Speaking of GRRM, I still think there ought to be a Wild Cards TV show. Preferably with music by the guy who did the Lois and Clark tv show.
 
In the News...
Daly to Step Down from Warner Brothers
The Hollywood Reporter, August 8th, 1994


Hollywood – Warner Brothers Chairman and CEO Robert Daly today announced his plans to step down as the Chairman and CEO of the multibillion-dollar entertainment company, naming his President and COO Terry Semel as his successor. “Terry has been my right-hand man for years,” said Daly, “and I’m positive that he’ll keep Warner Brothers at the top of the industry.”

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Semel and Daly (Image source LA Times)

Daly cited plans to focus on supporting charity efforts as his motive, but inside sources cite growing disillusion on the board with his imperious and micromanaging style and most recently his embarrassing (and potentially incriminating) gaffe over the Captain Planet Coalition Public-Private Partnership, which suggested to many that the plan was an overt violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Despite the dogged defense from his chosen successor Semel, the board seemed primed to remove him from the Chair, willingly or otherwise.

While Semel seems the obvious choice to fill in for his friend and mentor, some in Hollywood are unsure of the future with Semel alone. “Yea, what can I say? Robert and Terry had a very specific working relationship,” said an unnamed Hollywood executive. “Robert was the ‘bad cop’, hot headed and aggressive, while Terry was the ‘good cop’, patient and understanding. It was a high-functioning if co-dependent working relationship.”

Perhaps predicting this dynamic, as Semel ascends to the Chair and CEO billet, he will be backfilled as President and COO by famed producer John Peters, whose long string of hits includes critically acclaimed films, like his former wife Barbara Streisand’s 1976 remake of A Star Is Born, the hit Penny Marshall supernatural comedy/drama The Witches of Eastwick, and the recent relaunch of the iconic Superman film franchise, starring Robert Downy, Jr. Peters, who has a reputation as an aggressive and energetic producer, is seen as a good match, bringing the “hot” energy to balance Semel’s “cool” as well as bringing a deep well of creative energy.

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Peters with Pamela Anderson c. 1994 (Image source “whodatedwho.com”)

But others have their doubts. “The Daly-Semel dynamic worked because Daly was in charge,” said the same executive. “You think for a New York Minute that Peters is going to play second fiddle to Semel? Get out of here!”

Either way, Daly’s departure marks a seismic shift in the leadership for Warner Brothers, which had grown considerably under his leadership, acquiring many smaller studios such as Lorimar and Rankin-Bass and acquiring and expanding the Six Flags Theme Park franchise, which has expanded aggressively, adding Warner Movie World parks around the world and competing directly with Disney and Universal on the Theme Park front. Semel is expected to continue these efforts in the short run, though speculation remains on what changes in strategic vision, if any, that Peters will bring to the table.

Daly reportedly sold his shares in Warner Brothers back to the company, undoubtedly netting a solid return. A friend noted his love of baseball, and expects him to use his gains to buy a baseball team, “likely the Dodgers.” The same friend noted his support for children’s welfare, suggesting that he will take a position on the board of a charity[1].

But the same friend questioned whether Daly would simply ride off into the sunset. “I can’t imagine that he’s just going to put Hollywood behind him after all of the sweat and tears he put into his long-running career.

“Trust me, we haven’t seen the last of Robert Daly.”



Crime Bill Passes in the Senate
Washington Post, September 12th, 1994


Washington – The US Senate passed the Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which passed in the House earlier this year and is expected to be signed into law by President Gore. The bill increases sentencing penalties for violent crime and sex offences, adds new protections for physical and sexual violence against women and children, gives $30 million dollars in support of community policing and community outreach, adds “three strikes” legislation to reduce recidivism, and increases cases where the death penalty can be applied[2]. At the insistence of President Gore, whose own son has faced addiction problems, the bill’s penalties for non-violent drug offenses were reduced, with increased funding for court-ordered drug rehabilitation programs. The bill gained broad bipartisan support and is hoped to reduce increases in violent crime seen with the rise of drug gangs in the inner cities.

While Law Hawks applauded the bill, some Public Defendants have lambasted the “overly harsh” penalties, which they say will only increase long term incarceration rates, calling out the “three strikes” laws in particular as “certain to lead to unfairly long prison times for relatively minor non-violent offences.” Civil rights groups fear that non-white defendants will suffer the hardest[3], citing numerous cases where… Cont’d on A16.



NY, Pennsylvania, Maryland join “Silicon Holler”
The Wall Street Journal, September 4th, 1994


Philadelphia – Acting Governor Mark Singel of Pennsylvania, Governor William Schaefer of Maryland, and Governor Mario Cuomo of New York today signed on to the Great Valley Technology Corridor (GVTC) initiative, known in the press as “Silicon Holler”. The partnership will expand both the available federal Green Growth Act funds and industry incentives developed under the earlier GVTC, which was signed by the governors of Virginia and Tennessee earlier this year. The deal includes numerous Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York based technology and transportation companies to include Conrail and CSX Railway, these latter firms likely to expand and integrate into the east coast intermodal hub network that began with the Virginia-based Norfolk Southern Railway. Conrail in particular is expected to serve as a bridge into a similar northwestern intermodal hub forged earlier this year in partnership with Burlington Northern and Union Pacific[4].
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“This signatory expands the GVTC across almost the whole of the Appalachian Great Valley,” said Undersecretary Frank Wells, “and even integrates the adjacent Wyoming Valley [of Pennsylvania], bringing in the great cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Transport between the Gulf [of Mexico], Atlantic, Great Lakes, Hudson Valley, and points beyond now has several all new and low-carbon options for shipping and logistics, a move that will take trucks off of the highways and create thousands of new jobs in the expanding US Intermodal grid.”

