Anaheim trades: Shea Theodore for Expansion Draft Considerations. (Clayton Stoner)Foley interrupts the goaltending conversation - this can't wait. "George, can I talk to you quickly?"
Columbus trades: 2017 1st, 2019 2nd, jack johnson, for Expansion Draft Considerations (William Karlsson)
Florida trades: Reilly Smith for Expansion Draft Considerations (Jonathan Marchessault) and a 5th round pick
Minnesota trades: Alex Tuch for Expansion Draft Considerations (Erik Haula) and a 3rd round pick
New York trades: 2017 1st round pick, 2019 2nd round pick for Expansion Draft Considerations (Mikhail Grabovski)
Tampa Bay trades: Nikita Gusev, 2017 2nd, and 2018 4th for Expansion Draft Considerations (Jason Garrison)
Winnipeg trades: 2017 1st round pick and 2019 3rd round pick for Expansion Draft Considerations (Chris Thorburn) and Columbus 1st
Jonathan Marchessault – William Karlsson – Reilly Smith David Perron – Brock Nelson – Yanni Gourde Tomas Nosek – Vadim Shipachyov – James Neal Ryan Carpenter – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Alex Tuch William Carrier Brayden McNabb – Matt Dumba Nate Schmidt – Josh Manson Shea Theodore – Colin Miller Jack Johnson Marc-Andre Fleury Antti RaantaThey claim the President's Trophy and the Stanley Cup in each of their first three seasons. The league's general managers conspire to exact revenge on these scoundrels, and all agree that Marc Bergevin should offersheet their best young players, a plan that immediately backfires when Bergevin inadvertently saves Vegas considerable negotiating time and helps them lock up their core at reasonable numbers. The Knights later find a loophole in the salary cap that allows them to add high-salary free agents seemingly at will. After they sweep through the bubble playoffs in 2020, it becomes clear that no other team can compete with them, and TV ratings hit a dismal low. Amid financial uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the National Hockey League officially folds in late 2020. Agent Allan Walsh, desperately trying to secure spots in the KHL for his stunned clients, soberly sums up the feelings of the hockey world:
In an alternate timeline, Earth is contacted by a race of extremely intelligent blue-colored aliens, known as the IrukiIt's against this background that our campaign story begins (well, sort of. Going into session one, I knew that most of humanity was dead, that the Iruki had subjugated the Konchu, that the Ekara were also there, and had written literally none of the rest of it).
Their motives are mysterious, but they quickly establish relations with human leaders and set up Starfall Base on their initial landing site in Japan, which will eventually grow to the Iruki city of Starfall
They bring with them the Konchu, a subjugated race of enormous bug-like creatures, whose strength, endurance, and chitinous plating over much of their bodies make them ideal muscle
Several years pass, and humanity's technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, although this masks that unease is rising; humanity is growing mistrustful of the Iruki's outward generosity and increasingly confident in their own ability to handle this themselves, the Iruki brass are arguing amongst themselves what their mission entails, and the Konchu are beginning to suspect that the Iruki are up to nothing good behind the scenes
The situation has turned into a powder keg ready to blow at any moment for any reason, but its catalyst will come in the form of another unexpected arrival from the sky
Early one winter morning, an Iruki listening post picks up a familiar signature approaching New Zealand
It belongs to a liveship of the Ekara, a race of semi-nomadic bird people with whom the Iruki had previously tangled (and against whom the Iruki may have committed war crimes, though the record is incomplete)
A visual is acquired, and the vessel is seen to be limping heavily and sporting damage inconsistent with known weaponry
Hours later, the vessel crashes in the ocean near Auckland, and a swarm of amphibious escape pods is observed escaping from the wreckage and making its way towards land
An emergency meeting of top Iruki brass is called: all recognize that the detachment is far from ready to deal with the arrival of the possibly vengeful Ekara, let alone whatever caused that damage to their liveship, but Flight Commander Valon is firmly of the opinion that diplomatic relations must be established, while First Lieutenant Lania is convinced that both humanity and the Ekara must be subjugated in order to prepare the planet for assault from space by an unknown enemy
A fight breaks out, and Lania shoots Valon with a space laser, thereby assuming command of the detachment by international law of go fuck yourself
Lania immediately proceeds to the base's research labs to retrieve an incomplete viral bioweapon their scientists had been developing, flies to New Zealand, and releases it into a waterway near Wellington
