Korean press ahead of a 9 February 1997 meeting with Korean President Kim Young-sam in Seoul, Korea.

– Shan Li’s China in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge Press, 2003

…The Denton administration’s method of targeting “demand” on the streets, instead of the source of supply, led to the imprisoning of millions of American citizens who suffered from addiction, resulting in stigmatization and lost lives without any lasting or impactful effect on the recreadrug crisis. Their secondary method was the one that targeted supply, by going after drug dealers and drug makers; this, however, only created a game of whack-a-mole as promises of high profits continued to attract more of both. Illegal selling, distribution and consumption of fentanyl, heroin, crack/cocaine, and methamphetamines only continued, contributing to the public health crisis and muddying the waters surrounding marijuana. Solving the drug problem required a plan would bring about the erosion of the cartels’ business models, not imprison their victims or play cat-and-mouse with their lackeys. In early 1997, the Dinger administration shifted its focus from buyers and sellers to the financial sources of cartels’ powers to begin with. In February of that year, Dinger doubled the budget of the US Border Patrol for inspecting cargo containers going through all ports and entry-points. The US Postmaster General’s suddenly started getting national attention, as the department was tasked with monitoring and inspecting what people sent through the US postal service, and thus prompting many progressive activists to question the constitutionality of what they viewed as a violation of privacy?). The administration worked on intelligence gathering in collaboration with the governments of several Latin American countries, and on improving trade security measurement with those same nations as well...

– Christopher M. White’s The War on Recreadrugs: A History, Routledge, 2019


…Kenny Rogers’ Roasters are now seeking to open up more outlets, both north and south of the former DMZ line…

BusinessWeek, mid-February 1997 issue

NATURE SHOCK: Canada Must Take Action Now To Avoid Ecological Disaster In The Next Millennium

– The Calgary Sun, Canadian newspaper, 2/19/1997 editorial

20 February 1997: on this day in history, the Kantanka car company Kantanka Automobile released its first CBU (Complete Built Unit) vehicle. Founded in 1994 by Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, the automotive manufacturing company quickly grew in the growth that followed the 1992-1994 Ghana Civil War. Kantanka Automobile takes great pride in working with local businesses for materials and components, and in hiring and training low-educated Ghanans to give them valuable working skills.


…With his approval ratings at an all-time low and members of the opposition trying to brand him as a “communist sympathizer,” the Prime Minister knew verbally denouncing the Kim regime over and over was not enough. On February 24, Lennon flew to Pyongyang in an elaborate publicity stunt. The city was reminiscent of London during the Blitz, with the addition of vandalized painted murals, frescoes, statues, and other propagandistic advertisements of the Kim Dynasty’s supposed glory. Lennon met with local leaders and toured orphanages and food distribution centers, all while talking about how to help the local survivors as quickly as possible, “these people need some helpful helping hands in the short term so they can stand on their own feet in the long term, and the peninsula can’t go at it alone.” Once back in London, Lennon began his quest to have the UK be the leading nation in humanitarian efforts in Korea, in order to make up for opposing the “war of liberation” (as some Conservatives who truly disliked Lennon spitefully called it) back in January 1996…

– Jacqueline Edmondson’s A Legend’s Biography: The Lives And Times of John Lennon, London Times Books, 2010

…Soon enough, another incident gave fodder to Kathleen Brown’s defense of her controversial mental health policy. On March 1, 1997, Bonnie Nettles of Mariposa was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility; Nettles, believing herself to be “the female reincarnation of Jesus,” had formed a small cult of 29 followers who had planned to gather in Yosemite National Park for a mass suicide on Christmas 1996, only for their event to be interrupted by state police [4]. The subsequent news coverage made Nettles and her cult a major talking point for those who believe that the social need for mental health care reform needed to be implemented at the federal level, possibly by amending it to or having it be covered by the 1990 UHC Act...

– Robert Wilder’s The Politics of Mental Health Services and Societal Protection in California, University of Sacramento Press, 2017

6 March 1997: on this day in history, American rapper Biggie Smalls released his 3rd album. Entitled “First To Last,” the album was widely successful, and featured production contributions from several young rap up-and-comers such as The Neptunes, Charli Baltimore, Timbaland, and others.



After 32 months of debate, which included two federal commissions to study gun violence trends, the Firearm Responsibility Act was signed into law today at the White House. Bipartisanship was not required due to the Republican Party’s D.C. “trifecta,” controlling the White House and a majority of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress; nevertheless, the bill, which had been worked on since June 1995, was supported by a majority of Democrats and nearly all Republicans on the hill. Thi8s bill, meant to curb gun violence in response to the assassination of President Iacocca, raises the federal minimum age for buying firearms from 18 to 21, except in Washington, D.C. and all US territories. The bill also mandates that a waiting period of no less than a week be established at all state levels, as well as background checks for all gun buyers. Further guidelines on the transfer of firearms across state lines are also imposed, as well as several other aspects that the champions of this bill believe with lead to a drop in gun violence and a rise in “Troubled Americans” seeking out “mental health assistance” instead of resort to violence. Here’s hoping.

The Washington Post, 3/12/1997

…In 1995, after Bryan Hillenburg floated the idea to representatives of Klasky Csupo, an animation company founded in 1982 known for producing children’s animation, the idea of producing an animated series based on the successful SpongeBob’s commercials was proposed to Stephen Hillenburg. Executives in SpongeBob’s marketing department leaped at the idea, comparing the concept as “a new level” in advertising. Stephen Hillenburg was reportedly opposed to the notion, calling it “blatant commercialism,” and not wanting such a notion to potentially “open the floodgates” and encourage other companies to make children’s programming for the sole purpose of selling products, despite being aware of precedence for such endeavors (as he reportedly declared "This is not General Electric Theater"). However, Hillenburg was a practitioner of Robert K. Greenleaf’s “servant leadership” philosophy, and thus put the matter to a vote at a union-managers meeting in early 1996; according to Bryan Hillenburg, over 75% of workers from all franchisees voted in favor of expanding into the Saturday Morning Cartoon industry.

In 1996, Klasky Csupo, in collaboration with DDB Needham, who held some distribution and merchandising rights but not intellectual property rights, began production on “The SpongeBob Zone,” colloquially known as simply “SpongeBob” or “The SpongeBob Show.” Based on the underwater world glimpsed at in the highly successful commercials airing since 1994 and centered around the chain's mascot (who was finally given the surname "SquarePants"), the production began on the series in collaboration with the SpongeBob Seafood Corporation, and with Stephen Hillenburg in particular; he insisted “we don’t shove a product into the kids’ faces every two minutes. Kids don’t respond to that. Have the characters simply use the soda fountain, show them eating the food while going on their adventures, show them having fun, and with the restaurant being an almost incidental part of it.”


The first episode aired on March 18, 1997. Set almost entirely within an underwater outlet of the SpongeBob’s restaurant franchise, meant to be “the original” restaurant, the titular character agrees to ditch work to hang out with his friend Patrick, only to yearn to return to the job he enjoys, and continuously delays leaving until closing time. The episode was a hit with children, while parental and educational “watch groups” appreciated the story not focusing on the products as many of them had apparently feared it would. While elaborate commercials for the franchise are still made today, the SpongeBob series would only last for five seasons…



…The 1996 state court ruling that upheld a state law that prevents employers from preventing employees from voting or firing them for taking time off work to exercise said employee’s right to vote, provided that the employee can prove that he spent his time off work going to vote. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the bill by a margin of 7-3. Already, this decision has lead to several pro-business GOP US Representatives calling for an increase mail voting, arguing that it will render such laws moot if employees can vote from home. Calls for a bill expanding availability of mail voting may pick up support from rural areas, where geographical distance discourages drives into town, even for practicing in the democratic process...

The New York Times, 3/22/1997

The Korean Northern Provinces Renewal Assistance Bill was dubbed “A Marshall Plan for the North” by Newsweek upon its introduction in the Senate on March 26. Initiated by the State and Defense departments and by US Senator Richard "Dick" Obenshain in order to limited the influence of communism on the north (due to China’s own contributions to redeveloping said provinces), several fiscally-conscious and libertarian-leaning Republicans in the House nevertheless opposed the notion spending huge amounts of money to keep Korea financially sound. Already, guns-for-food drives had began established to try and demilitarize the region, and free health treatments were being offered by numerous charities. However, the KNPRA bill aimed to invest in modern technology and farming techniques in order to help the southern provinces bring the northern provinces into the modern world. Still, it would be a monumental undertaking; “Never before has an advanced state like the former South Korea had to fully integrate such a backwards third-world territory like the former North Korea,” as Obenshain put it in 2004.

– Edward Gulio Romano III’s LMD: A Study of The Dinger Days, Sunrise Publishers, 2020

Potatoes. They were the key to feeding the North. First introduced in northern Korea in the early 1800s, cultivation of this crop in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea exploded in the post-KW2 era. After a year of test-running, the United Korean government officially designated over 250,000 hectares of terrain for cultivation in March 1997. Experts flew in from Italy, Greece, Russia, Ireland, China and the United States to train the locals on how to use the latest modernization techniques, and architecture and agricultural firms showed up to help build, renovate, and/or repair farms and storage facilities.

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010


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– President Dinger visiting an elementary school, late March 1997

…On April 2, 1997, freshman US Congressman Jim McGovern traveled to the North to study how the upper classes of the Kim regime had stockpiled food just prior to the war breaking out. He visited guarded semi-indoors farms, secluded and meant for personal use, and noted that the emergency temporary provincial governors were using them as large sources of immediate and fresh local food, but also noted that at the rate of use, there was usually not enough for all. After returning to DC, he began to work with local Korean government leader to discussion how to best implement food production methods, with the US Agriculture Department stepping in to help as well soon afterwards…

– Ken Armstrong’s 1996: The Second Korean War, Simon & Schuster, 2012


…the City of Angels voted overwhelmingly for US Congressman Nikolas “Nick” Patsaouras to be its new Mayor. …After incumbent Tom Bradley retired due to declining health, Patsaouras launched a populist-progressive campaign focused on gun safety and mental health reform. …With the city giving him the nickname “Nik-Pat,” Patsaouras, age 50, bested his Republican challenger, businessman Steve Soboroff by a margin of 22%. He will become the city’s first Greek-American Mayor upon entering office on July 1…

The Los Angeles Times, 4/9/1997

11 April 1997: on this day in history, Burger Czar opened its first store. The fast-food company was founded by Marc Benioff, a Californian of Russian Jewish heritage who developed an interest on science and technology at a young age but became interested in how to utilize software in the food industry during the 1980s. In the 1990s, Benioff teamed up with several former Burger King executives to launch a “state-of-the-art greasy spoon,” later giving it a Russian theme to make it “stand out.” Benioff used the on-line advertising capabilities of the technet to launch the brand “Burger Czar” in the most successful utilizing of the technet for commercial promotion.


UN’s North Korean Tribunal Update: Witnesses Paint Bleak Picture as Defense Fumbles

…prominent members of the political, military, judicial and economic leadership of North Korea, responsible for carrying out purges and hoarding food supplies for wealthy elites at a time of intense famine, have already been tried and found guilty, with most being sentenced to life in prison. Prosecution yet to occur concerns the personnel responsible for operating and managing labor camps and prison camps, those accused of crimes against humanity, and those accused of war crimes connected to the North Korean war-time scorched-earth policy…

The San Francisco Chronicle, 4/15/1997

…On April 18, 1997, Russian president Viktor Chernomyrdin announced that Russia’s space agency was resuming its Mars Program from the USSR era, which was founded in 1960 and was cancelled in the early 1980s [5]. Similar to the Lunokhod program of the 1970s, which sent Soviet Rovers to the Moon [6], Russia’s new “Project Besstrashiye (Fearlessness)” aimed to use proton rockets to land a manned crew on Mars in the year 2018 “if not sooner,” since that was the technology being developed since it was first used to deliver their contributions to the I.S.S. in the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, the European Space Agency was farther along in the race to see which nation could obtain which Mars-related accomplishments. On April 21, the ESA, via France’s space agency, launched the “Inquisitor” space probe from French Guiana in order to study the Red Planet’s polar ice deposits; four years and two months later, the probe discovered that there was enough water in Mars’ polar craters to support in theory a small human colony and a rocket fueling station [7] – again: in theory…

– researcher R. Cargill Hall’s Impact: The History of NASA, Dover Publications, 2018

After being “traumatized out” of politics and losing full custody to Sarah, Donald doubled-down on his plans for Venice Beach, Santa Monica. After financial flops in the early 1990s, Donald would do everything in his power to ensure Trump Sunrise Tower would be finished on time, and without going into debt for a third time. He was beginning a slow but sure rise back to the top of the heap.


Above: Trump Sunrise Tower

To cover costs, especially those he blamed on California’s liberal labor laws, he gave his name to multiple products. Donald soon became a spokesperson for these sponsors, which included Chick-fil-A and the fledgling Burger King. In one commercial for the latter, first aired April 24, Donald remarks “I was the King of the baseball square, and now I’m the King of architecture, but this guy right here, the Burger King, he’s the King of Burgers. Now King like him and me have to stick together. That’s why I always eat Burger King, and that’s why you’ll find a Burger King right in the Trump Sunrise Tower opening next Feb-oo-wary in L.A.” The Burger King mascot then hands Donald a burger. Donald unconvincingly pretends to inspect it, and then goes “Thanks, Kingy, I always have it my way at your place.” After the narrator speed-reads the specs, Donald concludes the bit with a conversation that trails off: “If you need a moat around this restaurant, I know just the guys for it…”

– Kate Bohner’s The Art of The Don: The Unofficial Biography of Donald Trump, Times Books, 2017 edition

…People associated with the Wide-Awakes soon began calling for US military invention in several African countries, most frequently the central African nation of Zaire – which changed its name in 1997 to the Democratic Republic of the Congo after President Mobutu Sese Seko was overthrown – over multiple incidents ranging from minor rioting to full-blown civil war. However, none of these conflicts were of great concern to the US, or to American citizens. In fact, one study published in April 1997 revealed that 80% of Americans were not aware of the civil conflict in Zaire when asked.

Nevertheless, multiple notable individuals began to either publicly ally or privately promote the Wide-Awake Movement. Some like Bruce Carroll Pierce (b. 1954), a white supremacist located in Montana, were on the fringe of political discussions as failed to make headlines, while controversial columnist Peter Brimelow (b. 1947) wrote many articles reflects WAM views. Ben Lewis Jones (b. 1941), a former actor who had been a member of the US House of Representatives since 1989, first as a Democrat from Georgia, and then as a Republican from Georgia after 1991, was arguable one of its most recognizable supporters. As a result, despite its heinous supporters, the Wide-Awakes raised the prominence of a debate being held among certain political circles that focused on the following question: “What exactly was ‘the cut-off’ for US military intervention?”

– Edward Gulio Romano III’s LMD: A Study of The Dinger Days, Sunrise Publishers, 2020


…the standard-bearer of “Pragmatic,” or “Pro-West,” faction of the ASU Party, the incumbent since 8 May 1991 won a second six-year term with nearly 58% of the vote. In the election, he defeated Ahmad Husayn Khudayir as-Samarrai (of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party (reformed)), who received approximately 28% of the vote, and Arif Abd ar-Razzaq (of the ASU’s “Moderate” faction), who received roughly 12% of the vote…

The Guardian, UK newspaper 1/5/1997


…President Dinger is engaging in dismantling the US’s nuclear own stockpile in order to “lead the world by example.” At its height in 1966, the US’s nuclear stockpile had 31,000 warheads, but is now down to less than 8,000; Dinger plans to cut that number down to 6,000 “before I [he] leave office.” The move is largely considered to be in response to unsubstantiated rumors and conspiracy theories claiming that nuclear material was stolen or smuggled out of the former North Korea prior to US-SK forces arriving. However, the move could possibly be to buck the “Wide-Awake” activists garnering attention from D.C. leaders, while still maintaining his “strong abroad and at home” stance. With the conclusion of the Cold War in 1984, the last American nuclear test occurred in 1986…

The Washington Post, 5/9/1997

“I think Kathleen Brown should be commended for her actions in California. They were not brash, they were bold. We need Brown’s brand of thinking in D.C.; that is why I am championing this legislation introduced in the Senate for mental health reform. To put it simply, this bill, if or when passed – and here’s hoping ‘when’ – will expand the expanse of the 1990 Universal Healthcare Act’s mental health care provisos. It’ll amend those provisos by making them also cover what we are calling ‘mental afflictions,’ which are basically debilitating conditions ranging from alcoholism and drug addiction to rage and anger management issues…”

– US Senator Terri McGovern (D-SD), Meet the Press interview, 5/14/1997

The biggest problem post-war Korea faced that had an international reverberation was arms trafficking. “In 12 years, Gunrunners have had two Christmases,” said former US Secretary of Defense William Westmoreland in a 1997 interview. “One was the fall of the USSR, the other was the Second Korea War. Now the Allies are focused on Chemical weapons, biological weapons, missiles, and so forth. So the AK Clones at Worker-Peasant Red Guards facilities? And the Makarov clones at the former DPRK storage facilities? They aren't going to guard them as closely.” Criticism of US-SK forces’ lack on properly obtaining or securing arms in the aftermath of the war seemingly fell on deaf ears as forces combated black market gangsters and anti-unification radicals sporadically sprouting up across the former DPRK. “Some buck Korean Private bored out of his mind? He can get a grand or two to ‘have a night on the town!’ The Allies aren’t worried because the AKs aren't weapons of mass destruction. Hell, I bet there are gun runners over there in the North right now who are basically being allowed to take guns, maybe with Kkhangpae help, maybe with fake CIA credentials, and everyone in the lowest rungs of the chain of command are just turning a blind eye to it!” [8]

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010

THOMPSON: "When the DPRK fell, it was the second time my line of work was busy, I mean I got into the business in 1985, it was just so much money in guns. The USSR shit the bed and it was a black market fire sale for YEARS! Fighter planes, tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers, attack helicopters, and warships. I mean I heard the Russians loved so much of one soda they sold a naval fleet to some soda company.
“The DPRK was harder, the tanks, and fighters, what was left, was better for scrap than war. But what interested me was the paramilitary and reserve arsenals. The first I saw were disappointing, either bombed out or destroyed but then came Hamhŭng! 49,000 Type 56 Clones! I mean the Type 56 is one of the larger batches of AK-47 clones out there! From there I hit the motherload at Sunch'ŏn I think it was the largest facility of weapons that the allies hadn't hit. I mean AK-47s, over a hundred thousand Tokarevs, I think they still had 20,000 Mosin–Nagants! 40,00 SKS's I mean that was huge! God that was where I first got the RPG7s, heavy machine guns and so forth. This was after the Korean mobsters and their spy minders came in and took what they wanted."