The expanded “Holler” is hoped by the signatories to also bring new occupational opportunities to the “Coal belt” as the use of coal for electrical power predictably declines during the coming decades, with even neighboring non-signatory states hoping to leverage the deal. “Appalachia has for the most part been a mono-industrial region for over a century,” said Senator William Byrd of West Virginia, who recently spearheaded an effort to build a small intermodal facility near Charleston, WV. “The opportunity to diversify the local economies is welcome. And while the Great State of West Virginia is not geographically slated to join the GVTC, the New & Kanawha River Valley corridor is primed to integrate into it logistically as a part of the greater hub-and-spoke, connecting the lower Great Valley to the middle Ohio Valley, and thus connect the Ohio to the Gulf at Mobile and the Atlantic at Norfolk.”

The move marks a continued expansion of the intermodal hub-and-spoke program, promising to merge the seed GVTC effort into similar efforts launched in the West and Midwest, all part of what President Gore hopes to be a fully interconnected national rail-centered logistics system. Rail stocks reacted well to the news while truck transport company stocks became volatile as investors debate whether this will decrease or increase opportunities for trucking in the long run, with the general consensus being that long haul trucking will decline while short and middle haul opportunities will increase.

“This will be a boon to working class people all along the Great Valley,” said Acting Governor Singel of Pennsylvania. “It will create thousands of short- and long-term jobs and will reinvigorate the stagnant economies of these forgotten, ‘drive by’ counties. 1200 miles of land, from Chattanooga to Lake Champlain, all set to benefit from the federal largesse.”

Meanwhile, back in Blacksburg Virginia, artist Pris Sears, who is credited with coining the term “Silicon Holler”, had only this to say: “So, we’re up to 1200 miles of holler, now. That’s one hell of a holler!”



* * *​

USR adds New States, Authorizes Elections
The New York Times, October 12th, 1994


Moscow – President Gorbachev of the Union of Sovereign Republics, the successor-state to the Soviet Union, has signed legislation from the newly redesignated Duma (formerly the Supreme Soviet) that expands the number of officially designated Sovereign States and adds a formal legislative pathway for other Autonomous Republics to become States and Autonomous Oblasts to become Autonomous Republics[5]. The bill officially elevates the Autonomous Republics of Chechnya-Ingush, Dagestan, Ossetia-Alania, Karelia, Bashkiria, Tatarstan, and Komi to full State status, bringing the total number of USR States to sixteen. Several other Autonomous Republics have each begun applications for full State status. The Autonomous Oblasts of Adyghe, Gorno-Altai, Karachay-Cherkessia, and Khakassia were simultaneously elevated to Autonomous Republic status while other, smaller Autonomous Oblasts have begun the application process to become Autonomous Republics, including the controversial Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is claimed by the independent Republic of Armenia and is currently an official part of the State of Azerbaijan.

President Gorbachev also authorized free and open elections for both the Duma and the office of the Presidency, to initiate in one year’s time coinciding with the end of his first five-year term as President. The authorization comes amid ongoing protests in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, and other major cities demanding open elections and ongoing demands in the Duma, particularly from Representative Boris Yeltsin, a one-time Gorbachev protégé who has emerged as the leading voice of the Opposition. Other unrest has occurred over economic woes as the post-Soviet economic realignment continues to put the pinch on USR families.

Analysts believe that these two new laws, coming back-to-back, represent the tacit acknowledgement by the USR Federal Government of their own limited power and waning influence. While Democratic activists the world over hailed the announcement, some analysts and Russia-watchers fear that the two changes herald the further decentralization and possible disintegration of the USR, which may lead to more State secessions and potential increases in regional instability, such as has been seen in the Trans-Caucasus and Central Asian regions. Whether giving more powers to the Caucuses States will help quell growing separatist movements or empower them further remains to be seen.

The government of the independent Republic of Georgia condemned the announcement of the State of Ossetia-Alania in particular. They have openly blamed the Moscow government for supporting South Ossetian insurgents amid growing ethnic unrest in the former Soviet Republic and fear that the move signals the start of a pretext for invasion by the USR. Analysts… Cont’d on A4.



UN begins Somalia Drawdown in wake of Power Sharing Agreement
Washington Post, October 21st, 1994


Mogadishu – the leaders of the largest Somali factions today agreed to a historic power sharing arrangement that will serve as a transitional government for the war- and famine-plagued nation. The so-called Mogadishu Accords, mediated by the United Nations, set up a loose federated structure dividing the war-torn nation into several co-equal States, each more or less aligned to the current boundaries of the various rival factions, who will become political parties while each retaining some control of their local militias, which will be integrated into the Somali National Army at least in name. Somaliland in particular will retain a high degree of political autonomy.

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US Marines departing Mogadishu (Image source Nevada VA)

The ruling Somali National Assembly will be headed by President Ali Mahdi Muhammad backed by former arch-rival Mohamed Farah Aidid as Vice President and Somali National Movement head and Somaliland President Muhammad Haji Egal, who will serve as First Consul to the President. The ill-defined roles of this “Somali Triumvirate” lead some analysts to proclaim the situation untenable in the long term, with many fearing that the shaky peace will disintegrate.