As it turns out, the Ekara are immune to the virus, but humanity is not: within a year, 90% of the human population has been wiped out, and the remaining 10% are clustered into the remains of once-mighty cities and entirely reliant on Iruki technology for survival, while being told that the virus was of Ekara origin
However, the Konchu have finally had enough of serving a government of genocidal psychopaths and, along with a small number of sympathetic Iruki defectors, revolt, fight their way out of Starfall, and disperse across the world to attempt to help humanity rebuild and the Ekara to clear their name
Adelaide, Australia, many years after the Great PlagueThese three take down the bandit, then trace his funding source to an anarcho-capitalist warlord in a nearby town with connections to the Iruki, so after connecting up with Vollyte, an NPC Iruki defector wizard whose human wife and mixed son (who was going to become a fourth PC until the player ghosted me) were both killed in what he suspects was an assassination to send him a message (and no, I don't really want to think about, uh, "human-Iruki relations"), plus James, a gnome barbarian with a pet drop bear named Beary, and Captain Kangaroo, a highly trained attack kangaroo that decided Edie was its mother after Mushi probably gave it a severe concussion, this colorful band of misfits proceeds to take on and kill the warlord.
Mike The Mechanic, a thirtysomething human artificer more comfortable around vehicles than people, is working on a vehicle repair when Edie Unpronounceablename, an aboriginal halfling ranger, walks in
She's walked all the way from Alice Springs and needs a drink, but would rather have one with someone else than by herself
It takes some convincing, but Mike grudgingly agrees to leave his shop and walk her to the local saloon
Inside, the two encounter Mushi Bushi, a Konchu monk with a very serious demeanor but who regularly makes Jojo's Bizarre Adventure references
He's on the hunt for a bandit leader who's been causing trouble in the area around Adelaide
He's heard that they have cool motorcycles
Mike is instantly convinced to lend a hand
The party's boat is guided in to shore by an enthusiastic older man in a pirate hat, with a pirate accent, wearing an old Tampa Bay Buccaneers T-shirtAnd now I have to figure out WTF "the guard dogs" are.
He greets all happily until seeing Aerie, at which point his expression sours and he begins hurling invective
The party extricate themselves from this encounter and head into The Navel Tavern, a dockside bar with what can only be described as a very sexy orange on the sign outside
Inside, they're greeted by a human entertainer in an orange dress playing an out-of-tune piano, who introduces herself as "Florida's own Clementine O'Range" before launching into a truly mediocre piano ballad rendition of "State Of Florida" by Less Than Jake
The bartender is a tired-looking Konchu serving a clientele of about half and half humans and Konchu
Aerie and Mushi approach and Mushi remarks on how nice it is to be among his brethren
The bartender introduces himself as Arukoru and explains that following the revolution and exodus, many Konchu made their way to sailing towns upon realizing that their size, strength, and toughness made them ideal sailors: as a result, Tampa is now about 60% Konchu
He also apologizes to Aerie on behalf of "Bucky," the dock pirate, explaining that his family died in the plague when he was a child and he believes the Iruki that it was the Ekara's fault, and not to take it personally
He finally notes that the bar is supposed to be called The Valencia, and The Navel was meant to be a strip club downtown, but the signs got mixed up in a shipping error just before the plague hit and, long story short, just ended up staying where they were, so now The Navel is an orange-themed bar by the docks and The Valencia is an orange-themed strip club downtown, because doesn't that just figure
Asked about Disney World, his mandibles retract in such a way that a human's face might turn white, and he says he doesn't like to talk about that place, nobody who's returned from there has ever reported making it past "the guard dogs," and you'd be better off talking to Detective Tantei at the sheriff's office down the road
So Mike marches down to the sheriff's office to meet with Detective Tantei
He's a gruff, no-nonsense Konchu who runs a tight ship
Asked about Disney World, Tantei seems pensive
He explains that he's got his own reasons to be suspicious of Disney World, as he has seen a string of disappearances in recent weeks
Human, Konchu, and even an Ekara, any age, any gender, the only pattern is that each and every one of them had come into possession of some item of vintage, pre-Plague Disney memorabilia shortly before going missing, and Disney World seems the only logical culprit
Normally, he says, he would send some of his own men there to investigate, but it would be a suicide mission: he only feels comfortable asking Mike for help because "it's no chitin off my facial plating if a bunch of misfit strangers get themselves killed trying to get past the guard dogs."