REPORTER: "So the Government let you take all those weapons?"

THOMPSON: "The CIA and whatever Korea's CIA is currently called took what they wanted and they allowed their Korean mafia friends to take a large share of the guns too."

REPORTER: "Why would spies allow a criminal group to take the weapons?"

THOMPSON: "Probably wanted to make sure they ran the black market, kept it controlled. That's what one of the Kkhangpae guys told me."

REPORTER: "And why would the Government allow that?"

THOMPSON: "Government authorities cared more about a peacenik with recreadrugs over a guy moving forty thousand AK-47s. And if they did care, I know the loopholes, the holes, and cracks to make them disappear. I mean you really think a bunch of CIA asshats give two fucks about John Q. Public? The CIA has only cared about keeping American interests protected and more importantly, American Business interests must be protected. Trust me I never liked the CIA but in this line of work, you become friends with spies. I never asked their names so I don't really care who they were. But you can tell the CIA if it is another white guy in far northern Korea, not wearing a uniform or press pass." [9]

– Interview with “Tommy Gun Thompson,” reclusive former arms trafficker, TumbleweedTV, 2016


The Washington Post, 5/20/1997

Anchor DAN RATHER: …We have some troubling news from Torreon, Durango, Mexico, where 11 Journalists and government officials have been killed in a cam bombing, likely planted by members of the expanding Sinaloa Cartel. At the moment, it appears that the deadly attack was in response to Mexican police killing one of the cartel’s regional leaders in a warehouse raid that happened earlier this month.


Former Ambassador to Mexico BEN FERNANDEZ: “The Sinaloa Cartel intimidate locals wanting to live in a safe, law-abiding society. And because the cartels do not just push recreadrugs – they pay off local police, elected officials, even teachers and business owners to look the other way. And locals, especially now that Mexico’s economy is in the toilet, are becoming trapped into a ruthless cycle of violence.”


Former US Secretary of Defense WILLIAM WESTMORELAND: “We need to give these cartels a kick in the pants. These cartels need to be taught the lesson that, in the long run, crime does not pay. …I don’t think working with Mexican law enforcement is working. These cartels are pushing recreadrugs onto America’s youth – that, if anything, would perfectly justify President Dinger ordering our troops to cross the border and settle this thing once and for all!”

– CBS Evening News, 5/29/1997

INTERVIEWER: “Can you let us in on anything about the upcoming Disney movie ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’?”

BULLOCK: “Well because I voice the Queen, I actually recorded a lot of dialogue with Kelsey Grammer, who plays both The King and The Court Jester. And, uh, he did a phenomenal job in my opinion. Having the dual role, I think, it really gave him an opportunity to show off both sides of his acting skills – the lovable goofy side shown of Frasier and Futurama, and the serious side shown in Periscope Down and his many leading theatrical roles – and in Frasier, too, now that I think about it!”

– Sandra Bullock interview, The Hollywood Reporter, 6/1/1997

…In the 1990s, fast-food companies were welcomed into school cafeterias because it helped fund the school lunch programs slowly being cut by state governments in response to spending cuts made under the Iacocca Administration and, to a greater extent, the Dinger Administration as well. By the end of the decade, surveys showed a large majority of public schools had contracts with at least one major (a.k.a. no less than 50 outlets) fast-food franchises…

– Josh Ozersky’s Colonel Sanders and the American Dream, University of Texas Press, 2012

…NASA ultimately announced that the administration would select the crew of the 2003 Mars Mission from American astronauts. Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev (b. 1958), a mechanical engineer cosmonaut, who flew on the I.S.S. and in the Shuttle-Mir Program, joined British astronaut Helen Sharman in calling for NASA to reconsider the policy, arguing it shut out the world’s best and brightest and made the mission a clearly American endeavor, instead of it being a global endeavor. Soon, French astronauts Jean-Loup Chretien, Michel Tognini, Jean-Pierre Haignere, Claudie Haignere, Leopold Eyharts began demanding they be vetted for a spot on the mission. German astronauts Klaus-Dietrich Flade, Ulf Merbold, Thomas Reiter, and Reinhold Ewald followed suit, as did Austrian astronaut Franz Viehbock and Slovakian astronaut Ivan Bella…

– researcher R. Cargill Hall’s Impact: The History of NASA, Dover Publications, 2018 edition


If you’ve ever traveled to Korea, you may have noticed a gray-haired southerner promoting chicken on posters, banners, billboards and other advertisements. Give these promotions more than just a passing glance, and you quickly realize they are not promoting Colonel Sander’s KFC, but Kenny Rogers’ KRR: Kenny Rogers Roasters. In a noticeable departure from its neighbors China and Japan, Korea has taken a liking not to the American icon of Kentucky Fried Chicken but to the American singer of “The Gambler” and “Lady.” Why? Because of timing, and bravery on Mr. Rogers’ part.

Kenny Rogers got into the food business through his music career, appearing in several commercials for the Dole Food Company. In 1991, believing that the Colonel’s passing would spell disaster for KFC, giving newcomers a chance to make a firm foothold in the fast-food chicken industry, Rogers ventured into a partnership with several former employees of Chick-fil-A, who had left that company over its founder’s religious practices allegedly “inhibiting fiscally-sound options.” Soon, later that same year, Kenny Rogers Roasters’ first restaurant had its grand opening in Rogers’ home town of Houston, Texas.

The menu of Kenny Rogers Roasters originally featured wood-fired rotisserie chicken, but by 1995, the menu had expanded to include turkey, ribs, and various side dishes. As a brand, Kenny Rogers Roasters advocates healthy eating as reflected in its brand tag line "less fat...less salt...less calories." The chain eventually grew to over 350 restaurants, including locations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The establishment became so well-known that the November 14, 1996 episode of the TV series “Seinfeld” (1989-2001), entitled "The Chicken Roaster,” centered around the character Kramer's love of Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken.

At the start of its history, Kenny Rogers Roasters found itself in competition with “Boston Chicken” and several smaller roasted chicken chains. Kentucky Fried Chicken also introduced a roasted chicken line of products called Rotisserie Gold to compete with Roasters and Boston Chicken in 1995. In December 1992, Clucker's, a smaller player in the roasted chicken market, sued Kenny Rogers Roasters, claiming the chain had copied its recipes and menus. The lawsuit continued until Kenny Rogers Roasters purchased a majority stake in Clucker’s in August 1994. [10]

With growing success and a legal battle ending with them as the victor, Rogers and his cohorts were feeling bold and ambitious. This drive lead to Rogers turning his attention to Korea once the Second Korean War began to wrap up. Upon the collapse of Communist Korea in 1996, American companies were wary of investing in the newly liberation country because of reports of black markets and mafias run rampant. Kenny Rogers’ supporters saw things differently, believing the land to instead be prime real estate. Kenny Rogers’ Roasters swiftly moved in on Korea, opening up an outlet in Pyongyang in late 1996 before expanding into Seoul and opening up a second outlet there in early 1997.


Above: a KRR outlet at a Seoul food court, c. summer 1997

And what was KFC doing during all this? Testing possible menu items. They came up with a u-shaped chicken being used as a hot dog bun, and flattened chicken being used for a proposed KFC Pizza chain. Yeah, they dropped the ball on this one big time. Granted, in KFC’s credit, the company also mobilized charities and charitable contributions for, and donated money to, redeveloping Korea.

Despite everything, it is now ten years later, and most Koreans, in a scene bizarre to most outside the country, associated Kenny Rogers with chicken dinner instead of Colonel Sanders.


North Korea’s primary economy in the immediate aftermath of the War of Reunification was the Black Market; maintained semi-discreetly under the Kim dynasty, smugglers and their compatriots boldly sold their wars out in the open as US-SK forces were initially stretched thin across the newly-liberated land. The Kkangpae of South Korea – the gangsters and thugs populating the south’s seedy underbelly – who were facing periodic crackdowns south of the DMZ, were quick to move in on the prime, newly-cleared real estate up north. As the months progressed, clashes between the Kkangpae and local Northerner mobsters clashed over turf. This allowed the Yakuza of Japan to seek to do business with rival groups on the Peninsula, often pitting groups against one another to have competition wipe each other out.

Thus, the US-SK Alliance went from combating one group – the DPRK military – to four rivaling groups – the Northern Black Market, the Kkangpae, and the “visiting” Yakuza. This situation meant that US Commander Gary Luck, his South Korean counterpart, soldiers on the ground, and diplomatic experts, all sought to combat organized crime without “tarnishing the brands” of democracy and market economics. Obviously, this was no easy undertaking.

Back in Japan, the surviving members of the Yamaguchi-gumi Yakuza group sought to reconquer ground lost to police and rival syndicates by cashing in on the sudden influx of formerly-DPRK guns being smuggled out of Korea...

– Alec Dubro and David E. Kaplan’s Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld, University of California Press, 2003

UNIDENTIFIED ADVISOR: The good news is that the Northerners who’ve emigrated south seem to have quickly likened to capitalism, likely thanks to humanitarian efforts led by the WHO, the UN, the US, Japan, the UK, Canada and other countries. The bad news is that some of them are being discriminated against. You can tell by their demeanor, their accent, and even their height.

KIM YOUNG-SAM: Terrible, but understandable. We lost a lot of good people to their side. No doubt, a lot of survivors and soldiers are angry over their loved ones, dead or still dying from the gases. In some people, that anger will never subside.

UNIDENTIFIED ADVISOR: But experiences of hospitality have been overwhelming more common for former Northerners – at least, initially. Now, though, now that the war’s been over for over a year now, uh, people are starting to notice more people in the cities more willing to do dirty jobs, low-paying jobs that are blissful compared to the hell they went through before the war. Southerner workers have higher standards and more demands from employees, so there is a big disconnect between how northerners and southerners view working conditions.

KIM YOUNG-SAM: Don’t tell me. We are heading towards a massive unemployment crisis in the south, aren’t we?

UNIDENTIFIED ADVISOR: Mm, more like an employment quality crisis, um, sir.

– Transcript of private recording, 6/21/1997

FORMER US SENATOR JACK RAESE: It is, to me, atrocious how Dinger and the Republican Senate are considering allocating, uh, redirecting funds from federal welfare programs to fund things like rebuilding Korea and combating drug lords in Mexico, both place where there ain’t that many Americans.

FORMER US DEFENSE SECRETARY ROCKY VERSACE: Well hey, in Dinger’s defense, the Balanced Budget Amendment is great in theory but really limiting in practice, and with Korea and recreadrugs being top priority, certain domestic programs have to, you know, temporarily take one for the team.

– TON Nighttime News, round-table debate, 6/27/1997

With the President and Congress disagreeing on funding for federal operations and agencies, the federal government came incredibly close to having a funding gap [11]. In such a scenario, non-essential personnel would be furloughed, temporarily leaving employment, and, in essence, the federal government systems’ processes would be disrupted. As a contingency plan, assistants for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole hired a private security company to patrol federal monuments in the event of a funding gap. The failure to adhere to the BBA would also prevent congress from working at proper capacity until the gap was closed, which would likely cause congressional leaders to shorten summer recess by a month to make up for lost time.

– Edward Gulio Romano III’s LMD: A Study of The Dinger Days, Sunrise Publishers, 2020

DINGER, SENATORS REACH FUNDING COMPROMISE: US To Limit Financial Loans To Korea To Avoid Cutting Domestic Food Aid Programs

The Washington Post, 6/30/1997


…according to observers, the bilateral discussions between US President Larry Dinger and Mexican President Luis Colosio over immigration law have borne fruit… there is a “very real and very likely chance” that a bilateral immigration policy treaty or act will be agreed to and signed early next year...

The Los Angeles Times, 7/15/1997

From my perspective, reunification and reconstruction in the North was going relatively well until July 18, when a cam bomb planted by a radical communist diehard in Tanchon killed three South Korean military officers, and injured 23 people total. Two days later, President Dinger announced that US peacekeeping forces would stay in the North “for as long as it takes.” The comments suggests an indefinite occupation, and resulted in France and Canada soon after announcing that they would be withdrawing their own troops from the peacekeeping coalition come September.

– Ken Armstrong’s 1996: The Second Korean War, Simon & Schuster, 2012


The territory of the former DPRK could have a high amount of rare earth elements nestled under its mountainous terrain. Given that it was a reclusive country until recently, these resources have not yet been exploited, which means that explorations of RE deposits have begun, and this could potentially upset the current global order. Just as the Cold War split the world along ideological lines, this trove of resources may create fissures between those who have access to its rare metal resources and those who do not. Because entire industries are built on a few rare metals, disruptions to their supply can have profound global implications while providing some countries with tremendous leverage. Conversely, the rise of a new possessor of such metals can lower the prominence and economic health of other countries and regions.

Erbium, Thulium, Cerium, Samarium, Lithium . . . these are some of the elements that under the “rare earth” label. Many of the technological advances that have been realized over the past few decades have elements derived from the seventeen elements of the periodic table.

Not insignificantly, rare earth elements are also an essential component for the arms industry. “Neodymium” is used to produce bombs, lasers, radars and sonars, “Dysprosium” for missile guidance and video systems, and “Terbium” is used for electric motorization. The United States owns the third largest reserve in the world, with the Mountain Pass rare earth mine in California. That mine was the world’s leading producer until the 1980s, which is when China entered the element market and is poised to surpass the US in production fairly soon. The main factors in China’s market rise is the nation’s relative availability of cheap labor and a lack of concern over environmental and work conditions. It is not impossible for the new United Korean government to follow in China’s footsteps. Already, China’s Treasury and Mining ministers have met with Korea’s President Kim Young-sam.

Recent studies suggest that the area once known as North Korea could in fact have some largest reserves of rare earth materials in the world. These deposits cannot at present be exploited, however, due to a lack of infrastructure and workers in the region, as the Kim dynasty failed to update their mining system for years, and as more and more “Northerners” emigrate to south of the former DMZ. Implementing the proper infrastructure needing to mineral extraction will increase the costs of starting said mining projects, create higher operating costs, and lead to the production of more expensive metals. On top of feeding, housing and treats the health issues of millions of ex-northerners, it is debatable whether or not United Korea will be able to afford such an investment despite its high chance of rewarding results.

The Jongju site, in the former North Korea, is home to nearly 216.2 million tons of rare earth oxides, double the known world reserves. In terms of monetary value, if these figures are accurate, United Korea officials estimate the value of these mineral resources to be no less than around roughly $1.752 billion [12]. According to the Korea Resources Corporation (KORES) report, the former North Korean provinces collectively could hold vast amounts of magnesite (six billion tons), graphite (two billion tons), iron ore (five billion tons) and tungsten (250,000 tons). [13] If projections are correct, and businesses and consumers continue to pay attention to alternative energy forms requiring such elements – from solar panels to wind turbines to electric-battery vehicles – the country of Korea could become a key player in the rare earth industry, with the United States and China as its main potential buyers.

The Financial Times, UK newspaper, 21/7/1997

…John A. Davis pitched the concept of Jimmy Neutron to Warner Bro’s Nickelodeon network in the fall of 1995; executives immediately expressed interest in the series due to its characters’ personalities, and greenlit a series after a “pilot short” was completed in 1996. The Overmyer Network purchased the distribution rights to it in 1997, ahead of its full-length pilot premiering on July 25, 1997. The series’ CRI animation was considered groundbreaking at the time, arguably rivaling Disney’s Toy Story from just a few years before. However, its character models were slightly enhanced for its second season, and were given greater detail and more realistic movement when production began on the 2002 Jimmy Neutron film, which may or may not have been initially greenlit in an attempt to capitalize on the 2003 Mars Mission that captivated millions and dominated over a large part of popular culture during the late 1990s and early 2000s…

– Kristen Whissel’s CRI: Computer-Rendered Imagery And The History Special Effects of the Computer Age, Penguin Publishing, 2013

On August 1, 1997, Dave Foley had his first “breakout” role, thanks to getting Award-winning A-list stars such as Kelly Preston and George Clooney so play supporting roles in the comedy film “The Wrong Guy.” The story followed a fired employee who flees to Mexico after finding his boss murdered and falsely believing he’s been framed for it. …The film had minor cameos from fellow members of The Kids In The Hall TV series; the film also jabs at the poor reception The KITH Movie received upon its release over a year earlier in a quick visual gag…


Above: Foley appeared on The Tonight Show With David Letterman on July 26 to promote the film

– James A. Miller and Tom Shales’ The Comedy Wars: SNL vs. CSTV, Vanguard Publishing, 2016 edition


…a deadly riot snowballed into a major conflict between Indian and Pakistani troops in the biggest outbreak of warfare between the two nations since hostilities seemingly subsided in the wake of the 1989 India-Pakistan Peace Treaty…

The Guardian, UK newspaper, 30/7/1997

“…I defected at just the right time, it seems to me. When the gun smoke settled, I became involved in obtaining food donations for the husk of my former country. But I kept my face out of things. No, I kept a low profile and worked as a liaison of sorts between local governments, food companies, food charities, and the US and SK governments. Most importantly, though, is that I helped the North adapt to and adopt the advanced technology pouring in from the South…”

– So Kwan-hui, former Minister of Agriculture for North Korea, 2007 interview


…former US Senator Joe Biden has backed legislation that will increase federal prison funds, saying to members of the press earlier today that the President’s budget proposals for FY1997 work against his own administration’s goals: “These types of budget cuts certainly would seem to contradict a serious effort to develop a federal drug strategy” [14]. Praising his former colleague’s ongoing efforts to curb illegal drug use, Biden’s comment come at a time when crack cocaine is at the center of a growing debate on the nature of recreadrugs and their place in both American society and America’s legal system. Year after year, more people are coming out in support of legalizing either medical marijuana or both medical and recreational marijuana, for financial and/or medical reasons. “The nation is under siege, a siege conducted by illicit narcotics, they’ve infiltrated America’s inner cities and the South, they’re plaguing the poor, the juvenile, it’s a mess and we’ve got to clean it up before it gets worse,” says Biden...