Even so, UNOSOM head General Robert Johnson has announced that US troops, primarily made up of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit, will begin to drawdown, expecting to fully hand over day-to-day security to the “blue helmets” of the UN international forces by the summer of 1995. “The primary mission of I MEF has been accomplished,” said Johnson in a speech to the assembled Marines. “A peaceful transition of power has been accomplished. We are going home. Oorah!”

US President Al Gore called the announcement “hopeful” and pledged US financial support through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank along with diplomatic recognition.

Representatives of the US-owned Exxon company, Royal Dutch Shell, and British Petroleum have meanwhile been seen meeting with Somaliland representatives in what some are calling “helpful foreign investment” and others are calling a resource-grab. Somaliland, the largest state, which is controlled by the Somali National Movement, remains a thorny issue, as it has maintained de facto independence for the last few years and remains one of the more stable regions. The feared formal succession of the State, which briefly declared independence in 1991 and controls the lion’s share of the petroleum reserves, could greatly complicate ongoing attempts to maintain the fragile peace.

Whether the shaky peace can fully transition into a functioning multiparty government remains to be seen, with Somali-watchers both hopeful and fearful.

“Somalia represents a real hope for peace in a post-colonial nation,” said Washington Post analyst…Cont’d on A6.



Police Raid Manilla Apartment, Capture, Kill Alleged Bomb Plotters
Los Angeles Times, November 3rd, 1994


Manilla – Philippine Police raided an apartment block in the capital of Manilla yesterday, capturing or killing several Arab men and seizing numerous Russian-made weapons along with chemicals and electronics associated with bomb making. It is believed that the accused terror cell planned on attacking Pope John Paul II on his upcoming visit to the Philippines and, given the scale of the bomb-making materials, likely additional attacks. The cell is believed to be responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Philippine Air 747 which killed three and injured eleven.

Police were drawn to the location by anonymous tips and “suspicious activity” at the apartment[6]. With the heightened security and awareness surrounding the upcoming Papal visit, Philippine courts were motivated to allow the search and seizure warrant.

Among those killed are cell leader Ramzi Yousef and an Arab man whom the FBI believe may be wanted terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Plotter Abdul Hakim Murad was captured and is, allegedly, cooperating with the police.

“By disrupting this cell, we have likely averted several attacks of the Philippine Air type,” said Police Captain… Cont’d on A3.



Comedians have a Field Day as Disney Announces Cryogenic Project
Orlando Sentinel, November 4th, 1994


Kissimmee – “I hear that Disney has announced a new cryogenic project, did you hear about this, Paul?” Tonight Show Host David Letterman asked his bandleader and right-hand man last Monday night. After Paul proclaimed ignorance, Letterman went on to describe the new Cryogenic Energy Storage Demonstration Project to be constructed at EPCOT's Universe of Energy Pavilion in Walt Disney World, a $10 million project meant to produce 2.5 megawatt hours of electrical energy storage at a 350-megawatt peak output using liquid nitrogen as a storage medium[7].

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Cryogenic Energy Storage Demonstrator under construction in EPCOT (Image source Power Technology)

“I'm glad to know that Walt's frozen head is still pulling its weight,” Letterman added, to a tortured laugh from the audience.

Letterman was just the beginning as comedians, commentators, and even politicians all weighed in on the new energy storage demonstrator, the latest in a series of “Green Technologies” being demonstrated at the EPCOT pavilion over the past half-decade, including solar panels and wind turbines, the latter of which tend to stay embarrassingly still in the humid but static Central Florida air. While the technology itself is a very serious attempt at developing grid-level energy storage, which is a critical component in managing a future renewable-heavy power grid (Disney is also demonstrating battery storage, thermal storage, gravity-based storage, and flywheel systems), the rumors surrounding founder Walt Disney's supposed cryogenically frozen head, rumors that the Disney family insists are false, proved too tempting of a target for comedy writers.

“Wow, what a hero! Walt Disney is still contributing to his company even today, this time as a {expletive deleted} battery!” said comedian Denis Leary.

“Walt the corpsicle has reemerged from his slumber beneath the EPCOT Ball, supposedly as a power storage system,” said Saturday Night Live's Norm MacDonald. “Yea, pull the other one. We all know that this is all part of his Frankenstein-like resurrection. HE'S ALIVE!!!” he concluded, adding gratuitous thunder and lightning effects.

Even technophiles got in on the game. “You'd think that Disney would have a better grasp of the branding potential here,” said Silicon Horde Magazine, who recommended the alternate name “Watt-Amplitude Leveraging Technology System and Hybrid Energy Alternative Demonstrator,” or “WALTS HEAD”[8].

But technology and power experts are less flippant about it all. “Grid level energy storage is critical to maintaining power and preventing blackouts, given the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources,” said Dr. Nazim Muradov of the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC). “Cryogenic energy storage offers a scalable, in-situ energy storage system that can integrate with renewable energy sources, taking advantage of the inherent potential energy in liquified nitrogen in order to capture excess renewable energy production for later use, such as when renewable sources are idle, or as a source for peak shaving or surge capacity. The Disney system offers a good small-scale demonstration of the technology, which unlike other grid level sources, such as pumped hydroelectric, has no inherent geographic limitations.”