As this is happening, Aerie and James at The Navel have struck up a conversation with an Ekara named Megan, a paladin with an array of impressive biocybernetic augmentations that appear to be of Iruki origin (yes, this is a new PC)
Upon being shown the pass, she confidently proclaims it to have been the pass of someone named Swoozie, a former Disney employee who did an expose on them and was subsequently disappeared
She paints a bleak picture of Disney as an evil empire that will permanently silence its critics without even a second look, and the pass itself as an object of immense power that must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands
Aerie says "you sound like an authority on the subject: why don't you go there with us and help us get in?" and Megan replies "Make me an offer"
So James challenges her
I swear to god
To a Yugioh duel
I allow this because I reward audacious thinking, and long story short, James wins and Megan agrees to join
Authoritarians also dispense largesse, but they do it by their own whims, rather than pursuant to any system or legal rule. The point of authoritarianism is to concentrate power in the ruler, so the world knows that all actions, good and bad, harsh and generous, come from a single source. (The New Yorker)Last week, Trump granted pardons and commutations to 11 people with one thing in common: connections. Trump bypassed the process of formal procedures typically used to determine who is given a pardon, instead relying on connections to his wealthy friends and political allies.
Judge Jackson: “The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of our democracy...The dismay and the disgust at the attempts by others to defend his actions as just business as usual in our polarized climate should transcend party. The dismay and the disgust with any attempts to interfere with the efforts of prosecutors and members of the judiciary to fulfill their duty should transcend party.Judge Jackson pushes back
"Sure, the defense is free to say: So what? Who cares? But, I'll say this: Congress cared. The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia that prosecuted the case and is still prosecuting the case cared. The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care."
"Stone’s Motion for New Trial is directly related to the integrity of a juror. It is alleged that a juror misled the Court regarding her ability to be unbiased and fair and the juror attempted to cover up evidence that would directly contradict her false claims of impartiality," his lawyers argued.As expected, Jackson denied the motion to have her disqualified...
"The premature statement blessing the “integrity of the jury” undermines the appearance of impartiality and presents a strong bias for recusal," they added.
"That juror is so biased and so tainted, that shouldn't happen in our criminal justice system… You have a juror that is obviously tainted. She was an activist against Trump. She said bad things about Trump and bad things about Stone," the President claimed without evidence. "She somehow weaseled her way onto the jury and if that's not a tainted jury then there is no such thing as a tainted jury."
A new boss, Timothy Shea, had just arrived and had told them on his first day that he wanted a more lenient recommendation for Mr. Stone, and he pushed back hard when they objected, according to two people briefed on the dispute. They grew suspicious that Mr. Shea was helping his longtime friend and boss, Attorney General William P. Barr, soften the sentencing request to please the president.
...The tensions between the office, the Justice Department and the White House date back further than the tumult in the Stone case. They have been simmering since at least last summer, when the office’s investigation of Andrew G. McCabe, a former top F.B.I. official whom the president had long targeted, began to fall apart.
Mr. Shea’s predecessor, Jessie K. Liu, a lawyer whom Mr. Trump had appointed to lead the office in 2017, pressed the McCabe case even after one team of prosecutors concluded that they could not win a conviction. After a second team was brought in and also failed to deliver a grand jury indictment, Ms. Liu’s relationship with Mr. Barr grew strained, people close to them said. She left the position this year, though she and Mr. Barr have both stressed to associates that her departure was amicable.
This is in the style of autocrats across the globe, who weaponize the law to help themselves and their friends and hurt their enemies. The nation’s legal system is now run by a man who has spent his life mocking it. (NYT Editorial Board)Meanwhile, the president’s allies have reportedly been urging him to fire anyone who was involved in Mueller’s investigation:
The MAGA punditry’s outsized influence over the president means their campaign against the so-called Mueller “holdovers” is likely not falling on deaf ears, especially given Trump’s fixation with what his defenders and detractors are saying about his administration in their frequent appearances on his favorite TV programs.What can be done about the politicization of the DOJ? In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School suggests that “Congress should transform the Justice Department into an independent agency, legally immunized from the president’s day-to-day control.”