The Washington Post, 8/8/1996

…The “Kotjebi” orphans of Korea were sent to foster homes and into the orphanage system established in South Korea with help from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity religious congregation. …US Representatives Steven Craig Gunderson (R-WI) joined fellow Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and several other American lawmakers working on programs to feed the food-insecure children and ensure they were sent to good families and orphanages. Child adoption agencies in the states, Europe, and elsewhere did their part in pushing for prospective adoptive parents to consider adopting a Kotjebi…

– Jang Jin-Sung, Yeonmi Park, and Maryanne Vollers’ In Order To Live: Tales of Surviving The Great Korean Famine, Red Sun Press, 2016


[pic: ]

– US President Larry Dinger discusses post-war renewal efforts and security queries with United Korean President Kim Young-sam and US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell at Camp David, 8/11/1997

August 14: The I.S.S. observes, monitors and records the largest-yet collection of sub-millimeter wave emission lines of trace gas molecules in the stratosphere. The recording is made onboard the I.S.S. Module “Champion,” made by the European Space Agency, which was found in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France.



…however, the United Korean government noted that several high-profile individuals are still at large, and will be brought to justice if/when apprehended…

The Washington Post, 8/19/1997

As mentioned previously, the Three-Day War of 1995 was a debilitating misstep on the part of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. His attempt to bombard Israel and lead other nations against them over an overblown local incident instead led to multiple regional powers coming to Israel’s defense, albeit to protect their financial investments in Israel’s economy. In its aftermath, Syria was left diplomatically isolated. Assad granting political asylum to former members of the DPRK military and political elite only worsened his reputation on the world stage. Inside Syria, though, his cult of personality kept a thin majority of Syrians supportive of his regime. Instead, it seems the place where these miscalculations had the most impact was Assad’s physical health, as he reportedly suffered yet another heart attack in November 1996.

By the summer of 1997, Assad’s health had deteriorated significantly; western diplomats reported the leader struggled to stay focused and at times even awake during meetings; increased seclusion from day-to-day government affairs led to the government operating largely without his input. On August 25, Assad suffered a third heart attack, brought on by a sudden resurgence of his phlebitis condition and complications to his diabetes. This time, it was fatal; he was 66.

The death of Assad immediately triggered a succession crisis. Assad’s 35-year-old son Bassel “The Golden Knight” Assad had long been groomed for the office, but had not yet taken the proper position of Vice President in the Syrian line of Presidential succession, as the nation’s succession laws had not yet been amended. As a result, Abdul Halim Khaddam became President. Bassel at first believed Khaddam would serve as an “Acting President” at step aside for “the heir apparent” soon, only for Khaddam to immediately declare that he was “undisputedly, undeniably, and unquestionably in command.” Immediately, several military leaders sided with Bassel (but not all, as the Assad family had soured on many in the military due to them blaming Hafez for “losing” the Three-Day War), while nearly all political leaders sided with Khaddam. Calling their actions a “treasonous coup,” Assad declared himself “the rightful President.” Supporters of the two men locked in a power struggle escalated the situation with riots as civil warfare broke out across the country. The Syrian Civil War of the late 1990s had begun.

– David Tal’s US Strategic Arms Policy After the Cold War: Globalization & Technological Modernization, Routledge, 2020


– The Washington Post, 8/30/1997

NEW BOB ROSS NATURE SHOW FOR KIDS PREMIERS: Painter Promotes The Beauty of The Planet


[pic: ]

…the former Governor of Alaska and art instructor on public access TV has developed a children’s show about wildlife in order to “branch out from art and” promote actively helping to protect and preserve Mother Nature. “In his last year in office, amid his medical and health problems, Bob held onto an idea for a kids’ show called Bob’s World, where he went out into nature and taught kids about wildlife,” explains his former Chief of Staff…

– The Anchorage Daily News, 9/3/1997

…On September 5, 1997, the International Olympic Committee announced that they had chosen Beijing, China to host the 2004 Olympics, having defeated Athens, Rome, Cape Town, Stockholm, Oslo and Buenos Aires in six rounds of voting; Rome was the runner-up. Chairman Zhu’s single 12-year term was scheduled to end on June 21, 2004, and though these games were set to be held two months later, in August, Zhu considered them to be “the true and proper conclusion” to his time in power. Beijing was chosen in 1997 for 2004 after being rejected for the 2000 Olympics back in 1993 due to the changes in geopolitical circumstances since that time. The regional threat of the Kim regime was no longer an issue, and because of Zhu’s labor improvements in the past five years, manual workers in China were experienced relatively better standards. Naturally, protests still broke out over the selection, but they failed to change the IOC’s decision – at least, as of the time of my writing this, that is…

– Shan Li’s China in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge Press, 2003

REVERED MOTHER TERESA DIES! “Angel of Mercy” Suffers Fatal Heart Attack, Aged 87

…the Nobel Prize-winning champion of the poor will be buried Wednesday beneath Calcutta Chapel…

– The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/6/1997

“Handling the anti-Norther Southies and the Northers themselves was complicated. On one hand, it was hard enough to tell the two groups apart, but they basically spoke the same language, too. But, thank Jesus, there were telling signs. Northers were shorter and thinner, and spoke with a slight accent, like someone who wasn’t too educated, at least according to the Southies I talked to while I was over there. All sounds the same to me, to be honest. But more telling was that many Southies could speak English but no Northers could, none at all. So if you spoke to a Korean and they just looked at you in confusion, and they short, and they thin, then you may have to a Norther in front of you.”

– Veteran James L. Jones Jr., 2006

MEXICO’S MONEY MELEES: Shaky Economy Giving Investors Pause

…US analysts are also wondering how soon America will feel the effects of Mexico’s recession. “Scores of produce and merchandise sold in the US come from across the border,” says former US Ambassador to Mexico Ben Fernandez, “And with Mexico essentially going bankrupt, banks are foreclosing on farms and factories, worsening the problem as people lose work and American companies have to scramble to figure out how to meet consumer demand. The situation in Mexico is only worsening at the moment, and so, right now, it’s a question of when America’s economy will feel the effects of this, not if we’ll feel its effects.”

The Wall Street Journal, 9/13/1997

MASSACRE! GUNFIGHT AT US-MEXICO BORDER LEAVES 17 DEAD NEAR EL PASO!; 5 Border Agents Killed Stopping Cartel Smuggling Attempt

– The New York Times, 9/18/1997

“I have met with the President of Mexico and he and President Dinger are in agreement; the heinous acts of the scourges plaguing both countries merit further investments, involvement, and dedication to combating them and their suppliers.”

– US Secretary of Defense John McCain, 9/17/1997

…When The Whoop-Ass Girls began being advertised ahead of its September 19, 1997 premier, the “Ass” part of its controversial title was always censored with a character standing or flying in front of it. Outside of the United States, such in TV stations across Europe, the series was instead called The Power Punch Girls… The Overmyer Network’s Ton-o-Toons’ airing of The Whoop-Ass Girls came during an era of animation that “pushed the envelope,” as Joe Murray, creator of Rocko’s Modern Life (1992-1997) once put it; an era that saw many animated TV shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Futurama and High High either lightly touch on or deeply explore controversial material and subjects despite some of these shows being meant for young or younger audiences…


…Depending on the type, a potato can take anywhere from 70 to 130 frost-free days to reach harvest. By September 1997, the North’s first post-war potato crop output was undoubtedly a success, ensuring locals would be fed that winter.


Above: farmers harvest potatoes with sacks and a repaired truck; a brand-new tractor is in the background

News of the successful harvest lead to many northerners emigrate back to their former homes from their new residents in the South, though most chose to continue to remain in the more “established” southern provinces. Nonetheless, experts took note of the soil composition in the north, and began considering establishing hydroponic farms to counter the regions’ small amount of actually workable arable land. The first hydroponics farm was established in Pyongyang by the end of the year….

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010

Meanwhile, KFC’s newest offerings such as the “hot chicken dog” – a hot dog with a thick u-shaped piece of breaded chicken in lieu of a traditional hotdog bun, introduced in July – and the “KFC Pizza” – basically, just KFC popcorn chicken on top of a cheese pizza, introduced in September 1996 – proved to have underwhelming long-term sales once the hype wore off. The company took this to mean these items were “disastrously unpopular,” when they instead only were able to develop minor niche followings. Rumors of the company actually making less money in the upcoming Fiscal Year than in the previous FY, which would be the first time such a downward trend would occur for the company since the Crash of 1978 constricted American spending habits, began to spread in the face of financial losses connected to the dog, the ’za, and the company investing in post-war Korean recovery with considerate charitable donations but only one franchise outlet (in Pyongyang)…

– Marlona Ruggles Ice’s A Kentucky-Fried Phoenix: The Post-Colonel History of Most Famous Birds In The World, Hawkins E-Publications, 2020

…In Washington, D.C., Senator Ralph Nader, a public safety advocate who rose to prominence by opposing the car industry, is now working with car companies to promote the self-driving car. Early testing of second-generation Chrysler EPIC, or Electric Powered Interurban Chariot, a seater-minivan first built by the company in 1993, has led to researchers concluding that these new cars are more environmentally friendly than regular cars. Testing of Ford’s Ranger EV, a battery-powered compact pickup, have also suggested that that pickup may be better for the environment than typical gas-powered vehicles. As a result, Nader is calling for tax incentives to promote car companies making more such cars. The recent resurgence in electrically-charged cars comes after years of the technology become more commonplace in the industry and easier in install into vehicles, thus lowering the price tag on these kind of cars. In turn, more people are buying these kind of vehicles…

– ABC Morning News, 10/1/1997 broadcast

…In London, England experts climatologists from around the world gathered today to coordinate G.C.D. Mobilization efforts. Leading scientific experts in the United States, meanwhile, are pushing for the creation of a multi-state initiative to combat the impact of carbon emissions on the global climate…

– CBS Evening News, 10/8/1997 broadcast


…With Republicans firmly controlling both chambers of Congress, the GOP is successfully executing the Dinger White House’s plan to “strip” U.H.C., as US Senator Roberto Mondragon (D-NM) has called it, of “excessive parts of its cost,” as the White House Press Secretary has put it. Citing the constrains of the Balanced Budget Amendment, the Dinger administration is aiming for a more “efficient” welfare state, says the White House Press Secretary. The White House has also planned on coordinating with state governors so that rural areas can offer special programs and funding services to keep hospitals in said rural areas financial solvent...

The Washington Post, 10/14/1997

“DShk 1938. The Russian answer to the Browning .50 caliber machine gun. And there was the KPV, a 14.5mm machine gun. I sold hundreds of those but the customers that wanted that the most were the Mexican cartels. It was in a facility outside of Pyongyang where I found them. It was like Alibaba’s treasure cave. Just guns as far as I could see.

“The KPV turns people to mist, tears up most conventional vehicle armor for VIP protection, at least at the time. I mean we saw what it would do in Mexico a few years later. I mean those armored limos didn’t stand a chance.” I made a noise that sounded like a machine gun firing.

“So how many guns did you give the cartels of Mexico?” asked the reporter.

“Oh, I sold so many guns, I started a gun business in Central America. Of course, I stored most of my guns in the US, in California, my home state. From there and from Costa Rica and Panama, I sold to cartels, the Yakuza loved the handguns, but when they wanted a fight, an AK-47 was their pride and joy. The gangs in South Central LA, the remnants of the mob, nut jobs in the woods, and of course people who bought my guns to sell them.”

“So you’re businesses weren’t just a front?” the reporter asked.

“They may have been but it became so profitable I actually got some of the early rights to Korean made weapons in the states. The USAS-12 Autoshotgun was not my idea, but the Atchinson Automatic Shotgun? That was my baby. And when the American military bought it later in bulk? By god was I proud.” As a gunrunner, I smile. “Though even with so much Soviet style weapons I had to set up some facilities to make Soviet bullets for some of the guns, too.”

“But how did you even get the money to start your business in the first place?”

“Apart from my previous sales, I got a loan from a big bank; one of those guys I saw in Korea, I saw again in Mexico, but what floored me was seeing him at the bank I got the loan from. He had left the CIA at that time but made sure my loan got through good.”

The reporter asked another question – it was sort of a pattern with him. “You mean he was connected to the CIA?”

“I mean them Agency guys, they’re a bunch of East Coast preppies, but hey I am just a hyped up used car salesman that started making his own brand. But I know enough of them were involved in that shit in Korea and other areas that they did what I wanted often.” I smile again. “They can try all they want but I know a few of those shit birds that are in Congress and I can end their careers with the pictures and documents I have.” [15]

– Tommy Gun Thompson’s With Cold, Dead Eyes: A Gun Runner’s Confessions, Borders Books, 2015


The Washington Post, 10/17/1997


[pic: ]

– Musician Kurt Cobain messing around with statues of fast food icons, c. October 1997

This book is dedicated to all of my friends, for always putting up with me when they could have walked away at any time; to my parents, for always believing in me; and to James Trigg Adams Sr., my husband for many years and the father of my beloved children, who died at the age of 88 this past October.

– Margaret Sanders’ The Colonel’s Secret: Eleven Herbs and a Spicy Daughter, StarGroup International, 1997

“Republicans should be just fine on Tuesday, I really don’t think Democrats will perform well at all, especially not the progressive candidates on the ballot.”

– James Carville, former political advisor to John Glenn, TON Nighttime News, round-table discussion, 10/30/1997


…the popular incumbent NYC Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, won a second term tonight in landslide, winning over 70% of the vote in his defeat of his biggest challenger, former US Congressman Herman Badillo, who switched from being a Democrat to being a Republican less than a year ago…

The New York Times, 11/4/1997


…despite incumbent Governor George Allen (R) suffering from low approval ratings, state Attorney General Jim Gilmore (R) managed to pull off a narrow victory last night over Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer (D)…

– The Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11/5/1997


…On February 27, New Jersey Governor Maryanne Trump Giuliani (R) resigned from office after President Dinger appointed her to a Federal Circuit Judge amidst low approval polls and a surprisingly prominent gubernatorial primary challenge. Because New Jersey has no Lieutenant Governor, the President of the state Senate, Richard J. Codey (D), has been serving as Acting Governor since her resignation. Codey declined to run for a term of his, opting to instead continue to serve in the state senate, which he was done since 1978. With the race wide open, dark horse candidate Richard Pucci won the Democratic Nomination. Pucci, 51, was the Executive Director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority since its creation in 1989, and was the Mayor of Monroe Township, a rural-suburban community in central NJ, since 1987. This past Tuesday, Pucci defeated Republican challenger José F. Sosa, a 46-year-old Republican state assemblyman; Pucci won over elderly voters by touting his improvements of his town’s and his county’s hospital and retirement community systems.

Pucci faces several challenges left behind by Governor Giuliani. Upon entering office in January 1994, Giuliani kept to her campaign promise of lower state property taxes by 10% each year; this led to rising concerns over tax revenue shortfalls, which Giuliani failed to address, and refused to raise state income taxes to make up for the predicted budget shortfalls, instead promoting the Garden State to new businesses. Under Giuliani, the state’s recreadrug worries rose as the Governor refused to spend tax money on needle exchange programs to reduce drug-related infections and disease-spreading, and vetoed a state law meant to improve rehab clinic conditions...

The Washington Post, 11/6/1997


…after weeks of talks with several international leaders, including the leaders of Canada and France, Dinger has reversed his previous stance on US military presence in Korea. Dinger now plans on slowly withdrawing our troops from the region, and on decommissioning 50% of US military bases in the former South Korea territory by January 2001… This is currently uncertain if this development will lead to Canada and France rejoining the peacekeeping coalition in northern Korea…


Above: Dinger sits down with the Seoul-appointed interim Mayor of Pyongyang to discuss the possible use of US military troops in the former capital city as a form of “special security.” The idea was ultimately scrapped over concerns over PRC reaction to it.

The Los Angeles Times, 11/16/1997

TITANIC (1997)

Premiered: November 19, 1997 (U.S.)
Genre(s): epic/disaster/romance
Directed by: James Cameron
Written by: James Cameron
Produced by: James Cameron and Jon Landau

Chris O’Donnell as Jack Dawson
Claire Danes as Rose DuBois
Anna Lee as Elderly/Present-Day Rose
Matthew McConaughey as Cal Harkins
Frances McDonald as Ruth DuBois, Rose’s mother
Christopher Jones as Charles Barnes, Rose’s maternal grandfather
Bill Pullman as Brock Majors
Stephen Dorff as Tommy
Mikey Cuccione as Fabrizio
Kathy Bates as Margaret “Molly” Brown
Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews
Sean Connery as Captain Edward Smith
David Garrison as J. Bruce Ismay
See Full List Here


Trivia Facts:

Trivia Fact No. 1: Kevin Smith Unofficially Co-Wrote The Ending

The original ending was greatly different that what happens in the movie (warning: ruiners ahead). The difference between the original version and the final draft begins when Rose agrees to enter the lowering lifeboat while Jack and Cal stay on board to find another lifeboat despite both knowing there are none left. In the final version, Cal ends up chasing Jack through the sinking ship trying to kill him, leading to both of them end up on floating debris. As a result, all three are rescued, albeit at near-death, but each believe the other two are dead. However, when reunited at the dock in New York City, Cal confronts Rose and lambasts her siding with Jack over him, only for Rose, to her surprise, to receive support from her mother and other wealthy survivors who witnessed Jack’s heroic acts as the ship was sinking. In the original version, Rose irrationally climbs back onto the ship and Cal sneaks onto another lifeboat, similarly to the J. Bruce Ismay character’s actions, which is redundant. The story ended on a completely different and somber note, with Jack and Rose failing to find adequate debris to hold onto. According to these early script drafts, this leads to Rose holding onto a door that is, apparently, too small for Jack to also hold on to, and he DIES. That’s right - the story was going to steal half the ending of Romeo and Juliet and have Jack freeze to death in the water. The movie then would have shown Rose simply hiding from not only Cal for the rest of his life (how would she have pulled that off?), but, presumably, never meeting up with her mother ever again, as she changes her name and everything; talk about cold. Overall, the original ending left the characters’ fates too open-ended to be satisfying and left a bittersweet taste in Kevin Smith’s mouth. When Smith, Cameron’s budding apprentice, convinced Cameron to change the ending, Cameron was initially reluctant to because he wanted the audience to understand “how tragic this all was,” and so to make up for Jack surviving, more focus was given to other characters who die. The death of Rose’s grandfather was also written into the story for this reason as well, which is often considered one of the saddest scenes in the movie, if not the saddest.



…Pizza Hut, one of the largest pizza franchises in the country, introduced its stuffed-crust pizza option in March 1995, and immediately, it became an enormous success... The concept of filling the bread edge with cheese was concocted by Pizza Hut franchisee brothers Anthony and Lawrence Mongiello, who patented a stuffed pizza shell design in 1987; the two men ran a family restaurant before the 1978 economic crash ended the business, leading to the Mongiellos opening up a Pizza Hut outlet in 1985, and have jointly operated it since then [16]...