“Grid level energy storage will be critical in achieving President Gore's goals for renewable energy integration,” said Undersecretary of Commerce and Disney Chairman-on-leave Frank Wells. “The Disney experiment is a good step in that direction, and I am pleased that Disney is continuing to fly the green banner even in my absence.”

And while green skeptics are less sanguine about the experiments, the demonstrator offers citizens a chance to experience first-hand the types of technologies that President Gore's Green Growth Act has been developing. “Tours of the Cryogenic Energy Storage Demonstration Project will be available at the Universe of Energy Pavilion in EPCOT's Future World, even as we continue construction,” said Imagineering Creative Vice President Marty Sklar. “We are very proud of what we're doing here and anxious to show our guests another peek into that Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!

“Just please be kind to our friendly and hardworking staff members,” he added, “and please don't ask them about the dearly departed Walt.”





[1] In our timeline Daly bought the LA Dodgers in 1999 after leaving WB and became the Chairman of Save the Children in 2010. And Hat tip to @El Pip for the Wild Adventures of Robert Daly subplot idea! Just wait 'till you see what comes next.

[2] More or less per our timeline, though the post-Thomas reckoning on sexual harassment and assault and breakup of various child abuse rings has made sexual assault a larger part of the bill than in our timeline. Notably not in the bill in this timeline is the Assault Weapons Ban provision due to a lack of urgency in this timeline. This is since the 1989 Cleveland Elementary School shooting has been butterflied since Patrick Purdy commits suicide in 1987 (he attempted but failed in our timeline) and since whatever insanity led to the 101 California Street shooting has been butterflied due to just how random and senseless it was (and with fewer Copycats to inspire the shooter). The prior butterflies of some of the more senseless 1980s shootings in this timeline (in part per reader request) has generated butterflies of their own since there are fewer Copycat killings. Those butterflies add up over time! There were still incidents similar to the Luby’s Shooting, but these largely local and personal events failed to capture the public imagination the way the other two appallingly indiscriminate and senseless events did. As a result, the Crime Bill of 1994 passes with broader bipartisan support without the controversial Assault Weapons Ban provision. This will have further butterflies down the line.

[3] As in our timeline it will lead to a drastic increase in incarceration, particularly among non-whites without a corresponding drop in recidivism. However, it will be somewhat muted compared to our timeline since minor non-violent drug offenses (e.g. Simple Possession) are left out of the “three strikes” program and mandatory minimum sentences for them are replaced with rehab programs. Drug dealers will get hit hard, as in our timeline, though, which will add to the overcrowding issue.

[4] As a strange butterfly, Conrail’s privileged position bridging the Atlantic, Ohio Valley, and Great Lakes, including controlling a major double-tracked east-west corridor across Pennsylvania that got awkwardly (and disastrously) split between NS and CSX in 1999 in our timeline, will benefit greatly from the new intermodal network, and thus manages to survive as an independent rail company in this timeline and not get split between CSX and NS. The BNSF and UP/SP mergers will still happen per our timeline.

[5] Recall that Autonomous Republics are the former ASSRs. Autonomous Oblasts are essentially the same as the former Soviet ones. The USR retains the Soviet-era hierarchy of Oblast --> Republic --> State with each successive designation giving greater internal autonomy and sovereignty and more power and influence at the Federal level. Krais, Okrugs, Federal Cities, and the like are more or less treated as Oblasts, administratively speaking.

[6] Parallels our timeline’s “Bojinka Plot”. Per our timeline, the plotters were hardly professional in concealing that they were “up to something”. In our timeline the Philippine police allegedly set a fire in January 1995 as an excuse to take a peek. Here, with credible threats against the Pope, they got a judge to sign off on a warrant. Will this “prevent” 9/11 given that its architect is dead? Yes and no. Bin Laden still lives, as does Mullah Omar and a critical mass of what became Al Qaida, and extreme Salafist terrorism and the geopolitics that feeds it is certainly still in play. Stay tuned.

[7] Construction helmet tip to @El Pip for the assist on cost and sizing.

[8] Electrical Engineers the world over will henceforth refer to Cryogenic Energy Storage systems as “Walt’s Head” systems, as in “we’ll need a hundred-meg PV array with a Walt’s Head.” Hat tip to @Denliner for the suggestion.
 
While Semel seems the obvious choice to fill in for his friend and mentor, some in Hollywood are unsure of the future with Semel alone. “Yea, what can I say? Robert and Terry had a very specific working relationship,” said an unnamed Hollywood executive. “Robert was the ‘bad cop’, hot headed and aggressive, while Terry was the ‘good cop’, patient and understanding. It was a high-functioning if co-dependent working relationship.”

Perhaps predicting this dynamic, as Semel ascends to the Chair and CEO billet, he will be backfilled as President and COO by famed producer John Peters, whose long string of hits includes critically acclaimed films, like his former wife Barbara Streisand’s 1976 remake of A Star Is Born, the hit Penny Marshall supernatural comedy/drama The Witches of Eastwick, and the recent relaunch of the iconic Superman film franchise, starring Robert Downy, Jr. Peters, who has a reputation as an aggressive and energetic producer, is seen as a good match, bringing the “hot” energy to balance Semel’s “cool” as well as bringing a deep well of creative energy.