The Wall Street Journal, 12/1/1997

…Shymkent officially became United Turkestan’s new capital on December 4. The U.T.’s inaugural capital was Akmola (later Astana), Kazakhstan, but many political leaders had grown increasingly concerned over how far away it was from the other nation-states. By the start of the 1990s, the possibility of its location being more influential on local issues at the expense of the other nation-states in the central Asian political union led to the national government switching to a new location. The city of Shymkent, in southern Kazakhstan, was selected due to location, as it was much closer to the state capitals of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and less than half the distance to the state capital of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan than was Akmola...

– Ke Wang’s Turkestanis Unite!: The Rise And Execution of An Idea, Cambridge University Press, 2013

CAMEROON: The Latest Destination For Biofuel Companies

…the African country is teeming with palm oil plantations, making sub-Saharan land a “hot spot” for manufacturers and entrepreneurs with biofuel production on their minds…

Business Weekly, early December 1997 issue


…a quickly-rising star in the party, MP Michael Ignatieff has successfully challenged incumbent Labor Party leader Bill Hayden in a leadership spill, with all but one anti-incumbent candidate dropping out ahead of the election, which Ignatieff won on the first round. Ignatieff, a professor and writer who worked in the US, the UK, and Canada before moving to Australia, was drafted to run for the Labor party leadership by a faction of party member who believed Hayden would fail to win the next election scheduled for in or before November 1998…

The Australian, daily newspaper, 12/12/1997

I’m sure a lot of you have tripped out on alcohol. It’s a lot safer to do it on marijuana. …We have become a nation ruled by fear. Since the end of the Second World War, various political leaders have fostered fear in the American people – fear of communism, fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants, fear of people based on race and religion, fear of gays and lesbians in love who just want to get married and fear of people who are somehow different. It is fear that allows political leaders to manipulate us all and distort our national priorities. …I have supported progressive policies and candidacies through the Gravel Institute for over a decade now, and I cannot stay on the sidelines anymore. Not when our President decides against the progressive policies our nation needs. It’s high time I do something about this. And with Senator Obledo retiring and me having lived here since 1985, I’ve decided to run for Ol’ Mario’s seat!” [17]

– Former Vice President Mike Gravel, Eureka, CA, 12/15/1997 press announcement

...Ninety percent of Guyanans trace their roots to either India or Africa, and yet, in December 1997, the most popular politician in the South American nation was a white Jewish 77-year-old grandmother born and raised to American parents in Chicago, USA. On December 14, Janet Rosenberg Jagan was easily elected President of the only English-speaking country on the continent. Taking office on the 19th, Jagan had been Guyana’s Prime Minister since shortly after the death of her husband of 54 years, Cheddi Jagan, who served as President of Guyana from January 1992 until his sudden death from a heart attack five years later. As President, Jagan continued to push for the same policies promoted by her husband, and by the democratic socialist People’s Progressive party to which the two famous Jagans belonged. …With the space race unofficially restarting over the US’s goal to land on Mars in 2003, many space enthusiasts, including some members of NASA, began to take note of Jagan, and of her country’s close proximity to the equator…

– Uzo Marvin’s The History of Guyana, Independent Platforms Publishing, 2018


Premiered: December 20, 1997

Genre(s): political thriller, suspense, drama


Synopsis: George Clooney portrays Lynn Lowe, a lifelong Republican farmer who ended up serving as Governor of Arkansas from 1987 to 1991. The film covers his surprise upset victory win in a bad year for Republicans, and the accusations of corruption that led to him losing re-election in 1990.


Trivia Facts:

Trivia Fact No. 1: When the film premiered, Lowe was 60 and still politically active, working at the time as a committeeman for Arkansas’ GOP; upon watching the film, he angrily disapproved of Clooney’s “negative” depiction of him, of inaccuracies, and of the fact that he was not consulted during any phase of producing the film. Lowe sued Universal, and the film’s distributors, for slander in 1998; a state judge voted against Lowe that same year due to the nature of the film; “the Lynn Lowe case” soon became an example of the nuances of free speech laws and how films and works of fiction depict figures that are both living and historical at the same time.



…A possible cure for the ISF Virus, the virus that plagues the BLUTAG community, most noticeably in the 1980s, may have been discovered at a research center in Minnesota. Scientists have discovered a rare DNA mutation that prevents the Immunity System Failure Virus from infecting blood cells by testing the human mutation on ISF-positive chimpanzees. The group of humans who carry the mutation are naturally resistant to ISF, but their numbers are small. However, the doctors in question believe that maybe, if bone marrow donated from these persons have the same mutation, then it will be a major step in making people free of the ISR virus, too. [18] Relying on a “medical cocktail” that includes bone marrow replacement and stem cells, the scientists believe further research and study is needed to assure that transplants of the mutation will work in practice on humans, and how effective it is…

The New York Times, 12/28/1997

…The 1997 Presidential election was the first post-reunification Presidential election, and due to the high popularity of the term-limited incumbent President Young-sam, his preferred successor, conservative PM Lee Hoi-chang, was largely expected to win the election over liberal challenger, the peace activist and former Presidential candidate Kim Dae-jung (no relation to President Kim or the Kim Dynasty). Lee Hoi-chang won support from Minister Lee In-je and other potential challengers, essentially making the race a two-person contest. Lee’s campaign was hit by scandal at the last minute, though, over discrepancies concerning where his sons were during and after the January 1996 Siege of Seoul. Reporters soon revealed that not only had Lee’s two sons been twenty miles south of the city when the Siege of Seoul began (despite Lee Hoi-chang claiming his sons were in the city for its entirety), but that they had also evaded military conscription by shedding weight before their physical examinations in late February. Such cowardly activity was revealed to the public just two days before Election Day.

On December 18, opposition leader Kim Dae-jung won the election, 46%-to-52%. The remaining 2% went to several conservative write-in candidates; reportedly, 57 votes went to members of the former DPRK Kim dynasty. According to several exit polls, while Kim Young-sam’s approval rating was roughly 80% among Northerners who voted, over 90% of said Northerners voted for Dae-Jung. This was due to claims that Lee Hoi-chang was elitist, and because Northerners could relate to the trials and tribulations Dae-jung had lived through as a political prisoner during the 1970s and 1980s.

The election marked the first time in Korean history that a ruling party peacefully transferred power to a democratically elected opposing party. This turned out to be very pivotal in Northern-Southern relations; according to multiple surveys, after Northerners witnessed this peaceful transfer of power, support for democracy and the United Korean government among Northerners skyrocketed.

Being born on 6 January 1924, Kim Dae-jung was 74 when he entered office on 25 February 1998, promising to “heal the wounds of the past for the sake of the present and for the prosperity of our future”…

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010

[1] Compare this to OTL, where it was 68% no and 27% yes in 1996:
[2] Compare this to OTL, where it was 15% yes among Republicans, 33% yes among independents, and 33% among Democrats:
[3] Italicized bits written by @ajm8888
[4] Here, she never met Marshall Applewhite, and as a result, he continued to struggle with his personal religious and BLUTAGO-leaning problems, hopping around from job to job until suffering a nervous/mental breakdown in 1978. Financially-speaking, he loses everything in that year’s economic crash, leading to him jumping off a building and falling to his death in 1979 at the age of 48. Huh, I should have mentioned that in the 1979 chapter(s); maybe I’ll go back and edit it in…
[5] OTL! It lasted from 1960 to 1973 IRL:
[6] Also OTL
[7] Apparently, this water amount is OTL and this is a real theory (though it was discovered a wee bit later in OTL)!
[8] Italicized bits written by @ajm8888
[9] This entire segment was written by @ajm8888, I just did some light editing on it
[10] Italicized parts are from here:
[11] TTL’s version of a government shutdown, though here it is more associated with the feds failing to balance the budget
[12] It was $2,800 billion in the article, so I adjusted it to 1997 dollars via this site here:
[13] Italicized passages are pulled from this OTL article:
[14] OTL quote, according to an article from The Guardian.
[15] This entire segment was written by @ajm8888, I just did some light editing on it; also, no, Tommy Gun Thompson is not OTL Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, its just a gunrunner/international criminal’s pseudonym
[16] In OTL, these two guys actually sued Pizza Hut for stealing their idea:
[17] The parts in italics are OTL Gravel quotes found on
[18] Italicized bits are from here:

The next chapter’s E.T.A.: July 31 at the very latest!
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How's Ireland doing? The mid-90s was when the economy really began to grow and led to the Celtic Tiger boom. The overall nature of this timeline makes me think any economic growth will be much more tempered here. But who knows, maybe the Northern Ireland Peace Accords in the 70s have led to more investment in ireland sooner and butterflied the whole 90s boom away
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I wonder what the exposure of SpongeBob Squarepants, the show, is like TTL. Does it stay a niche show that's mainly confined to the countries where the restaurant is located in? Does it match the popularity of OTL SpongeBob, possibly being more popular than the restaurant in some degree (with exposure in countries where the restaurant isn't located yet, thus giving potential avenues to expand)? It really makes me wonder, especially being familiar with the 2000s fever for the show that I personally experienced in Europe.
Excellent question! Hillenburg cares about the quality of the show like in OTL, so it won't be a shameless cash grab; the latter may be more likely, then, right? What do you think? (I'll cover it in either 1998 or 1999)
I suppose it all depends on the interests of all parties involved (Hillenburg, S.B.S.C. execs, DDB Needham, Klasky Csupo, etc.) and what those interests are, whether or not SpongeBob the show is licensed out (whether for airing in English, airing with subs, or getting a dubbing company to make a dub for a given market) in the same/similar fashion as OTL SpongeBob.

For instance, in Europe, there's the German sea food fast food chain Nordsee, primarily focused in Germany and Austria. According to the German Wikipedia article, in 1997, it was sold to Apax Partners, brought together under the subsidiary Nordsee Holding, later in 1999 introducing the smaller Snack-Shop eateries. It wouldn't be until 2004, as the brand reorganized and tried to improve its image, that it began expanding out of Germany and Austria, going into the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, and Switzerland (franchised branch, legal owner Candrian Seafood AG). It'd recommend more research into this, though it seems this is largely accurate. SpongeBob receiving dubs in Europe might be perceived by Nordsee (and any other sea food chains, if there are any, which I'm unaware of) as a Trojan horse of sorts, to get audiences (including kids) used to the brand, before the company officially expands into those regions. And I'd imagine there'd be S.B.S.C. execs who'd be thinking the same thing.

Of course, for those who care about the show, SpongeBob being licensed out is effectively an easy stream of revenue, especially if the show is a hit in America. So, honestly, the latter option of TTL SpongeBob being as popular as OTL SpongeBob seems likely, with the additional bonus of online discussions like "which are you more familiar with, the restaurant or the show". Heck, if the show becomes that popular, and there's countries which don't have branches, there'd likely be tourists who'd have their kids beg them to go to a SpongeBob's so that they can have a Krabby Patty.
Chapter 77: January 1998 – December 1998
Chapter 77: January 1998 – December 1998

“Conviction creates indomitable efforts. This is the key to (true) miracles…Man’s potential is limitless.”

– Chung Ju-yung (OTL)

…After discussing South American conditions with several US Ambassadors, US State Secretary Susan Livingstone today issued a new set of travel guidelines for Americans visiting the Latin American countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, and Colombia. Forming a connection chain of nations across the map as you can see on this graphs, these countries are seeing a rise in the cultivation and/or trafficking of recreadrugs illegal in the United States. Recreadrug cartels are becoming especially active on opposite ends of the chain. In Colombia, manufacturers of illicit narcotics are fighting off the local government and US-led peacekeeping forces, while Mexico’s economic downturn has emboldened narcotics pushers. As a result, cartel-related hostilities and acts of violence are on the rise in Mexico and along the US-Mexican border…

– CBS News, 1/2/1999

There was reason to suspect that she would “sell” her country to the US. Janet Jagan (20 October 1920 – 28 March 2009) and, to a greater extent, her son Cheddi “Joey” Jagan Jr., were at least open to the idea. Contrary to foreign fears, Cheddi Jagan Sr. had ruled as a dictatorial democratic socialist; nevertheless, Guyana’s economy remained sluggish, and with each passing year, more people who could move to the US were doing so. To counter these trends, both Jagan Presidents encouraged US investment, and that seemed to include NASA. Whether via a base, a basic station, a vast launching center, or even more, the Dinger administration was listening to calls from NASA to take advantage of the nation’s close proximity to the equator. Dinger also considered taking advantage of Guyana’s close proximity to Colombia, as well. To the rumblings of strengthened ties, the European Space Agency (or ESA) hoped that Janet Jagan would be strongly opposed to allowing NASA to expand into Guyana over concerns of NASA not sharing data and advancements with the international community…

– Uzo Marvin’s The History of Guyana, Independent Platforms Publishing, 2018


…The nation holds strategic value for current and any future wars in central and South America. It lies on the equator, which is beneficial for anyone attempting to fly anything into outer space, as the Earth rotates faster the closer you get to the equator. 99% of its population speaks English because it is a former British colony, and the natives are already heavily supportive of the US. In fact, their President, Janet Jagan born in Chicago to Jewish-American parents! The alleged possibility of there being vast amounts of crude oil off the nation’s coastline, according to recent surveys conducted by various American oil companies such as Chevron, is also a plus…

– Former US Congressman-turned-D.C. corporate lobbyist Richard Bruce Cheney, The Washington Post, 1/15/1998 op-ed

…By 1998, the cost of reuniting and covering damages still remained overwhelming for the United Korean government; food aid and humanitarianism had helped significantly, but Korea’s government was still facing high unemployment. …At the beginning of reunification, in 1996, many former Northerners, demoralized and defeated, had opted to kill themselves rather than accept food from “the enemy.” Children, and people disillusioned by the Kim regime, however, gladly accepted the food. …On top of providing adequate housing and employment for the 20 million new citizens, the Korean government also focused on trying to convince citizens of the south that northerner radicals were not representative of all northerners...

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010

“It’s a beautiful tower, isn’t it?” Donald’s “Trump Sunrise Tower” featured large balconies on the east and west sides of all 76 stories, with penthouse apartments having gorgeous views of the sun rising above the Hollywood Hills on one side and of the sun setting on the horizon of the Pacific on the other side. …The tower’s two street-level floors hosted high-quality restaurants, but also featured a “pedestrian” food hall due to Donald’s predilection for fast-food leading to him wanting to have them right in the building for his convenience.

At 7:44 AM on January 29, 1998, an assistant D.A. for California’s Attorney General, assigned to overseeing the crackdowns on the crack cocaine seeping into California from their Mexico border, checked into the hotel to meet up with an alleged informant for the Tijuana Cartel, the meeting place being the pedestrian food court. At 8:15 AM, the alleged informant, an elderly man suffering from terminal cancer, approached the informant. He sat down, and simply opened up his suitcase, detonating the bomb within.


Above: the food hall after being cleared of people; the Chick-fil-A (center), which was planned to fully open in two months, was damaged by the explosion.

Six people were killed and another 29 were injured in what was initially reported to be an attack on the Trump Sunrise Tower itself, with local news reporting unconfirmed allegations of former North Korean agents setting off a poisonous gas bomb. Panic slowly subsided, though, as the hours wore on the clear picture appeared. Trump responded to the attack – orchestrated by the Tijuana Cartel to take out a key member of the state AG department’s legal team – by increasing security measures. Privately, he began to travel with more security guards in case of emergency. This bombing, coupled with him being present when President Iacocca was assassinated, made Donald a greater fan of New York City, calling it “a much safer place than Hollyweirdland” and a fierce supporter of anti-gun and anti-bomb security measures. …In 2017, Donald once ranted to Larry King: “they got those guns that are very long so the bullet comes out faster, and they make it so you have to go through all these legal hurdles to get them, right? That’s good, except hunting rifles are still allowed. What the hell are we doing? Lee Iacocca was a very, very, very good friend of mine, and he died because of a loony with a sniper rifle! Why do we let people have rifles when you can just shoot Bambi with a bow and arrow? Or better yet, we have farms, the kind of farms where the beef and the deer and the pork all are prepped for butcher time. You-we don’t need to hunt now that we’ve got those places prepping the meat for us, so what are we doing?”

– Kate Bohner’s The Art of The Don: The Unofficial Biography of Donald Trump, Times Books, 2017 edition

…The violent and brutal murder of an assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles had ramifications across the US. The state governments of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas increased focus on the border, while President Dinger greenlit several CIA operations to “nip [recreadrug production] in the bud” in Colombia. Dinger also strengthened US relations with Afghanistan even farther in order to better monitor possible drug cartel members purchasing poppy plants for narcotic production. On the domestic level, fears of drug lords seemingly running rampant in Mexico lowered American tourism south of the border, worsening Mexico’s financial situation. Mexican families grew more worried about their own safety, and may have contributed to the 1998-2000 spike in Mexican citizens applying for US citizenship. Mexican-American communities, meanwhile, sought to stand firm and united against a rise in racism against them…

– Roberto Roybal’s South of the Border: US-Mexico Relations During The 1990s, University of Oklahoma Press, 2015


…In tonight’s runoff election, the top two winners of the country’s 16 January first round of voting faced off against one another. Incumbent Elisabeth Rehn of the Centrist Party/Swedish People’s Party Alliance ultimately won re-election over Tarja Halonen of the Social Democratic Party. The confirmation of the results concluded the first Finnish Presidential election in which both second-round finishers were women...

The Guardian, UK newspaper, 6/2/1998

“For example, there was this militant compound in the mountains north of Kimch’aek. And we kept getting reports of gunfire going off up there. We thought it was just idiot university students who’d gotten their hands on some old abandoned Northerner weaponry. We went up there thinking we’d just scare them into handing in the arms like they were supposed to. Instead, deep in the underbrush, we found this pocket of diehard Kim supporters. They were testing their ammo, and were holed up in a little den of a bomb shelter sticking out of the side of this foothill. When we first came upon them, they immediately fired on us. Then we tried to sneak around them and they fired on us from there. They shot at anyone who approached, as it turned out. When we found out who they were, one of them had an ex-wife, who tried to talk to them. They just shot at her!

See, other fundamentalist groups and radical clans that had tried to stay holed up in less secure locations had already been captured. But the Kimch’aek Gang were different. They were the last of the nut-jobs. We informed them of the amnesty, and they refused. We tried to get anyone connected to them to try and convince them to give up, and they refused. They even refuse to recognize Kim Jung-nam when we flew him in from his Tokyo penthouse – the one near Tokyo Disneyland – to, uh, to try and talk some sense into them. It was no use.

So, we did what we had to do. We had the whole area cordoned off, and we bombed the crap out of their hideaway. By the time the fires died and the smoke cleared, there was nothing left of them at all.”

– Park Jae-beom, retired Korean police officer and KW2 veteran, 2019 interview

The Congressman was known for having a close family, attending Roman Catholic mass every Sunday with his wife Bernadette and their four children, and for his former work as a member of the FBI. Only those close to him knew of his tendency to visit strip clubs often, and only a select few were privy to him allowing certain friends of his to watch him make love to his wife via a video camera hidden in his master bedroom. Those indecent acts, however, paled in comparison to what ultimately booted him out of public office.

On February 12, freshman Congressman Bob Hanssen (R-Virginia), was giving speech at a private luncheon/fundraiser, condemning “the godlessness” of the Chinese government, when FBI agents entered the room. Hanssen initially welcomed the agents over, recognizing some of them from his time at the bureau, and believing they had arrived to congratulate him on what would surely be an easy bid for a second term.

His invited smile quickly faded away into a frown of disbelief as the agents he knew coldly arrested him for treason.

– Lawrence Schiller’s Into The Mirror: The Life of Master Spy Robert P. Hanssen, Diane Publishing Co., 2004

Robert Philip Hanssen
, (b. April 18, 1944), codenames/aliases Ramon Garcia, Jim Baker, and Mr. Graysuit, is a former US Congressman and FBI agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States from 1979 to 1985 and again from 1995 to 1998, even after being elected to the US House of Representatives, as a Republican from Virginia, in a 1997 special election. The Department of Justice calls his espionage as “most likely the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history.” He is currently serving 14 consecutive life sentences (pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty) at a federal “supermax” prison in Colorado, US.

In 1979, three years after joining the FBI, Hanssen approached the Soviet Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) to offer his services, launching his first espionage cycle, which lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1985, at which point he broke off all communications out of fear of being exposed. However, ten years later, shortly after Viktor Chernomyrdin became President of Russia, Hanssen resumed spying for Russia, until his 1998 arrest.

In 1997, Hanssen, who reported to Russia anonymously for large sums of “financial compensation,” was inspired by the Second Korean War to run for a special election. Hanssen believed he would better serve “his associates” from a foreign affairs-related House Committee…


…For older Americans, and for people in the UK, Hanssen’s arrest brought back memories of Prime Minister John Stonehouse... [snip] Hanssen’s wife, Bernadette Wauck, divorced her husband during the trials and was ultimately granted full custody of the couple’s four children...

– [2]

WINTER OLYMPICS CONCLUDE IN BAVARIA; US, Norway Celebrate Record Victories

The Los Angeles Times, 2/22/1998


…Two U.S. Congressmen from California today joined the ranks of several prominent Democrats promoting the rising movement to repeal the Balanced Budget Amendment. “The Amendment prevents the government from making necessary investments in social programs… The government has increased its reliance on foreign imports to balance the budget, much to the detriment of American workers,” says U.S. Representative Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Today’s representatives have called for amending the BBA with a “Budget Reconciliation Process,” which they say would allow Congress to extend the BBA’s annual deadline for when the feds have to “return from the red.” Congress would need to vote on a yearly extension each year under such a revision. The idea the BRP is that, with it, the government can invest in programs that may not see money back within a year. “The BBA in its current form has created an unrealistic confinement for the federal government,” says Brown. “When President Colonel Sanders balanced the budget, he did so without this amendment. We need to correct the BBA before more social programs are cut to make way for it and its supporters’ ‘no-risk, no reward’ way of managing things.”

The Washington Post, 2/27/1998

Host KEN HAMBLIN: Governor, you signing off on this marijuana legalization bill makes Colorado only the third state to pass such a law, the first two being California and Massachusetts. Now those two I can understand because they lean to the left on most things, but Colorado’s a lot more conservative, so do you think all Coloradans will be able to get behind this sort of thing?

Governor WELLINGTON WEBB: They will when they see the revenue we’ll bring in by regulating the stuff. The Bay State and the Golden State are already starting to see profits from legalizing recreational marijuana, and the money from this will go to paying for social programs such as educational after-school programs, urban renewal, and –

HAMBLIN: But, see, I think a lot of conservatives like me will not like the idea that these good things, these good programs, are being funded by this gateway drug, like you’re saying ‘Make yourself an addict so my kid’s school can have more chalk.’

WEBB: It is not a gateway drug, and if anyone becomes addicted, and most Mary Jane users do not become addicted to it, we are opening up rehab and treatment centers for them. This is not a sinful thing, this not an immoral thing, because like it or not, people do like marijuana, and if we keep it illegal, we’ll see more criminal activity linked to it, and more people improperly using it. Legal, people can learn about it and its benefits and positive attributes. Illegal, and it’s just a waste of something that can be taxed and monitored properly, just like alcohol and cigarettes.

– KXKL Radio Denver’s The Ken Hamblin Show, local talk/news program, 3/1/1998 broadcast


…President Dinger’s recent executive orders extending the rights of customs agents and border patrol personnel in order to better combat “the recreadrug epidemic plaguing” the US have received condemnation from several Democratic Congressmen. “I agree with the President when he states that this is a new kind of war,” says US Rep. Al Bustamante (D-TX), “That the enemy is not a nation’s military but an organization permeating several nations like how a parasite can invade several organs. But the President is overstepping boundaries by essentially giving border agents the ability to step on civil liberties. This will not go well.”

The New York Times, 3/2/1998

THE “UNLUCKY AT 33” CLUB: Celebrities Who Died At The Age of 33

Nicole DeHuff (actress)
Robert Downey Jr. (actor)
An infamous drug user, Downey began abusing marijuana at the age of six, as he and his father, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., also drug addict, bonded over the recreadrug. Downey Jr. won accolades for his acting in films like Chaplin (1992), for which he won an Academy Award, but starting in 1994, the rising star’s career hit trouble when he was arrested for possession of heroin and cocaine. In 1997, he was arrested again for committing a public disturbance while under the influence of an undisclosed substance. By the end of his life, Downey was failing to find work, but was willing to perform his own stunts in dangerous scenes that put stress on his body. On March 4, 1998, while attempting to jump down from a moving car for a minor role in “Jaws 6: Hellbeast of the Sea,” Downey suffered a seizure, and died on route to the hospital. According to the official report, he had high levels of valium and cocaine in his system, both of which were listed as contributing factor to his hematoma-related attack, along with aggravation to his body from performing a physically stressful stunt. In was just under a month shy of turning 34. In the aftermath of his demise, conservative pundits in the US used his death as an example of the need for anti-recreadrug laws, similar to what was done with Elton John's demise in the 1980s. Downey Sr. still deeply regrets introducing his son to drugs, and has since established three drug rehab charity organizations.
Eazy-E (rapper)
Elton John (singer)
Elizabeth Taylor (actress)
Jim Morrison (singer)


KOREAN MARKET STILL UNDERPERFORMING: Downturns Heighten Stability Concerns

The Wall Street Journal, 3/5/1998

…Even at the age of 82, businessman and billionaire philanthropist Chung Ju-yung worked diligently to normalize relations between “the two halves of one Korea.” In 1998, he sought to provide even further economic assistance to Korea by providing a $100million donation to the nation Treasury, per request from President Kim Dae-jung. Chung also sent well over 1,000 “unification cows” to the north; bovines he’d purchased from other countries as a gift, and to promote ongoing efforts to terraform the north into a more arable and economically sustainable place for all Koreans to live and work… Meanwhile, American Rev. Jerry Brown began contacting multiple talent agents of a proposal for “an international version of Farm Aid”…

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010

…In order to demonstrate how wealthy their nation would be if their narcotics industry was controlled and regulated, the Colombian government today announced that it will include the estimated value of Colombia’s illegal drug crops, which may amount up to nearly US$1billion, in its official Gross National Product amount for its 1997 fiscal year report...

– ABC Morning News, 3/21/1998 broadcast

KING OF THE STAGE: Titanic Wins Six Oscars Out of Ten Nominations

…at the 70th Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Brandon Lee and held at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A., James Cameron’s epic “Titanic” swept six categories, including Best Picture, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress and Best Director...

The Los Angeles Times, 3/23/1998

…As the Governor of Tokyo Prefecture, Yukio Aoshima knew it was impossible to fully exterminate the yakuza from Japan, at least not in his lifetime. Nevertheless, he was determined to snuff out as much of their influence as possible. “They were not underground like America’s mafias, but out in the open. We knew their operations, knew their locations, their hideaways and routes, and we knew all of their dirty habits, tricks and trades,” he once said in a 2001 interview. “In early 1998, the police chief of Minato City decided to use all that for our advantage. His plan went into motion on 25 March. He had my backing because the plan looked like it would work. After all, lift a rock and roaches will scatter.”

However, 25 March would turn out to be a bad day for the Minato Police. A plan to ambush and apprehend Kakuji Inagawa, the founder of the Yakuza syndicate Inagawa-kai, failed on this day, when city police were met with Uzi fire from Inagawa’s bodyguards. Inagawa’s vehicle, a customer stretched white limo, sped onto the nearby city motorway, the busy National Route 1. In hot pursuit, the city police took off after them in five police cars, on of which contained an RPG (a rocket-propelled grenade) from a recent SAT exercise. One policeman thought it was a smart idea to try and take out the limo’s tires with it. Unfortunately, the officer was unfamiliar with the launcher, and when firing hit, hit the side of the limo. The blast knocked the limo’s driver unconscious, causing the vehicle to bang into three civilian cars as it swerved across the highway. After this chaotic moment, the limo stabilized, likely as the bodyguard in the passenger seat took over driving. At the next exit, the limo gained distance from the police and, ultimately, the police lost track of the vehicle. It most likely snuck into a nearby location run by a syndicate.

The most damaging action of the day – the foolish rookie’s use of an RPG – led to the Minato PD being accused of incompetence by local news, while the drivers of the three cars damaged in the police chase sued the department for reckless endangerment. Among the rest of the people, though, the embarrassing fiasco only raised support for Yakuza syndicates even further. In turn, this rise in popularity emboldened more yakuza clans to resume more of their practices, as the tide of public opinion turned back to their favor once more.

Meanwhile, other yakuza clans allied with Kakuji Inagawa went after police with a vengeance. Cornering police officers in alleys and attacking them with baseball bats (mean-spiritedly dubbed “The Iacocca Special”), and knifing them in crowded marketplaces became more common. That summer, the number of incidents in which yakuza members shot up a police “Koban” (a very miniature office building, typically for bike patrol officers, often found near street corners) with AK-47s reached an all-time high.

Governor Aoshima was nonetheless steadfast in his determination to cut down the influence of the Yakuza…

– Alec Dubro and David E. Kaplan’s Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld, University of California Press, 2003 [3]


El Paso, TX – Federal officials on Thursday announced that the US Border Patrol had intercepted a $5million bribe attempt to stop a criminal investigation into the owner of a warehouse on the southern edge of the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez. The warehouse was allegedly used to store various items for local cartels. At a news conference, the officials displayed large bags of seized US and Mexican currency in a major blow for local recredrug pushers...

The Los Angeles Times, 4/5/1998


The New York Times, 4/7/1998

…As it turned out, the US’s handling of post-war Korea’s security was better than its handling of Korea’s economy. The official declaration of a recession raised the number of Americans worried that the US's economy was the next to fall. Dinger responded to the sudden drop in consumer confidence by cutting federal spending yet again...

– Edward Gulio Romano III’s LMD: A Study of The Dinger Days, Sunrise Publishers, 2020


...the wife of musician Paul McCartney passed away after her breast cancer spread to her liver, a family spokesman says. An ardent supporter of animal rights and vegetarianism, her activism led to her working with Prime Minister John Lennon on several nature preservation efforts…

The Daily Telegraph, UK newspaper, 17/4/1998


…Freda Meissner-Blau, 71, a leading member of the Austrian Green Party in her nation’s parliament, a former party spokesperson, and a candidate for President in 1986, successfully challenged incumbent President Thomas Klestil, an Independent, in Austria’s presidential election held tonight. Klestil failed to win over the support of the Austrian People’s Party, while Meissner-Blau won the crucial endorsement of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, while the Austrian Freedom Party supported neither candidate…

The Guardian, UK newspaper, 19/4/1998

…The civil conflict in Syria intensified as war progressed, but President Abdul Halim Khaddam remained steadfast. On April 21, he reiterated that he would not leave Damascus, and retained that promise even when Bassel-backing militias came close enough to the Presidential Palace to be able to hit its outer walls with mortar blasts and machine guns smuggled over from the land formerly known as North Korea. Syrian military loyalists repelled these anti-government forces in the Labour Day Battle of May 1-16, 1998.

Shortly afterward, a new variable entered the conflict in the form of Jamil al-Assad, the younger brother of Hafez. More popular than their brother Rifaat, Jamil began promoting himself as a “compromise leader” to both sides of the war; however, Jamil was a deeply religious practitioner of Shiism while Hafez had spent literally decades enforcing secularism onto the Syrian people. As a result, instead of appealing to both sides, Jamil peeled off strips of religiously fundamentalists from the religious-and-pro-Israel Khaddam government and the secular-and-anti-Israel Assad militias. By the summer of 1998, Assad’s son Mundhir had begun trafficking arms into Syria to back the Jamil supporters…

– David Tal’s US Strategic Arms Policy After the Cold War: Globalization & Technological Modernization, Routledge, 2020

“Now, I’d like to say something about all the baseless claims I’ve been hearing lately, claiming that the atrocious conditions of the North Korean Kim regime were exaggerated. Especially because a lot of these claims are coming from people who are, like me, are supportive of democratic socialist policies that go even farther than the policies of Mike Gravel and Carol Bellamy. I want to set the record straight and clarify that North Korea was a totalitarian dictatorship, not a working, functioning, democratic socialist state, and anyone sympathetic to the former dictatorship needs to study it better. Take a better look at the real facts of what went on over there, because reports of atrocities, laid out for the world to see during last year’s trials of the NPDK’s war criminals, were not exaggerated. The evidence of poverty, of people tortured and deformed by malnutrition, were everywhere and were obvious. To hide it or exaggerate it would be the greatest parlor trick in the history of trickery. Not to compare one atrocity to another, but to say that the anguish of the northern Korean people may not have happened the way it happened is like saying the atrocities of Holocaust was exaggerated.”

– Bern Sanders, NYC radio discussion, 4/22/1998

…In 1998, two state courts – one in January, and the next in April – ruled that discharging homosexual individuals from the military solely due to their sexual preference(s) was unconstitutional, leading to the US military finally allowing open BLUTAGO-Americans to serve in the armed forces, starting in January 1999. The declaration fueled conservative rhetoric about preserving traditional values among conservative radio programs and made many Republicans confident that the GOP would retain both chambers of congress come November. Meanwhile, with the other state courts still debating the merits of similar same-sex legalization processes unfolding in three other states, the US Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Frank Minis Johnson declined to hear an appeal until the start of the next year…

– Brandon Teena’s The Rise of BLUTAG Rights: The Story of the Bi-Lesbian-Undefined-Trans-Asexual-Gay Movement, Scholastic, 2019

…With the rise of same-sex marriage in the news came a rise in more prominent focus on trans rights, and an early news story in the US concerning that group focused on Kristin Beck. Born in 1966 and given the name Christopher, Beck graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1987 and began serving in the Navy SEALs in 1991, becoming a part of SEAL Team Six and being in counter-terrorist and active combat missions during the Second Korean War; Beck was awarded a Purple Heart in 1996. Two years later, Beck was encouraged by close friends to “unmask herself,” identifying herself “Kristin” and wearing feminine clothing by 1998. …In May 1998, Marine Commander Harley Brown, as well as several of Beck’s fellow soldiers defended her choice to be openly BLUTAGO in an interview for Time Magazine, with Brown saying “he – sorry, she – almost got, uh, herself, right – she almost got herself killed kickin’ the crap out of the commies up in the North, putting herself in the thick of things up there. If anyone has earned the right to dress as fancy as they like, it’s Petty Officer Beck.”…

– Matthew Wayne Shepard’s Unmasked And Unafraid: A History of the BLUTAGO Rights Movement, Pressman Publications, 2020

ELECTION RESULTS: Pm De La Hunty (Barely) Keep Liberals In Power

…Incumbent Shirley de la Hunty barely won over the increasingly popular Michael Ignatieff, who lead the Labor party to victory in several traditionally-Liberal places, and as such will likely stay on as party leader. Green party leader Christine Morris and Fred Valentich, founder of the “Open” party calling for full government transparency over “all extraterrestrial events,” each lost both of their seats...


…Due to only obtaining a slim plurality of seats, the center-right Liberals have once again formed a “coalition” government with the agrarian-conservative Nationals. The leader of the Nationals, Dr. Ben Carson of Perth [4], and the leader of the Country Liberals, anti-recreadrug businessman Donald Mackay of the Northern Territory, will have positions in this new government. …Trade Minister Barry Goldwater Jr. will likely be elevated to Deputy Prime Minister…

– The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian newspaper, 5/5/1998


…first legalized in Ontario in 1995 following a provincial court of appeal ruling, same-sex marriage was subsequently recognized in several additional provinces in 1996 and 1997. Prime Minister Margaret Mitchell approved of the enactment of “The Civil Marriage Act” in January, and it received “royal assent” from Queen Elizabeth soon after…

The Boston Globe, 5/19/1998

…On May 21, Dinger signed into law a capital gains tax cut bill dubbed “The Taxpayer Relief Act” that stripped several UHC and non-UHC programs, “because nobody ever wants or likes getting a tax hike,” as he privately put it. The top marginal long term capital gains rate subsequently fell from 28% to 20%, and the 15% bracket was lowered to 10%; retirement accounts were made exempt from the capital gains tax as well [5]. …House Speaker Emery was heavily criticized for allowing the bill to pass, with Congressman Bill Weld (R-MA) calling him a “traitor [to] liberal Republican ideals” for not putting up a stronger opposition to it. As it turns out, though, Emery – at least, according to his memoirs, believed that the TRA would improve consumer confidence (and thus ward off recession, which was bothering Mexico and Korea at the time) and promote more people saving more for their retirement. Thus, Emery thought he was doing the right thing at the time…

– Edward Gulio Romano III’s LMD: A Study of The Dinger Days, Sunrise Publishers, 2020

LATEST POLL: President Dinger Approval Ratings Among U.S. Citizens

Approve: 49%
Disapprove: 41%
Undecided: 8%

– Gallup, 5/24/1998

On May 25, an American newspaper, “The New York Post,” was forced to make a retraction of an article published the week before that claimed that more Koreans had been killed in post-war cam bomb attacks ignored by most media outlets than in the actual 1996 war. When published, the article was immediately castigated, with citizens from across the American classes and political spectrum condemning the pushing for such an obviously false report. Korean news outlets caught wind of the article, and responded to it with an increase on reporting the overall smooth transitioning of “the two Koreas into one.” The NYP inevitably apologized for, but the embarrassing moment left behind a long-lasting negative reputation for that newspaper.