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Good luck to them, will be interesting to see what the future holds for Warner.
Also that's Pamela Anderson?! Holy Moly
“Trust me, we haven’t seen the last of Robert Daly.”
Is that a promise or a threat?
[1] In our timeline Daly bought the LA Dodgers in 1999 after leaving WB and became the Chairman of Save the Children in 2010. And Hat tip to @El Pip for the Wild Adventures of Robert Daly subplot idea! Just wait 'till you see what comes next.
Will he cross paths with Michael Eisner perhaps?
“This signatory expands the GVTC across almost the whole of the Appalachian Great Valley,” said Undersecretary Frank Wells, “and even integrates the adjacent Wyoming Valley [of Pennsylvania], bringing in the great cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Transport between the Gulf [of Mexico], Atlantic, Great Lakes, Hudson Valley, and points beyond now has several all new and low-carbon options for shipping and logistics, a move that will take trucks off of the highways and create thousands of new jobs in the expanding US Intermodal grid.”
“This will be a boon to working class people all along the Great Valley,” said Acting Governor Singel of Pennsylvania. “It will create thousands of short- and long-term jobs and will reinvigorate the stagnant economies of these forgotten, ‘drive by’ counties. 1200 miles of land, from Chattanooga to Lake Champlain, all set to benefit from the federal largesse.”
Very positive reception so far, if it can only satisfy a fraction of that it's going to be a success.
Also will they add passengers trains to that?
Because this could also help to turn Appalachia into a holiday destination. Lake Champlain is beautiful in the summer.
The bill officially elevates the Autonomous Republics of Chechnya-Ingush, Dagestan, Ossetia-Alania, Karelia, Bashkiria, Tatarstan, and Komi to full State status, bringing the total number of USR States to sixteen. Several other Autonomous Republics have each begun applications for full State status. The Autonomous Oblasts of Adyghe, Gorno-Altai, Karachay-Cherkessia, and Khakassia were simultaneously elevated to Autonomous Republic status while other, smaller Autonomous Oblasts have begun the application process to become Autonomous Republics, including the controversial Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is claimed by the independent Republic of Armenia and is currently an official part of the State of Azerbaijan
The USR is really doing great for it self right now, lots of federalisation might sound bad for the centralised government but it could be a real change to turn the USR into a more equal country. Can't wait to hear how the first free election will go and if Yeltsin will even have a chance for the Presidency.
The so-called Mogadishu Accords, mediated by the United Nations, set up a loose federated structure dividing the war-torn nation into several co-equal States, each more or less aligned to the current boundaries of the various rival factions, who will become political parties while each retaining some control of their local militias, which will be integrated into the Somali National Army at least in name. Somaliland in particular will retain a high degree of political autonomy.
Sworn enemies having to work together for the sake of the public?
What could possibly go wrong!

No seriously, that just sounds like the US helped to reframe the problem to look good.
I think the Marines should keep their suitcases on hand.
Representatives of the US-owned Exxon company, Royal Dutch Shell, and British Petroleum have meanwhile been seen meeting with Somaliland representatives in what some are calling “helpful foreign investment” and others are calling a resource-grab
No get out of here! You're making it worse.
Will this “prevent” 9/11 given that its architect is dead? Yes and no. Bin Laden still lives, as does Mullah Omar and a critical mass of what became Al Qaida, and extreme Salafist terrorism and the geopolitics that feeds it is certainly still in play. Stay tuned.
Oh No. Can't say I'm looking forward to that.

Great chapter @Geekhis Khan
 
Also that's Pamela Anderson?! Holy Moly
Yup. Pre-plastic surgery Pamela Anderson to be exact. She was honestly quite gorgeous IMO, before she kind of started to ruin her looks by starting to get facial plastic surgery later on (after this picture was taken) in 1994. Over the years, the plastic surgery just kept getting more noticeable and noticeable, and in my view her originally beauty was lost along the way.
 
I assume that every Warner Brothers movie must now run the risk of having a giant spider put in. It might liven a few of them up, who knows? I mean given what Peters is reputed to have acted like it's certainly going to be a hell of an interesting combination.

I've not much understanding of the USR's situation but it seems....tentatively good? I'm not sure, have to put a pin in that one.

9/11 is not going to happen quite as planned but it still may happen? Oh dear, definitely a worrier that one.

My heart goes out to the poor green engineers who are going to have to hear all the jokes. But to be honest, it is very funny that they're going this route.

Little bit of a mixed bag on all fronts, but such is the way of history. I'll be very curious to see how the midterms pan out without Gringich to lead the charge, though I suppose it's the question of whether he's done enough or not. But with Reform waiting in the wings,....well, who's to say?
 
Is that a promise or a threat?
A good question. I would say the answer is probably "Both".

I fear the negotiators have missed a trick in Somalia. The problem will not be sharing Power it will be sharing the oil money, or even just the potential for it. Particularly if the region that is most autonomous sits on almost all of it. Given the particularly poor reputation of UN missions at this time I fear the Marines will be back in country sooner rather than later.
 
While "Walt's Head" as a euphemism for cryogenic energy storage might be funny for a while, I can see the joke wearing thin pretty quickly.
 
While "Walt's Head" as a euphemism for cryogenic energy storage might be funny for a while, I can see the joke wearing thin pretty quickly.
It's not just a joke, it's an actual term/lexicon used by scientists/engineers. Even if it's not that funny anymore, it won't go away.