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010

…By May 1998, the Wide-Awakes were gaining more attention, and support in the wake of recent pro-BLUTAGO court rulings that were slowly clearing the way for same-sex marriage. One congressional candidate, Republican Tommy Tancredo of Colorado, opted to wear the group’s endorsement like a badge of honor, saying he was “proud to be recognized by my fellow patriots for my long-held belief in the need for stronger defense of our nation’s values and laws.”…

– Edward Gulio Romano III’s LMD: A Study of The Dinger Days, Sunrise Publishers, 2020


…Richard Anthony “Cheech” Marin (RU-NM) was elected Mayor of Las Cruces, the second-largest city in the state, on November 7, 1995, in an officially nonpartisan race. Located north of El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces joined Albuquerque and Santa Fe in legalizing marijuana use within city limits in defiance of Governor Cheney’s executive order outlawing such declarations. Before entering office, Marin started out as a musician, playing backup for the late Frank Zappa in the 1960s before turning to Hispanic labor rights activism in the 1970s. After serving over six years in jail for possession of one gram of marijuana, Marin entered the film industry, and produced, wrote and starred in five pro-recreadrug films between 1982 and 1993.

Marin’s success in both of tonight’s primaries has surprised political pundits who believed US Representative Bill Richardson was a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination. Instead, Marin defeated Richardson, state representative Gary K. King, and state auditor Robert Vigil in said primary, and defeated activist Frankie Salas in the LRU primary.

…Despite being a progressive politician, Marin was endorsed by certain Republicans (most notably the pro-recreadrug Gary Johnson, the mayor of Albuquerque since 1993) and by moderate Democrats (such as pro-recreadrug Debbie Jaramillo, Santa Fe Mayor from March 1994 to March 1998).

…Governor Cheney stated previously that he believes Marin is a “weak” candidate: "he'll lose spectacularly.” We will see if Cheney is correct…


Above: Mayor Marin and Governor Paul Wellstone (D-MN) attending the CA-DEM Convention in 1996

– The Gallup Independent, New Mexico newspaper, 6/2/1998

…Chinese citizens in northern China were faced with the problem of refugees from North Korea still popping out of the woodwork from time to time. With most of them being former DPRK soldiers, their presence made immigration across the China-Korea border a major issue. In early June, in response to the rising number of refugees found in China, mostly residing near the north side of Mt. Pektu (mainly former troops who, while underfed during the war, had fled across the border to steal food from Chinese citizens), Zhu discussed the matter with Korean President Kim Dae-Jung, who agreed to letting Zhu send additional troops to the Chinese side of the China-Korea border. This action cut down on refugee incidents considerably…

– Shan Li’s China in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge Press, 2003

The most iconic of the online music-downloading services of the 1990s, though, would have to be Pepvibes, which soared onto the national scene in the late 1990s. Founded in 1996 by a 21-year-old computer programmer named Tom Pepper, with help from fellow programmers Jeff Bates and Gene Kan, Pepvibes offered technetters a music-focused on-tech service with pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing software, focused on digital audio files with an encoded MP3 format. By 1998, the service site had gradually grown in popularity, surpassing other already-established file-sharing sites, due to its user-friendly interface. By the end of the decade, Pepvibes had transformed music selections into public goods – and in doing so opened a torrent of legal legislation and debate over availability, fair use laws, parody law, copyright law, and record label distribution sales. Lawsuits presented to Pepper and company for claimed the site was the equivalent of piracy, as recording label releases lost revenue from the site’s download.

The controversy opened up a national debate on the right of sharing music. If someone plays a recording from off a public technet site, but for private consumption, is it still considered public use because it is not a privately-owned legal-purchased copy of the song? Singers like Chuck D, Biggie Smalls, and Tupac Shakur backed the new technology, believing sites hosting “fan-sharing” activities promoted their music by word of mouth. Other singers, though, such as Madonna, Tiffany, and Elvis Presley, opposed these alleged examples of pirating songs, believing “song drips” (songs “dripped” onto the site) would make it impossible for anyone to make a profitable life out of recording music. As a result, the millennium began with several district courts issuing resolutions and clarification on these matters…

– Joy Lisi Rankin’s Computers: A People’s History of the Information Machine, Westview Press, 2018


…the ceremonial keys to city are to honor the Dinger brother’s success at ending a union disagreement back in 1991, when Larry Dinger was still a US Senator. John Dinger joined his more famous brother in overseeing negotiations between pig farm union leaders, farm management, and the state Agriculture Department over insurance coverage controversies. Seven years later, and Iowan pig farmers have a strong relationship with management while the Iowan economy remains one of the strongest in the Midwest.


Above: President Larry Dinger (right) and his brother, US White House Chief of Staff John Dinger (left)

The Des Moines Reigster, 6/10/1998

RUSSIA CIRCULATES NEW RUBLES TO NIP RECESSION FEARS IN THE BUD; Chernomyrdin Seeks To Stem Inflation, Promote Market Confidence

The Wall Street Journal, 6/14/1998

…The war was a boon for the careers of so many of my brother-in-arms. Eric Shinseki was promoted to US Army General in May 1997, while Larry R. Ellis was promoted to US Army General in October 2000, and while some like Gary Luck retired from the military on a high note and went about writing memoirs, others such as Harley Davidson Brown became more politically active once ultimately leaving. Others still, though, stuck around to rise even higher in the ranks, such as yours truly… [6]

– Ken Armstrong’s 1996: The Second Korean War, Simon & Schuster, 2012

…On the Fourth of July, 1998, the Chrysler Corporation unveiled the 1999 Chrysler Iacocca, a luxury car containing a transverse engine and all-wheel drive. Its design was an attempt to combine the best features of the late, great President’s two favorite cars – the Lincoln Continental Mark III designed by Ford’s Gene Bordinat, and Chrysler’s own Plymouth Reliant K-Car. Externally, the car more closely resembles an updated version of the Mark III’s design than a K-Car’s design, but internally, its suspension configuration made it drive much more like a luxury K-Car than anything else. The vehicle was a modest market success…

– Doron P. Levin’s Behind the Wheel: Iacocca’s Handling of Cars, Sports, and Politics, Opus Publishers, 2012 edition

FEED THE WORLD: One Day Of Global Unity

It was like another version of The Righteous Brothers’ 1974 hit “Rock And Roll Heaven.” The Rolling Stones and the temporarily-reunited The Who were sharing jokes. Jaco Pastorius passed around beer while David Bowie chatted with Boy George over makeup tips. Led Zeppelin Reunion, Cat Stevens, Kurt Cobain, and Tommy and Yoko Chong formed a circle on the floor and passed around some Mary Jane. At some point in the festivities, The Spice Girls and Take That partook in a friendly impromptu dance-off. When Marvin Gaye accidently knocked half of The Kinks into a pool, Mick Jagger proclaimed “Now this is what I call a party!”

The icons were celebrating the completion of Feed The World, a.k.a. the Care For Korea drive initially conceived in 1996 as reports of starving former prisoners of the Kim regime flooded the news cycles. On July 4, 1998, just under 2 billion people from across the globe turned on their radio and TV sets, or, for the more tech-savvy, had logged onto on-tech “live pouring” services to watch a huge gathering of musicians from across the music genres – over seventy performers in total – play their greatest hits in stadiums in Paris and New York City. The next day, at 2:30 AM, a time when the parties inside those cities’ top-class suites were still going strong, the amount of money raised for the “nutritionally insecure” people of post-war, economically devastated United Korea had already exceeded a whopping $90 million. It would turn out to be more than double that in the end, leading to Korea actually sharing some of the money with charities in Japan and China in order to ease regional tension. The record-breaking event most likely warded off further economic collapse for Korea, keeping them from descending from recession to depression.

The Scene That Celebrates Itself, on the decline in the United States and then in London as the 1990s came to a close, had One Last Hurrah in this star-studded moment, as the biggest names in music shared sofas, toasted one another, and shared laughs, putting aside their egos for the collective pride of a successful group effort.

Elvis, The Police, Queen, The Talking Heads, Billy Joel, Duran Duran, Hall and Oates, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, and several young up-and-comers based out of London, Paris, Beijing, and even Korea itself, serenaded millions in a collaborative feat that has yet to be equaled…


Above: Elvis on dual jumbo-tron screens at the “Feed the World” section hosted by the Trump Sports Stadium in New York City

– Tumbleweed magazine, July 2018 special issue [7]

“Yeah, I already had out my first album by then, but I wasn’t a big enough star for them. But, hey, not every bigshot went to shore up money for the Koreans. Biggie didn’t go and do it. Tupac didn’t go and do it. But lots of rappers who were, you know, around Biggie and Tupac went over. But, you know what, don’t matter, because that concert marathon sh*t was great even without me there!”

– Marshall Bruce Mathers III, a.k.a. Eminem, 2013 interview


The Houston Chronicle, 7/7/1998

LONG JOHN SILVER’S FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY! Franchise Seeks to Reorganize While Tricon Agrees to Buy L.J.S. and A&W

The Chicago Tribune, 7/9/1998

“When, LJS’s, Stephen’s former employee, essentially kicked the bucket, I thought it was hilarious, because Stephen had said they would regret firing him! I mean, yeah, they were sort of already having trouble by the time they pink-slipped him, but the surprisingly quick rise of SpongeBob’s just really overwhelmed them, and it probably hastened their demise. Stephen, though, he was more concerned about all the employees now out of work.

So he went, ‘Well, if SpongeBob’s is going to expand, we’re going to have to hire more people.’ So we started hiring the workers laid off by LJS’s!

At the same time, the franchise was starting to expand not only into the world of cartoon TV, but into other geographical areas in the United States, some with nautical history or some other kind of oceanic connection, but also other place nowhere near any major bodies of water, where seafood wasn’t exactly a local food staple. Basically, we were throwing everything we had to the wall and seeing what stuck. And, boy, a lot of stuff stuck!” [8]

– Bryan Hillenburg, 2019 interview


The Washington Post, 7/23/1998

“I really think this whole Global Climate Disruption thing really being overblown here. Thousands and thousands of experts were telling us for decades that the Cold War would lead to all of us being killed in a fiery nuclear exchange. But that didn’t happen. We all got scared and anxious over what ended up as nothing. You see, listeners, people – especially people in charge – tend to exaggerate minor issues to make them seem like major disasters. Does that mean G.C.D. isn’t real? I’m not saying that. What I am saying that people exaggerated back then, during the Cold War, and now people are exaggerating about this, in whatever freakin’ era we’re living through right now.”

– Rush Limbaugh, KFBK-AM radio, 7/24/1998 broadcast

“The Battle of Hayes Pond,” director Spike Lee’s latest movie, chronicles the real-life Battle of Hayes Pond that unfolded in 1958. The film portrays the events leading up to the North Carolina confrontation with a raw sense of intensity, as a black woman dating a white man, the local bar owner, and the local Lumbee family joined the local Native Americans who take a stand against the local Ku Klux Klan targeting them all. The film, produced by Bern Sanders and staring an all-star ensemble cast, is sure to win several awards for its performances, historical accuracy, and directing…

The New York Times, film review section, 7/30/1998

When it came to financial oversight, Zhu limited monetary supply, cut interest rates, and reformed the tax system to curb inflation; tax reformation happened again in response to Korea entering recession. In order to sell his reform ideas to the people, Zhu personally visited the capital city of each province to sell a new “tax sharing” idea modeled on the U.S. federal tax system, in order to raise the central government’s cut of total national revenue, which brought the highly decentralized banking system under closer Beijing direction, in the name of “marketized socialism.” Premier Zhu’s reforms were seen as successful at the national level, but nevertheless received backlash from regional leaders; controversially, Zhu responded to their complaints of losing the unbalanced-in-their-favor funding and attention they had relished in over the years by simply forcing them into retirement and replacing them with more complacent provincial leaders.

To strengthen the nation’s growing markets, Zhu invested in transportation, agriculture, and energy sectors. Greater oversight of the banking sector to discourage reckless spending and poor choices the nation’s rudimentary-but-growing “free” markets, again in the name of “marketized socialism,” became especially important to Zhu as the millennium came to a close. Zhu responded to woes of an impending recession by reducing state bureaucracy and streamlining banking systems to prevent future financial panic, plus maintaining strict “capital controls” (residency-based measures meant to monitor, regulate, and promote cash flow) in order to keep massive infrastructure projects from losing funding. Despite all these “adjustments” to China’s financial systems, Zhu refused to devalue the Chinese Yuan.

In 1997, in an example of his anti-corruption crusade, Zhu expelled the leader of Guangxi Province from his position after he was found guilty of receiving kickbacks from businessmen connected to embezzled state funds and “tilted” government contract bids. In August 1998, his administration uncovered the largest corruption ring in modern Chinese history, with high-ranking officials in Fujian orchestrating a massive arms smuggling operation. “Purge” became the new word of the month, as several government officials were sentenced to life imprisonment and talks of strengthening trade and commerce security measures intensified. Upon facing international criticism for two embezzlers being sentenced to death for treason and executed, though, Zhu proclaimed “I will prepare 100 coffins for the corrupt, and one for me, for I will die of fatigue.” [9]

– Shan Li’s China in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge Press, 2003

The reasons behind the idea were sound. Young people were not so familiar with the Colonel’s iconic image as their parents were. The company feared it was soon to fall behind to Chick-fil-A and other chicken-centric companies. Plus, many at KFC’s advertising department feared that, possibly, the company was losing customers due to their mascot being a known dead man; “death doesn’t make you hungry,” noted board member Bob Yarmuth. The decision to “rebrand” the Colonel’s likeness – to “breathe life” back into the former world leader – was a delicate process, requiring the development of something that would be fun and exciting but still respectful to the real life founder’s life, legacy and memory.

KFC R & D ran with the prior notion of a KFC cartoon show and developed an Animated Colonel for KFC commercials. Mildred, Margaret and Harley all were enthusiastic for the idea, but all three turned to Pete Harman for his input. A 79, the elderly Harman was still serving on the board, and even he “believed in” the notion.

When the news of the Colonel was turned into a cartoon character in order to return to KFC’s commercials, news decrying “Colonel Reincarnated!” and similar exclamations hit the pavement and cyber-pavement. KFC chief concept officer Jeff Moody said the so-called “resurrection” of The Colonel was “a fresh new way to reach out to the young adult consumers of today.” KFC CEO James A. Collins, still precariously in the top chair, praised the “forward-thinking” decision, as did COO Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and, David Charles Novak, a rising star in the company who, at under 50, was one of the younger bloods in the board room.

In the summer, the first batch of these “Animated Colonel” commercials began airing.

– Marlona Ruggles Ice’s A Kentucky-Fried Phoenix: The Post-Colonel History of Most Famous Birds In The World, Hawkins E-Publications, 2020

[vid: LEYSsshadN0 ]

– A commercial for KFC’s Spicy Tender Roast Monterey Sandwich, c. August 1998

…These new commercials advertised the company’s latest offerings, with CCO Jeff Moody explaining “Our new line of sandwiches is meant to appeal to more health-conscious people. Just because ‘fried’ is in our name doesn’t mean everything on the menu is fried.”

Consumer responses to the commercials were polarizing. Many young consumers surveyed in the days and weeks after they began airing said they were much more “exciting” than commercials of the previous few years. Many older consumers, however, disliked the new depiction of a former US President; some called it “disgraceful,” other “offensive” or “cheap.” The voice, providing by award-winning actor Randy Quaid, was also polarizing; while most approved of Quaid’s “boisterous” energy, those same older customers who could still firmly remember the Colonel’s distinct voice – one much lower and gravelly than Quaid’s – disapproved of it, complaining about it being too inaccurate.

Among the board, reactions to these reactions were mixed. “It’s a new age, the information age, the technet age,” bemoaned the aging Mildreds, “Complaints on technet sites are now becoming news article sources!” Indeed, media sites were truly beginning to utilize the commercial, informative, and communicative capabilities of the technet by the end of the decade. By the end of 1998, the White House already had established an official website, as had KFC – one of the first major corporations to establish one, in fact. But not the first.

However, because these new commercials were producing controversy, and the controversy was giving the company much media attention, the decision was made to continue making and airing ads featuring “The Animated Colonel,” though for many in the “second batch” of them, Quaid used a lower and more gravelly voice…

– Marlona Ruggles Ice’s A Kentucky-Fried Phoenix: The Post-Colonel History of Most Famous Birds In The World, Hawkins E-Publications, 2020

As warfare continued on at a steady and sluggish pace across Colombia, Dinger signed off on a new tactic in the war on recreadrugs: civil asset forfeiture. A process dating back to the 1600s, civil asset forfeiture allows the government to take assets from any suspected of a crime without formerly charging said persons of a crime. Excessive, invasive, and possibly in violation of the fourth and fifth Amendments of the US Constitution, Dinger nevertheless signed off on the GOP-majority congress heightening US federal laws, and encouraging federal law enforcement agencies to use civil asset forfeiture liberally. The Dinger White House also encouraged its use at the state level as well, with outgoing Governor Richard P. Cheney (R-NM) being a strong support of it being used as “a vital and necessary tool,” as he put it.

Opponents, on the other hand, were outraged by the President increasing its use. “Christ, they’re taking away all our stuff now, too? What next? Where does it end?” asked then-Mayor Cheech Marin of Las Cruces, New Mexico, in an August 1998 NBC News interview, “Does President Dingo Dodo really think thousands of our fellow American citizens spending the rest of their lives in prisons, jail cells crammed with teens and old shoutniks, is a sign of victory? How many more of us have to go to jail before we, heh, win, heh, this alleged war? When there’s more people in prisons than out of them?”

– Maurice Isserman’s Confrontational: The Larry Dinger Wars, Borders Books, 2004

Governor of Tokyo Prefecture Yukio Aoshima’s opportunity to cut down the Yakuza’s influence arose during a moment of crisis and carnage, an incident known as the Shinjuku Shootout. It began on August 22, when two groups, members of two rival Yakuza groups (the Inagawa-kai and the Sumiyoshi-kai, both from Minato, Tokyo, groups competing for turf in the city and greater prefecture of Tokyo), encountered each other on the Odakyu Electric Railway. According to witnesses, the two groups immediately began arguing verbally, and the conflict swiftly escalated.