Speaking of the joke, I was actually against using it as such because the Disney family will be eternally pissed about the urban legend being immortalized into the public consciousness, but Geekhis convinced me and it was simply too funny not to pass it up. It's a small price to pay for a much better Disney, lol.
 
Thanks again, all. Appreciate the discussions. Lion King is coming up very soon as we move towards the end of 1994.

Stay tuned on the USR and Somalia.

Also will they add passengers trains to that?
Because this could also help to turn Appalachia into a holiday destination. Lake Champlain is beautiful in the summer.
The deal is mostly building Intermodal (freight) facilities to use existing tracks, though Amtrak could expand its services. There could be funds for more tracks coming up to account for the increased rail traffic. Hypothetically Amtrak could take advantage of that.

My heart goes out to the poor green engineers who are going to have to hear all the jokes. But to be honest, it is very funny that they're going this route.
While "Walt's Head" as a euphemism for cryogenic energy storage might be funny for a while, I can see the joke wearing thin pretty quickly.
It's not just a joke, it's an actual term/lexicon used by scientists/engineers. Even if it's not that funny anymore, it won't go away.

Speaking of the joke, I was actually against using it as such because the Disney family will be eternally pissed about the urban legend being immortalized into the public consciousness, but Geekhis convinced me and it was simply too funny not to pass it up. It's a small price to pay for a much better Disney, lol.
Well if there's one thing that we Engineers love, it's taking a bad joke and codifying it into the lexicon so we can use it for decades after it stopped being funny.

Magic Smoke

"Male and Female" connectors

sinesadd4.jpg

"Bart's Head" Pulse

And if it's in utterly bad taste, all the better.
 
Cannot see Robert Daly not finding work outside WB.

Peters and Semel should be interesting to watch.

"...the bill’s penalties for non-violent drug offenses were reduced," - step towards legislation of certain herbs perhaps?

"...adds a formal legislative pathway for other Autonomous Republics to become States and Autonomous Oblasts to become Autonomous Republics" - this is good news in that it keeps the USR together inside their federal structure rather than have semi-failed Republics littering the area or areas trying to break away like Chechnya-Ingush. Also keeps places like Georgia from risking a war with the much bigger USR over a scrap of land. Hopefully the USR will evolve into a stronger state. Good luck President Gorbachev.

I can still see Somalia breaking up. Its full of disunited people and the UN are not going to be able to stop them.

Well done to the Philippine Police for that bust.

Lets hope geopolitics changes for the better removing some of the heat from Al Qaida's cause leading to no 9/11 or similar.

The Cryogenic Energy Storage Demonstration Project is kinda cool. Shame about the jokes.

Anyone doing anything with heat pump/ground source systems?

Good chapter @Geekhis Khan
 
And if it's in utterly bad taste, all the better.
Holy crap, I completely forgot about this, but if Futurama gets made ITTL, Matt Groening will find this joke completely irresistible.
"Did you know that the Head Museum is powered by Walt's Head? No, I mean his actual head!"
"His creative mind belies some kind of infinite power that really gets the juices flowing."
"We initially tried using Jim Henson for this, but this joke only works with the real Walt Disney himself."
 
Aum en Derange
Guest Articles by @ajm8888

Third Japanese Business Executive Murdered in a Year
The Independent, September 14th, 1994


Tokyo - A manager of a Japanese bank was shot yesterday by gangsters in an act that has sent shockwaves through corporate Japan. Kazufumi Hatanaka, the manager of the Nagoya branch of Sumitomo Bank, was murdered yesterday by a gunshot through the head at his apartment. Police believe his killer was a member of the yakuza. This follows a series of attacks on Sumitomo executives in the last year. Mr. Hatanaka was killed in his apartment and police are unsure how his killer got around security[1].

The yakuza, who had traditionally concentrated on gambling and prostitution, began strong-arming their way into legitimate business in the 1980s, accumulating huge debts from property and stock speculation.

Sumitomo's troubles are thought to come from a scandal involving Itoman, a textile firm allied to the group. It began reckless investments in the property and art markets in the 'bubble years' of the 1980s. Later it emerged that the board of directors had been infiltrated by yakuza[2]. In December 1992 Sumitomo stepped in, taking over Itoman and putting its debts in order. As the yakuza were evicted from the business, the intimidation began. They attacked the homes of countless Sumitomo Managers and other properties connected to the company. Currently the police are offering protection to company executives and other leading officers of the company...



Parcel Bomb was aimed at Teen Star say Police
Los Angeles Times, December 21st, 1994


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(Image source Spotify)

Tokyo – A parcel bomb exploded that at the Nippon Television Network building in central Tokyo on Tuesday may have been directed at a teen star Yumi Adachi, 13, Tokyo police said Wednesday. The bomb exploded during the reading of the 6 o'clock news. Among the injured were talent agent Fumiro Nishikawa, 31, and Reiko Kohayakawa, 30, the teen star’s manager. The parcel bomb took Nishikawa’s left thumb and a part of his right middle finger when it detonated while he opened it. Adachi was in the studio but not near when the blast happened. Police say the package was addressed to Adachi and say “She may have been the target[3].”

Yumi Adachi currently appears on the popular drama Ienaki-ko (Child Without a Home), in which she plays a homeless, but defiant child growing up in tough circumstances. Her character's catchphrase, “If you care about me, give me some money!” has shocked Japanese viewers and gained wide publicity. Adachi was also in last year's popular family film, Rex Kyoryu Monogatari (Rex -- The Story of a Dinosaur); however the film was pulled after the film's producer, Hiroyuki Kadokawa, was arrested on drug charges[4]. The Tokyo Police have given Miss Adachi a police protection detail temporarily, but do not think it will needed for long.

The bomb went off on the sixth floor...



Black Market Bazaar: Tales of a Russian Gun Runner
The Wall Street Journal, December 29th, 1994


Moscow – The Union of Sovereign States, as the former USSR is known, has increasingly become the world’s weapons supplier, either above-the-board or below. Earlier this week it was announced that the Indian Navy would have the Ukrainian shipyard in Mykolaiv make two aircraft carriers[5]. The Black Sea Shipyard in Ukraine will build the ships as they’re the only shipyard capable of such construction. Both officials in Moscow and Kiev are happy with the move. As the USR reduces the size of its military many former military factories and ship yards have had to close, reduce staff, or change production. Such a move opens Ukraine up to be a shipbuilding center once again.

Conversely, last week a major arms ring was arrested in Rostov-on-Don, broken up by the FSB, the post-Soviet successor to the KGB. A man named Eduard Snatkin[6] was arrested trying to smuggle over two hundred flamethrower rocket weapons called the Shmel, Russian for Bumblebee, to Afghanistan. Snatkin also was discovered to have tried to sell military transport helicopters to FARC rebels in Colombia. He was brought down when he allegedly boasted he could get Anthrax from an old site in the Aral Sea[7]. However, Snatkin still had amassed a fortune of seventy million dollars on conventional arms sales alone.

“Conventional arms is where the money is,” said our contact for this story, a Russian arms dealer who we will call Yuri[8]. “If you sell guns out of USR right now, mentioning you can get anything like an A-Bomb will have FSB all over you.” Yuri told us in meeting in Central America, “But you offer, say, the Zapatistas twenty thousand AK-47s or AK-74s, FSB doesn’t even bother. Besides weapons of mass destruction, they care about submarines, sometimes tanks, and airplanes. But guns? RPGs? There are mountains of guns in former Soviet Union and those are barely guarded. Some bored 19-year-old soldier at an armory? Give him a hundred bucks and he’ll be gone for as long as you need him to be.”

Yuri pointed out that he’s sold the Bumblebee to assorted governments and groups. He pointed out that he has made over a hundred million dollars selling mountains of guns in the last three years. “I mean Moscow has had to halt its weapons shipments due to now needing money for the factory workers at these plants. Sure, plenty of governments go to the former Warsaw Pact countries and Egypt, but if you want the best, go with the makers of the original.” Yuri laughed at this point, “I can’t help but be a salesman.”

When asked if he has sold weapons to the Zapatistas in Mexico, he denied it, saying he used them as an example. When asked if he’d reveal any particular clients Yuri said, “Maybe in my memoirs. But I’ll give you hints.” Yuri told us of a client in Asia that had their guns stolen from them by local mobsters. He didn’t get the full payment for the first order and had to get another order quickly. He also said he got into contact for the group to train in Eastern Russia. All he alluded to on location was, “I had never been on a public transport monorail before in Asia.”

Yuri says he spent time in Cuba as a boy and is fluent in English and Spanish... Cont’d on A6.



Sarin in Yamanashi: Did Aum Shinrikyo Poison Matsumoto City?
Yomiuri Shimbun, January 1st, 1995


Since 1989, the residents of the Yamanashi Prefecture village of Kamikuishiki have had interesting and unusual neighbors in the form of the religious group Aum Shinrikyo. The small village would soon become heavily visited by many members of the group, which locals call a cult. It was often used for pilgrimages and the group's leader, Shoko Asahara would be driven in a luxury car. However, locals believe there is something sinister going on in that group. Attorney Taro Takimoto claims so.

“It’s a cult. It is, simply, an abusive, destructive cult. They find people who are bright but lonely. I am certain they have killed members of the cult who wish to leave and gone after attorneys and made my predecessor Mr. Sakamoto and his family disappear[9]. The group has kidnapped escaping members, their families and people who help them. This group drinks the bathwater of Shoko Asahara, they kiss his toe! But their message of destruction should alarm the authorities yet the government fails to act alarmed just because they're scared of going after a religion[10]. Even in cases such as this, they're hesitant. It is why most of our success has been in litigation.” Takimoto claims.

“The former members who have escaped and were caught and escaped again, tell us a tale of horror that have happened at the compound near Kamikuishiki and some of their ‘hospitals’. Little isolated jail cells, torture, food, light, and sleep deprivation, and forced to listen and watch his (Asahara's) tapes,” Takimoto told us.

But Takimoto also said, “I am now not only representing the Aum Supreme Truth Victims Association but I am also representing a consortium of Kamikuishiki residents who wish to sue the cult. Their claims are members wearing gas masks, buying vast amounts of ammonium nitrate for unspecified ‘agriculture purposes’, fuel oil for vehicles, and facilities that they seem to build when they need it[11]. My clients are sick. They have been tested and there is evidence of low-level sarin poisoning. These residents wish to be anonymous for their own safety.”