Then, the rival syndicate members drew their weapons, instigating a shootout on a train bound for Tokyo during rush hour. The fairly crowded train car began to panic as handguns began firing in closed quarters. Ricochet struck several innocents as a mass run for the adjacent cars occurred. Among the citizens, 5 were seriously injured from bullets, while 8 people were injured from being trampled in panic unfolding in such closed quarters.

The train conductor learned of the chaos, then phoned ahead, so to speak, and continued on to its stop at the close-by Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, the oldest and busiest railway stations in Japan. Police there typically have New Nambu M60 guns, which would be called “pea-shooters” by Americans for their diminutive size. However, the station’s security guards had recently begun storing bigger ammo (mainly bolt-action rifles, like what the local police stored), in case of emergencies.

And this was an emergency. Station security was soon joined by local police and members of the SAT (or “Special Assault Team,” a police tactical unit established in 1977 (though their existence was not officially revealed to the public until 1996) for emergency and special counter-terrorism and/or law enforcement situations). When the train pulled into the station, frightened citizens spilled out as soon as they could. The yakuza members only stopped shooting when they heard the chief deputy police officer use a bullhorn to inform them that they were surrounded.

Putting their differences aside, the yakuza members joined forces to partake in a hopeless standoff, being completely surrounded by station police and the train’s security guards. The station was cleared and put in emergency lockdown as the members fired all of their rounds at the slowly approaching police. When the bullets stopped firing, six SAT officers charged into the subway car. With the last of their bullets spent, the yakuza members tried and failed to attack with their knives and other blunt objects. In the end, however, the yakuza members that weren’t killed in the shootouts were apprehended and removed from the train station, allowing commuters to return to their routes.

Public opinion on how police were handling yakuza-based crime and corruption went from low to lower after that March’s limo snafu, only for the police’s handling of the train station shootout to be praised as being effective and highly successful. It was enough to finally win back the people’s support. Governor Aoshima beamed with glee.

– Alec Dubro and David E. Kaplan’s Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld, University of California Press, 2003

…The “Wednesday Demonstration” protests had been held weekly at noon on every Wednesday in Korea since 1987 [10], after the Second Ark Wave hit the region, as a means of raising awareness of a grave injustice in need of correcting. When the Korean peninsula was under the rule of Imperial Japan during World War II, the Japanese government established a large scale sexual slavery system that forced its female Korean victims into being “comfort women,” a Japanese euphemism for “prostitutes.” Survivors were often, if not always present at these demonstrations, largely consisting of protests demanding the Japanese government not only recognize and apologize for these actions, but to also agree to pay reparations to its survivors.

Thousands annually gather across Korea for this movement, but after the liberation of the North, the demonstrations took on a second subject, namely the sexual slavery and human trafficking activities undertaken by the former DPRK government. These “new Koreans” or “new protestors” as called by some, stood in solidarity with fellow victims demanding the restoration of their dignity. For the former Northerners, this meant persecuting additional former DPRK members who were tried for war crimes, but not for their involvement in the rape and trafficking of former North Korean prisoners. These accusations saw more of an immediate response, as the Korean government placed uniting the peninsula’s populace above addressing Japan’s decades-old wrongdoings.

However, things became awkward for many involved in September 1998, when investigative journalists from the Japanese newspaper “The Asahi Shimbun” published extensive reports of South Korean soldiers raping North Korean women during the final weeks of the War of Reunification. Korean President Kim Dae-jung approached the dilemma boldly, by announcing that “all accusations” would be treated “equally and without prejudice,” believing this to be the only way to ensure “national cohension” in regards to these unsavory scandals…

– Choe Yong-ho’s Bittersweet: Korea After Reunification, Columbia University Press, 2010


…fighting between pro-Assad and anti-Assad forces led to a heavier vetting of Syrian invitees in order to ensure a fair and balanced collection of voices representing said nation, according to a spokesperson from Finger Lickin’ Good, Inc., the primary sponsor of these annual congregation of various local community leaders such as Mayors, aldermen, and religious leaders…

The Guardian, UK newspaper, 14/9/1998

…Digimon, a Japanese video game series, was created in response to the popularity of Pokémon and Tamagochi (but failed to outlive either), and was introduced to American markets in 1998… In the American music, the “Scene That Celebrates Itself” began to wane considerably. An early example of this can be found in the girl band S Club 7. Created in 1998 in a poor attempt to create another “Spice Girls” group, S Club 7 remained in the shadow of the “Spice Girls” and from that position often criticized said rival’s music… …Turbo Folk, described by Freddie Mercury as “folk music on cocaine,” found a niche pocket of fans in Europe by the end of the decade…


…By the end of the 1990s, Ireland’s agriculture sector was still important, but its modern technological industry was the most prominent section of its national. In social trends, the Catholic Church continued to lose influence due to the younger generation being at the forefront when America’s “Ark Waves” of 1970 and 1986 found their ways overseas in 1971 and 1987, respectively, questioned the morality of church representatives. The most prominent of these cases, such as the court procedures surrounding disgraced Eamonn Casey, Bishop of Galway, and other, more heinous “collar criminals,” left a bitter taste in the mouths of a populous that was moving on from “the old ways” of yesteryear...
List of Presidents of Ireland
19/12/1974-21/3/1978: Cearbhall O Dalaigh (All-Party Nomination)
22/5/1978-21/5/1992: Patrick Hillery (Fianna Fail)
22/5/1992-present: Mary Robinson (Independent)

– Daniel Hollis’ The Emerald Isle: A Brief History of Ireland, Contour Publications, 2003

Pundit 1: “The Second Korean War only happened in the first place because of America’s first intervention in the peninsula, back in 1950.”

Pundit 2: “Then they are just finishing what they started.”

Pundit 1: “But when will that happen? The American military has been in Korea for nearly three years now. I thought the war had been won!”

Pundit 2: “Yes, but another one needs to be prevented now. Despite them initially planning to lower military presence in Korea once the situation was under control, the fact that recent reports revealing that the PRC has begun to strengthen their border with Korea has made the Korean government more willing to keep their allies close.”

Pundit 1: “If the Chinese didn’t intervene in ’96, then they are not going to now.”

Pundit 2: “Even still, the situation is forbidding. It is almost as if the Korean Demilitarized Zone was just moved up a ways on the map!”

– BBC1, roundtable discussion, 9/23/1998

LATEST POLL: American Military Presence In Korea Approval Ratings Among U.S. Citizens

Approve: 43%
Disapprove: 39%
Undecided: 15%

– Gallup, 9/24/1998


– First-term US Congresswoman Laura Welch (R-TX) meets with MLB Commissioner George Bush while on the campaign trail for a second term, 9/27/1998


Premiered: September 30, 1998 (U.S.)
Genre(s): suspense/horror/thriller
Synopsis: A small group of people survive underground in a post-apocalyptic “eastern Europe,” but are on the verge of societal collapse due to bickering, paranoia, suspicion and infighting. The group must put aside their differences, though, when a beast from mythology breaches their borders, threatening to doom them all with either radioactive fallout or its terrifying taste for human flesh.

Trivia Facts:

Trivia Fact No. 1: The Creature in The Film Is Based on A Real Myth

{spoiler} The Psoglav, or Psoglavac when plural, is from primarily Croatian and, less commonly, Slovenian, folk tales that describe a beast with a man’s body and a dog’s head that digs up graves to eat human remains [11]. Like in the film, the Psoglav’s most iconic characteristic is its single eye in the center of its face. It is described in the movie as the only animal to naturally develop cyclopia, which is the inability of the embryonic forebrain to properly divide the orbits of the eye into two cavities. In psoglavs, according to the film, this event naturally occurs due to the psoglav’s natural habitat – underground caves and tunnels, where vision is limited; nostrils and olfactory glands develop farther south of the snout than on regular wolf-based animals. The scientist character in the film states that another possible reason for their cyclopia is the plant veratrum californicum (corn lily), which contains the toxin 2-deoxyjervine (cyclopamine), a highly teratogenic alkaloid toxin that has been documented as misdirecting the embryonic forebrain-dividing process in farm animal births over the centuries. This plant is found growing all over the psoglav’s tunnels in the third act of the film.

Trivia Fact No. 2: The Movie Spawned Cincinnati’s Movie Industry

The city of Cincinnati, Ohio hosts the largest abandoned subway tunnel system in the US, as construction on the costly endeavor halted during the Great Depression [12]. Without any plans to revive the rapid transit project, the city began seeking other ways of using the roughly over 2 miles of empty tunnels. Proposals varied over the decade, but often faced issues; the space was inadequate for use as a city storage facility, as a fallout shelter, or as a train line due to its small space and sharp turns inhibiting mobility. In the 1970s, businessman Nick Clooney managed to turn a small part of the tunnels into an underground night club, with plans on expanding the area into an underground mall, until insurance costs and liability concerns scrapped both the club and the mall proposal after the US entered recession in 1978. However, in the 1990s, filmmakers in Hollywood learned of the abandoned systems’ existence due to technet forums raising awareness of it. Paramount initially planned to use only the Race Street station in this the horror film and produce the rest in Yugoslavia, but ultimately chose to film most of the film in Cincinnati due to the much lower costs. “It’s Watching You” performed modestly at the box office and developed a cult following. Since the film’s release, interest in the tunnels has gradually increased; since then, other major Hollywood films (such as Look Out Below, Afghan Junction, Dead Quiet, and The Warriors 2), as well as several independent films, have been filmed in the tunnels, and the city has seen a rise in tourism and in films being shot in the city.


…President Chris Hani’s “camaraderie committees” were bearing fruit by the end of 1998, as race riots reached an all-time low. Hani hoped to unite white and Black citizens of South Africa under the “Africa For All” concept, opening markets and trade to left-wing democracies and to all stable African nations. To this end, South Africa added to its automobile consumption by investing in the Kantanka car company headquartered in Ghana. …On the military side of things, President Hani received criticism for supporting UK Prime Minister John Lennon’s refusal to commit UK troops to military intervention in northern Korea in early 1996; by 1998, Lennon had apologized for the decision, while Hani refused to follow suit, arguing “he [Lennon] was right at the time.” In October 1998, though Hani did attempt to play a role in brokering peace a deal for warring groups developing chaos in the Democratic Republic of the Congo…

– Julian Brown’s The Road to Soweto: Resistance & Revolution in Post-Soweto South Africa, Jacana Publishers, 2016

“Korea’s recession spurred on the Feed The World concert, and that collaborative musical showcase did helped the Koreans ward off further economic disaster, but in doing so, it may have lessened the Democratic Party’s impact in the November midterms. Without Korea’s economic collapse, our own economy stayed strong, and who’s going to vote out the incumbents when the economy’s not doing too bad?”

– James Carville, former political advisor to John Glenn, TON Nighttime News, round-table discussion, 10/30/1998

…In October 1998, Wendy’s decided to discontinue The SuperBar, a generous buffet-style offering at select stores that had been first introduced in 1988, in over 75% of participating outlets. Financial statements confirmed that in high overhead costs were responsible for the company’s drop in total profits margins; to put it simply, the SuperBar was too expensive to retain – not to mention being very difficult for employees to maintain due to the need to frequently sanitize multiple trays and distribution utensils – without large a number of customers using it. And Wendy’s outlets only rarely saw such a large number of customers...

– Marlona Ruggles Ice’s A Kentucky-Fried Phoenix: The Post-Colonel History of Most Famous Birds In The World, Hawkins E-Publications, 2020

[vid: B2pzL_mysBI ]

– A commercial for Wendy’s The SuperBar, c. 1989

THE EVOLUTION OF FRITZ HOLLINGS: Why A Former Segregationist Is Passionately Backing Jesse Jackson

…Fritz Hollings, who supports Jackson’s plans for economic revival for the state, was a supporter of industrial training programs during his own time as Governor, from 1959 to 1963... Jackson served as Governor from 1987 to 1991, winning during the “blue wave” of 1986 midterms. In September 21-22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo destroyed billions of dollars of upscale housing built along the coastline during the 1970s. Jackson, with the help of historical preservation groups and construction firms, built the city of Charleston back to its pre-Hugo conditions within a year. Limited to one term, Jackson spent the rest of his term fighting tooth and nail to overhaul education. The state economy had focused on offering low-wage industrial jobs since the 1970s, and so was failing to attract high-wage industries and the kind of workers who can afford high taxes imposed under Governors Westmoreland, Riley, and Stevenson... …Jackson’s opponents claim he is only running for the Governor’s seat once more to use it as a stepping stone for another run for the White House in 2000; however, Jackson remains popular among SC Democrats, especially those who don’t mind. “If he wants that higher-up job,” says one support referring to the White House, “then you’ll know he’ll put his nose to the grindstone and do a good job during his first year, so that way he can run for President in the second year and win.”

Time Magazine, mid-October 1998 issue


The Chicago Tribune, 10/20/1998

…news of more violence coming out from Korea and Mexico concerning Black Markets, gunrunning and drug trafficking made many American voters begin to question if Dinger was indeed handling these situations as well as the GOP claimed he was. In October, Mexico’s civilian death toll rose as more locals began to rise up against cartels, after a 5-year-old boy was killed in crossfire during a cartel-police gunfight north of Cabo on October 21 jumpstarted a popular grassroots-based anti-drug movement among locals in northern Mexico. Concurrently, the marijuana legalization movement was making headway in political discussions leading up to the 1998 midterm elections; it even began to gain supporters in Mexico as well.

On October 26, gunmen working for the Juarez Cartel overwhelmed a local jail and “liberate” the drug cartel members being temporarily held there; local citizens responded by planting cam bombs outside one of the cartels’ warehouses, setting it ablaze. The cartel replied by shooting a local community organizer, to which the citizens responded by giving further support to police...

– Edward Gulio Romano III’s LMD: A Study of The Dinger Days, Sunrise Publishers, 2020

“Liberty must be defended at all levels of government and in all troubled lands. Whether Americans and their fellow lovers of freedom and democracy are separated by an ocean, a language or a religion, the principles of life, liberty and happiness are universal, worldwide truths. We have pulled these principles out from under the thumb of oppression in northern Korea, and we will pull these principles out from under the thumb of oppression in Mexico, and Colombia, and every nation in between where innocent citizens live in fear of violent recreadrug cartels. The same cartels that threaten the lives and health of our children with their narcotics. Their lives must be protected, and that starts with a strongly anti-drug Senate!”

– US Sen. Patrick Downard (R-KY), 10/28/1998 stump speech


The New York Times, 11/1/1998

November United States Senate election results, 1998

Date: November 3, 1998
Seats: 36 of 100
Seats needed for majority: 51
Senate majority leader: Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Senate minority leader: Bob Dole (R-KS)
Seats before election: 53 R), 45 (D), 2 (I), 0 (LU)
Seats after election: 50 (R), 47 (D), 2 (I), 1 (LU)
Seat change: R v 3, D ^ 2, I - 0, LU ^ 1

Full List:
Alabama: incumbent Mary Texas Hurt Garner (D) over Jerome Shockley (R)
Alaska: incumbent Frank Murkowski (R) over Tony Knowles (D), Billy Toien (L), Jeffrey Gottlieb (G) and Marc Millican (I)
Arizona: incumbent Eddie Najeeb Basha Jr. (D) over Robert Lee Park (R)
Arkansas: incumbent F. Winford Boozman III (R) over Lottie H. Shackelford (D)
California: Mike Gravel (D) over Edward C. Nixon (R); incumbent Mario Obledo (D) retired
Colorado: incumbent Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R) over Dottie Lamm (D); incumbent Pat Schroeder (D) retired
Connecticut: incumbent Chris Dodd (D) over Wildley Moore (R)
Florida: incumbent Michael Bilirakis (R) over Frank Mann (D)
Georgia: incumbent Dr. John Skandalakis (D) over Paul Coverdell (R)
Hawaii: incumbent Daniel Inouye (D) over Crystal Young (R)
Idaho: incumbent Bethine Church (D) over Mike Crapo (R)
Illinois: Cardiss Collins (D) over George Ryan (R); incumbent Alan Dixon (D) retired
Indiana: Evan Bayh (D) over incumbent Richard Lugar (R)
Iowa: Patty Jean Poole (D) over incumbent John Judge (R)
Kansas: incumbent Bob Dole (R) over Gloria O’Dell (D)
Kentucky: incumbent Patrick “Kelly” Downard (R) over Scotty Baesler (D)
Louisiana: incumbent Buddy Roemer (R) over Marty James Chabert (D)
Maine (special): incumbent appointee Olympia Snowe (R) over Sean Faircloth (D)
Maryland: incumbent Barbara Mikulski (D) over Ross Pierpont (R)
Missouri: incumbent Wayne Cryts (D) over Tamara Millay (R)
Nevada: Patricia Anne “Patty” Cafferata (R) over James Bilbray (D); incumbent Barbara Vucanovich (R) retired
New Hampshire: Lou D’Allesandro (D) incumbent Kathy Alexander (R)
New York: incumbent Mario Biaggi (D) over Will McMillen (R)
North Carolina: incumbent Nick Galifianakis (D) over Barbara Howe (R)
North Dakota: incumbent Kent Conrad (D) over Donna Nalewaja (R)
Ohio: incumbent Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. (D) over George Voinovich (R)
Oklahoma: incumbent Mickey Edwards (R) over Laura Boyd (D)
Oregon: incumbent Les AuCoin (D) over Tonie Nathan (R) and Aaron Dixon (Green)
Pennsylvania: incumbent Bob Casey Sr. (D) over Barbara Hafer (R)
South Carolina: incumbent Fritz Hollings (D) over Richard Quillian (R)
South Dakota: incumbent Teresa McGovern (D) over Ron Schmidt (R)
Utah: incumbent James V. Hansen (R) over Scott Leckman (D)
Vermont: Peter Diamondstone (Liberty Union) over Bob Melamede (D) and Hugh Douglas (R); incumbent Madeleine Kunin (D) retired
Washington: incumbent Gary Locke (D) over Linda Smith (R)
Wisconsin: incumbent Bronson La Follette (D) over Stephen B. “Steve” King (R)


…Senators Angus King, Ralph Nader and Senator-elect Peter Diamondstone were willing to caucus with the Democrats, while the centrist wing of the GOP still tried to get Nader to caucus with them more often. Together, the three made up “the triumvirate,” the “kingmakers” of the senate for the next two years. With their caucusing, the Senate was split evenly, 50-50, but with a sitting Republican VP, Republicans remained in control …A possible wildcard during this period was conservative Senator Biaggi (D-NY), who had more than once been rumored to be considering “defecting” to the Republicans over his alleged “poor treatment at the hands of the Democratic establishment.” Such a defection during this session would give Republicans 51 seats; this would have been enough for a clear, albeit narrow, majority for the GOP in the Senate, without the need for the VP’s tiebreaker vote...

– Gary C. Jacobson’s The Power and the Politics of Congressional Elections, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015

United States House of Representatives results, 1998

Date: November 3, 1998
Seats: All 435
Seats needed for majority: 218
New House majority leader: David F. Emery (R-ME)
New House minority leader: Barbara B. Kennelly (D-CT)
Last election: 265 (R), 169 (D), 1 (I)
Seats won: 242 (R), 191 (D), 2 (I)
Seat change: R v 23, D ^ 22, I ^ 1


…In California, Jim Gray, a Republican Superior Court Judge in Orange County since 1989 and an early supporter of legalizing “low-harm recredrugs” such as marijuana since the early 1990s, successfully primaried incumbent Bob Dornan of the 46th District, and barely edged out a win in November…

…While Tancredo, Gritz, and Wilson were elected to congress from Colorado, Idaho, and California, respectively, all other candidates endorsed by the Wide-Awakes lost in either their respective primaries or general elections. Most notably, libertarian-leaning US Senator M. Katherine Alexander (R-NH) lost re-election in a surprise upset, as did fellow incumbent US Senator John Judge (R-IA)…

…Florida’s most notable freshman congressman, however, was Willie Logan, the African-American state representative and former Mayor of Opa-Locka, who ran a quixotic campaign for southern Florida congressional seat as an Independent. With anti-establishment platform calling for a combination of Gravelite Progressivism and “fiscal responsibility,” Logan narrowly edged out the major-party nominees to become one of only two Independents in the 1999-2001 Congress, the other being Bill Sorrell of Vermont…

…Texas Democrats stood firm as the state veered further to the right and to the GOP. Governor Henry Cisneros pulled off a very narrow victory; US Congressman Bill Sarpalius road on his coattails into another House term, as did incumbent Pete Geren and Jack Brooks, as well as six new freshmen Democratic representatives…

…Pennsylvanians elected female African-American banking executive and former CEO of the United Bank of Philadelphia Emma C. Chappell, a progressive Democrat who supported Jesse Jackson’s 1996 Presidential candidacy, to an eastern PA Congressional seat…

– Gary C. Jacobson’s The Power and the Politics of Congressional Elections, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015

United States Governor election results, 1998

Date: November 3, 1998
Number of state gubernatorial elections held: 11
Seats before: 29 (D), 19 (R), 1 (I), 1 (G)
Seats after: 31 (D), 16 (R), 3 (I), 0 (G)
Seat change: D ^ 2, R v 3, I ^ 2, G v 1

Full list:
Alabama: Winton Blount (R) over Lenora Pate (D); incumbent Bettye Frink (R) was term-limited
Alaska: Robin Taylor (Libertarian-Republican Alliance) over Sam Cotton (D), Jim Sykes (Green) and Joe Vogler (AIP); incumbent Nora Dauenhauer (Green) retired
Arizona: David Nolan (R) over incumbent Sam Goddard III (D), Paul Johnson (I) and Scott Malcolmson (I)
Arkansas: Nick Bacon (D) over Sheffield Nelson (R); incumbent Mike Beebe (D) retired
California: incumbent Kathleen Brown (D) over Dennis Peron (R)
Colorado: incumbent Wellington Webb (D) over Gene Nichol (R)
Connecticut: incumbent Barbara Kennelly (D) over Jodi Rell (R) and Sandra Bender (Independent Democratic)
Florida: incumbent LeRoy Collins Jr. (D) over Joe Scarborough (R)
Georgia: incumbent Eston Wycliffe “Wyc” Orr Sr. (D) over Mike Bowers (R)
Hawaii: incumbent Pat Saiki (R) over Jackie King (D)
Idaho: Larry J. Echo Hawk (D) over Dirk Kempthorne (R) and Peter Rickards (I); incumbent Butch Otter (R) retired
Illinois: Darrell Issa (R) over Glenn Poshard (D); incumbent Jim Edgar (R) retired
Iowa: Sally Pederson (D) over Tom Tauke (R); incumbent Joy Coming (R) retired
Kansas: incumbent Martha Keys (D) over Bill Graves (R)
Maine: incumbent Jim Longley Jr. (I) over Tom Connolly (D) and William Clarke (R)
Maryland: Eileen Rehrmann (D) over Helen Delich Bentley (R); incumbent Decatur “Bucky” Trotter (D) retired
Massachusetts: Michael Dukakis (D) over George Bachrach (R) and Paul Loscocco (I); incumbent Evelyn Murphy (D) lost re-nomination
Michigan: incumbent James Blanchard (D) over Allen Alley (R)
Minnesota: incumbent Paul Wellstone (DFL) over Frank Germann (IRL) and Warren Limmer (Sanctity)
Nebraska: incumbent Kay Orr (R) over Kim Robak (D)
Nevada: incumbent Doug Swanson (R) over Jan Laverty Jones (D)
New Hampshire: George Condodemetraky (D) over incumbent Ovide Lamontage (R)
New Mexico: Richard “Cheech” Marin (D/La Raza Unida) and John Dendahl (R); Richard P. “Rick” Cheney (R) was term-limited
New York: Bernadette Castro (R) over Mary Anne Krupsak (D), Tom Golisano (Independence), Roy Innis (Working Families), Rudy Giuliani (Conservative), Al Lewis (Green), Evan Galbraith (Liberal), Lenora Fulani (Natural Mind); incumbent Mario Cuomo (D) retired
Ohio: incumbent William J. Brown (D) over Greg Lashutka (R)
Oklahoma: incumbent Robert S. Kerr III (D) over Hoppy Heidelberg (R)
Oregon: John Elwood “Bud” Clark (I) over John Kitzhaber (D) and Bill Sizemore (R); incumbent John Lim (R) retired
Pennsylvania: incumbent Lynn Yeakel (D) over Ernie Preate (R)
Rhode Island: Bob Healey (I) over Jack Dennison Potter (D) and Lincoln Almond (R); incumbent Bob Weygand (D) retired
South Carolina: Jesse Jackson (D) over Carroll Campbell (R) and Jim Hodges (I); Robert Inglis Sr. (R) was term-limited
South Dakota: Susan Wismer (D) over Jack Billion (R); incumbent Gus Hercules (R) retired
Tennessee: Bill Haslam (R) over John Jay Hooker Jr. (D); incumbent Frank Clement (D) was term-limited
Texas: Henry Cisneros (D/La Raza Unida) over Ray Hollis (R); incumbent Rick Perry (D) retired
Vermont: incumbent Howard Dean (D) over Ruth Dwyer (R) and Richard Gottlieb (Liberty Union)
Wisconsin: Kathleen Falk (D) over incumbent Margaret Farrow (R)
Wyoming: incumbent Harriet Elizabeth Byrd (D) over Bill Taliaferro (R)


REFERENDUM RESULTS: 60% VOTE FOR STATEHOOD; Historically High Voter Turnout Likely Fueled By Years of Commonwealth Corruption

…Two weeks after Villaronga narrowly won a second term as governor, Puerto Rican voters participated in yet another status referendum. This time, however, turnout was at an all-time high, amid more and more reports of corruption in the commonwealth government. Additionally, the commonwealth has played a vital role in helping the federal government crackdown on recreadrug trafficking and smuggling in the Caribbean. …“The Three Options” appeared on the ballot as usual. Statehood would make us no longer autonomous and would make us be ruled by a capital that has different language and different values and traditions; remaining a commonwealth would ensure further corruption from the local and mainland governments would go unchecked; independence would allow domestic corruption to go unchecked by a greater government agency. After the ballots were tallied, “statehood” had clearly obtained 59.1% of the vote, while “commonwealth” received 39.2%; “independence” once again received under 2%. Marking the first time that “statehood” has surpassed 50% in one of these referendums, and due to the high voter turnout, these results may just finally initiate mainland congressional action…

El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico newspaper (English version), 11/17/1996

…appeal to more conservative demographics and in turn develop pro-conservative atmospheres in their workplaces and advertisements, leading to some controversy later on…
…by the 1990s, Jell-O had shifted completely from being a stereotypical go-to dessert for shoutniks in the 1960s to being a common staple at conservative homes and social events in conservative communities. This was especially true out west, most noticeably in Utah, where Mormons seemed to embrace Jell-O as a proud stereotype of theirs. The company only began to distance themselves from this “niche” customer base and expand their marketing operations to a try and appeal to a wider range of customers in the late 1990s. This second shift was in response to many conservatives ontech promoting Jell-O products despite not being paid to advertise these products. Jell-O subsequently developed a negative stigma among liberal consumers who associated their products with groups such as The "Wide-Awakes" and several conservative activists who got into legal trouble for pestering people ontech. The bad image was slowly rejected – surveys conducted by Jell-O show that in 2010, Mormon customers still strongly supported their product, “radicalism” was no longer associated with their productions, and sales results were actually improving among “liberal” consumers…


“By the end of 1998, the Drug Enforcement Administration could confirm that most of the heroin was coming in from Mexico after being grown in Afghanistan. Their King was trying to work with us, but his job security was a bit on the precarious side. A lot of locals weren’t keen on America’s secular nature and often caused trouble when the King showed off his allegiance to us too much. Heh, despite all we did for them in the ’70s. But anyway, the fact of the case was that we needed to nip in the bud the cartels’ attempts to set up operations in Afghanistan and Nepal, due to the former’s poppy fields – a big source of opium – and in Tajikistan, too. A lot of scumbags, a lot of arrogant murderers and torturers, could be found over there, giving law-and-order officials headache after headache. Instead of cops and robbers, it was cops and dealers.”

– Former White House “drug czar” Robert Smith Walker, 2006 interview


…the progressive Associate Justice had served on the bench for over 23 years...

The Washington Post, 12/14/1998


…Despite being backed by the popular incumbent President (since 1996) of Belarus, Zianon Pazniak (of the Conservative Christian party), Belarussians voted against becoming a part of Russia again by the narrow margin of 1.1% in a Yes-No nationwide referendum. While the government and the people of Russia and Belarus have maintained very strong and very close ties since the latter’s independence in 1984, this referendum marks another unsuccessful attempt to unite the two groups into one. “We work better separately, with open borders and free trade and travel, but with separate laws and leaders, and I think the Belarussian people made that perfectly clear tonight,” says Belarus’ Commerce Minister, who confirmed for us that a recount is already underway in several villages. The Minister, though, notes that “I don’t think the results will change. It was narrow, but not very narrow.”

The Guardian, UK newspaper, 17/12/1998

…The results of the 1998 Belorussian Referendum were so narrow that Russian President Viktor Chernomyrdin considered annexing the country anyway! His defense minister drafted a plan to stage nationwide riots the next time their economy had a little hiccup. The idea would be to intimidate investors with the riots, causing the economy to worsen, and requiring Russia to step in to restore peace and order to Belarus. However, after several weeks, Chernomyrdin cancelled the operation. Concerns that the invading forces would actually turn Belarussians against Russia gave Chernomyrdin pause, and in the end he changed his mind. Still, for a while, at least, the people of Belarus were incredibly close to their closest ally invading them, and never knew it until; the proposed annexation would not become public knowledge until 2018…

– Alexander Korzhakov’s After The Pact: Post-Cold War Russia And The Twenty-First Century, St. Petersburg Press, 2020


Hantavirus had the whole nation – and the federal government – on edge for several weeks in early 1991, and American scientists knew that another version of the deadly virus had existed in North Korea as far back as the 1950s, when American soldiers got the thing during the Frist Korean War. Is it possible that the Bellamy, Iacocca and Dinger administrations put into motion an elaborate plan to simply invade the north just so American scientists could get their hands on that virus? The motive – to see if the Korean strand holds the secret to finding a vaccine to beat the hantavirus. After all, nobody would notice a bunch of scientists running around during a war. Plus, the Bellamy administration did leave behind an extensive collection of files or whatever you call it – a large amount of protocols, simulations and instructions for hypotheticals concerning a resurgence in hantavirus cases. Maybe not all the documents were publicly released. Maybe the docs mapping out the war were never publicly released, because they were destroyed? And thirdly, a war would kill two birds with one stone – work as a cover for a secret scientists team, and topple an anti-American regime!

It may look like a stretch, but if you connect the right dots in the right way, the whole picture becomes perfectly clear!

–, 1/11/2013 posting thread “motherpost”


…At the moment, more Japanese citizens are purchasing items on credit than ever before – despite Korea’s economic downturn possibly sending ripples over to Japan’s Treasury and business sectors…

The Wall Street Journal, 12/19/1998


– Christmas in United Korea, c. December 1998


…An analysis of the world-renown franchise’s business model of emphasizing quality at established locations reveals a slow-down in expansion over the past eight years. …The chain’s parent company, Finger Lickin’ Good, Inc., have only recently relegated 20% more funding to KFC’s advertising department, with results being overall mixed…

– The Caterer, weekly UK business magazine for hospitality professionals, late December 1998 issue

[1] Inspired by this:
[2] Parts of this segment are verbatim from here:
[3] @ajm8888 came up with the idea of this segment
[4] I covered Carson moving to Australia and getting involved in local politics in the 1983 and 1991 chapters.
[5] Same as OTL except the act is a bit more damaging ITTL:
[6] Both of these promotions come a bit earlier than in OTL
[7] Based on this:
[8] I’ll go into more detail in the next chapter
[9] OTL quote!
[10] Real life demonstration, just founded five years earlier than IOTL.
[11] OTL:
[12] Also OTL!:

The next Chapter's E.T.A.: August 10 at the latest!
I have a little question that came to mind upon seeing Elvis at the Trump Stadium bit; What has happened to this timeline's version of Johnny Cash?
His biography is similar to OTL. He spends his life battling pill addiction and getting arrested on occasion in the 1960s, but maybe he doesn't accidently burn down a national forest here like he did IOTL. It's possible that, if the pivotal 1967 arrest in Georgia that caused him to get his life together and not let his pill addiction overwhelm him didn't happen, than some other, similar event unfolded instead, maybe during the anti-war shoutnik music scene of the early 1960s. He most likely was very happy when LBJ expanded Native American lands, even if it was just to get out of the Curse of Tippecanoe (covered in a prior chapter).

Like in OTL, Cash was on friendly terms with all the US Presidents, here starting with Sanders. As a devout Christian, Cash likely supported Sanders' post-Presidential religious activities, and prayed for him when The Colonel got shot in early 1980.

If he has a cameo in TTL's Futurama, the Space Coyote may be a "real" creature in the show, instead of a figment of Homer's insanity-pepper-influenced imagination!

Cash wasn't in the 1998 Feed the World concert because his health was in decline and his doctors advised him against it; I think 40 years of intermittent drug abuse, and having heart issues in the '80s, would catch up to him one way or another. Under UHC, though, his condition is correctly diagnosed as a neuropathy in '97, instead of it being twice misdiagnosed like IOTL. So, because of that, and maybe due to easing up on the pills a bit more successfully than IOTL (plus butterflies), he may live a bit longer here, but not by that much. Eight more years, tops, I'd say. Maybe I should cover all this in an obituary in a later chapter?...
Uh over half it it has a line through it.
I don't know why that happens, this isn't the first time it's done that. Check again - is it alright now?
Looks ok for me now
Great chapter I liked President Dinger's cabinet. Nice to see Korea has a new leader now hopefully peace can last
Thanks and thanks; indeed!
How's Ireland doing? The mid-90s was when the economy really began to grow and led to the Celtic Tiger book. The overall nature of this timeline makes me think any economic growth will be much more tempered here. But who knows, maybe the Northern Ireland Peace Accords in the 70s have led to more investment in ireland sooner and butterflied the whole 90s boom away
Ireland's economy was sluggish during the early 1980s due to the effects of the Crash of 1978, but was doing very well by the end of the decade. Europe's tech boom is sort of coming earlier here, and Ireland is sort of at the forefront of it. The growth isn't as rapid as OTL, though. I'll go into more detail in the next chapter.
I wonder what the exposure of SpongeBob Squarepants, the show, is like TTL. Does it stay a niche show that's mainly confined to the countries where the restaurant is located in? Does it match the popularity of OTL SpongeBob, possibly being more popular than the restaurant in some degree (with exposure in countries where the restaurant isn't located yet, thus giving potential avenues to expand)? It really makes me wonder, especially being familiar with the 2000s fever for the show that I personally experienced in Europe.
Excellent question! Hillenburg cares about the quality of the show like in OTL, so it won't be a shameless cash grab; the latter may be more likely, then, right? What do you think? (I'll cover it in either 1998 or 1999)
This timeline remains interesting. Wow. That Dinger cabinet is something else.
I suppose it all depends on the interests of all parties involved (Hillenburg, S.B.S.C. execs, DDB Needham, Klasky Csupo, etc.) and what those interests are, whether or not SpongeBob the show is licensed out (whether for airing in English, airing with subs, or getting a dubbing company to make a dub for a given market) in the same/similar fashion as OTL SpongeBob.

For instance, in Europe, there's the German sea food fast food chain Nordsee, primarily focused in Germany and Austria. According to the German Wikipedia article, in 1997, it was sold to Apax Partners, brought together under the subsidiary Nordsee Holding, later in 1999 introducing the smaller Snack-Shop eateries. It wouldn't be until 2004, as the brand reorganized and tried to improve its image, that it began expanding out of Germany and Austria, going into the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, and Switzerland (franchised branch, legal owner Candrian Seafood AG). It'd recommend more research into this, though it seems this is largely accurate. SpongeBob receiving dubs in Europe might be perceived by Nordsee (and any other sea food chains, if there are any, which I'm unaware of) as a Trojan horse of sorts, to get audiences (including kids) used to the brand, before the company officially expands into those regions. And I'd imagine there'd be S.B.S.C. execs who'd be thinking the same thing.

Of course, for those who care about the show, SpongeBob being licensed out is effectively an easy stream of revenue, especially if the show is a hit in America. So, honestly, the latter option of TTL SpongeBob being as popular as OTL SpongeBob seems likely, with the additional bonus of online discussions like "which are you more familiar with, the restaurant or the show". Heck, if the show becomes that popular, and there's countries which don't have branches, there'd likely be tourists who'd have their kids beg them to go to a SpongeBob's so that they can have a Krabby Patty.
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Great to know this United Korea is doing well. Say, when you can, cover, or mention some of the cast of Might Morphin Power Rangers. David Yost, Amy Joe Johnson, and others.