But Takimoto then claimed that the Sarin attack in Matsumoto last June was not the work of Yoshiyuki Konō but of Aum Shinrikyo, “The Police seemingly never followed up on the fact three judges in a civil case against Aum Shinrikyo were in that very area. They wanted a nice case with the bow tied on it but they never charged Konō with anything and let his name be dragged through the mud by you people in the media.”

Takimoto also claims the cult made him severely sick[12]. He claims they somehow poisoned him nearly causing him to have a car crash back in May. He is unsure what he was poisoned with. He still has some eye problems because of the incident in May. “I am keeping my family away from me for now because I think they tried again back in September but I am unsure.”

The police departments of several prefectures refute the claim of Mr. Takimoto and the Nagano Prefectural Police still say Konō is their only suspect.

The head of the Aum Victim’s Association the head of the Aum Shinrikyo Victims Hiroyuki Nagaoka said he stands by Takimoto’s claims... Cont’d on Page 5.



Aum Shinrikyo Victims Association Chairman Hospitalized
Mainichi Shimbun, January 5th, 1995


In Minato Ward, Tokyo, Fifty-Six-year-old Hiroyuki Nagaoka, chairman of the Aum Shinrikyo Vicitims Association, was hospitalized after the sudden onset of some sort of medical episode. His wife claimed he was screaming in agony and having trouble seeing. Nagaoaka has been taken to Keio University Hospital in Shinjuku. The Association’s attorney Taro Takimoto claims that the police think this is a suicide attempt. “Tokyo Police told me they think this is a suicide attempt by Nagoaka taking Sumithion. There is no way Nagoaka was suicidal[13]. This was Aum’s doing! Nagaoka has been trying to get his son out of Aum.” Mr. Nagoaka remains in critical condition.





[1] These two Japanese News posts by @ajm8888. The Yakuza tried to say they never attacked civilians. This was a lie but for a long time this was believed in art due to movies about the Yakuza in Japan and the perception they were like samurai. They're criminals and thugs so they killed these executives because they threatened their money flow. Also occurred in our timeline this case remains unsolved (No RICO type law or plea deals in Japan)

[2] The Japanese Yakuza in the 1980s really made moves to immerse their groups into the legitimate Japanese economy. They would buy shares and use Sōkaiya (corporate blackmailers) to take over companies. Itoman was one of the first where this fell through badly. Sumitomo did clean the company but at great cost.

[3] Japanese police are naturally hesitant to target a suspect until they have hard proof; they want a strong case and a case that only has 1% chance at failing. This allows many other crimes to fall through the cracks. This also shows the bizarre obsession some Japanese fans get.

[4] First the Rex film was inspired by Jurassic Park in our timeline and Kadokawa wanted to make a rip off that was more family friendly. However, when Hiroyuki Kadokawa was arrested due to drugs, Kadokawa films had to pull it from theaters as it was tainted by drugs (not that it was financed by drugs but the Japanese treat drug arrests as career enders).

[5] India in our time would purchase one Kiev Class carrier and modify it in 2004. Here India has expressed earlier that they have interest in a carrier to buy but USR decides to persuade the Indians to have them build it so they can have people working. The carriers are likely to be based off the Admiral Kuznetsov.

[6] Eduard Snatkin is my own creation representing many opportunists in the Former USSR. Here he got too big for his britches.

[7] Aralsk-7, think Porton Down in the Aral Sea with people getting sick from bioweapons, like in 1971 with smallpox. They had many things like weaponized anthrax, smallpox, bubonic plague, and more. Scarier thing, the Aral Sea is still shrinking.

[8] Also fictional, inspired by several post-Soviet gunrunners. Yuri is not his name but he’ll rarely be called his real name in interviews like these, he prefers the facade of an investor in developing state and Russian new money. More respectable, he views being a builder makes one more respected than a gun runner.

[9] The Sakimoto family was sadly murdered in 1989 when TBS, Tokyo Broadcasting System, broke confidence and gave Aum a tape on Sakitmoto readying his lawsuit for an “informational entertainment news program”. The Sakimoto family were all killed, including Sakimoto’s 18-month-old son. Their bodies were buried in different prefectures and police in Japan are fiercely territorial. Police claimed that he ran off with his wife and child, which was unlikely.

[10] The freedom of religion clause in the post war 1947 constitution of Japan has allowed a lot of smaller groups leeway, the largest being Soka Gakkai. This freedom allowed Aum to form and police are scared of going after a religion as it will make them look bad. They need hard evidence too as prosecutors in Japan have to maintain the 99% conviction rate. Also protected by this law? Happy Science, a rival cult founded by a stock broker turned religious leader. I am not making this up.

[11] All this stuff like gas masks, ammonium nitrate in vast quantities with fuel oil? Nothing suspicious here, I’m sure.

[12] Takimoto was poisoned when the cult sprayed VX outside of his car. He was very lucky it did not make direct contact to the skin. They tried again with bacillus (anthrax) but failed.

[13] Sumithion is the brand name of Fenitrothion, made by Sumitomo Chemical, a division of Sumitomo. If you can guess it was Aum that poisoned Nagoaka. They put it on his jacket and VX was absorbed into the skin. If these stories are making Japanese Police look bad, it is deliberate.
 
Man Kadokawa doesn't catch a break in the two timelines I've seen them pop up, you think people just like putting them in bad situations.
 
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