“It's totally unclear to me why any members of the Mueller team need to remain in the Trump DOJ,” the pro-Trump conservative blogger Will Chamberlain wrote after news broke of the Stone sentencing recommendation.
...GOP operative Arthur Schwartz, a close friend of Donald Trump Jr. who has been described as the eldest son’s “fixer,” said of the career officials in question: “I think they should all be investigated.”
...John Dowd, a former Trump lawyer who remains in touch with the White House, characterized the line attorneys in the Stone case as “insubordinate,” and “the same crowd of prosecutors wedded to the Mueller agenda” who need to be “cleaned out” from DOJ. “And Bill Barr is doing that,” Dowd said.
The justice wrote that granting emergency applications often upends "the normal appellate process" while "putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won." Targeting her conservative colleagues, she said "most troublingly, the Court's recent behavior" has benefited "one litigant over all others."
"Claiming one emergency after another, the Government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases," Sotomayor said. "It is hard to say what is more troubling," she said, pointing to the case at hand, "that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it." CNN
The Justice Department revealed Tuesday that law enforcement officials running Ukraine-related investigations must seek approval before expanding their inquiries — a move that could have implications for Rudolph W. Giuliani, as President Trump’s personal attorney pushes for scrutiny of the president’s political foes while facing a federal probe into his own conduct.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote to Nadler that the department had tapped two U.S. attorneys to assist in the process — Scott Brady in Pittsburgh to receive and assess new information, and Richard Donoghue in Brooklyn to help coordinate personnel throughout the Justice Department involved in Giuliani’s case and others with a focus on Ukraine. An accompanying internal memo, circulated by Rosen in January, says that he and Donoghue must approve expansions of any inquiries.
In effect, the Hill said Solomon amplified an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine that was fed to him by Giuliani, “facilitated” by businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with Giuliani at the time, and reinforced by Solomon’s own attorneys, who also represented clients embroiled in U.S.-Ukraine politics.
But the Hill stopped short of retracting or apologizing for Solomon’s articles, nor did it say it shouldn’t have published them. It also didn’t characterize Solomon’s motives in presenting what appears to be a largely debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine.
“In certain columns, Solomon failed to identify important details about key Ukrainian sources, including the fact that they had been indicted or were under investigation,” said the internal investigation, which was overseen by the newspaper’s editor, Bob Cusack. “In other cases, the sources were [Solomon’s] own attorneys” — Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova, who have also represented President Trump and Giuliani, who was also a key source for Solomon’s columns.
Solomon didn’t disclose this connection in his columns nor did he disclose to his editors that he shared drafts of his stories with Toensing, DiGenova and Parnas, the review noted.
Trump has told his lawyers that Bolton should not be allowed to publish any of his interactions with him about national security because they are privileged and classified, these people said. He has also repeatedly brought up the book with his team, asking whether Bolton is going to be able to publish it, they said.
Trump told national television anchors on Feb. 4 during an off-the-record lunch that material in the book was “highly classified,” according to notes from one participant in the luncheon. He then called him a “traitor.”
“We’re going to try and block the publication of the book,” Trump said, according to the notes. “After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House...I give the guy a break. I give him a job. And then he turns on me,” Trump added during the West Wing lunch. “He’s just making things up.”
"I thought a lot about if I had been in that position how would I have approached it, and I'll be honest: It's inconceivable to me that if I had firsthand knowledge of gross abuse of presidential power that I would withhold my testimony from a constitutional accountability process.”
"I can't imagine withholding my testimony, with or without a subpoena," Rice said. "I also can't imagine, frankly, in the absence of being able to provide the information directly to Congress, not having exercised my First Amendment right to speak publicly at a time when my testimony or my experience would be relevant. And, frankly, when my subordinates ... were doing their duty and responding in a fashion consistent with their legal obligations to provide information."
"I would feel like I was shamefully violating the oath that I took to support and defend the Constitution."
President Donald Trump’s choice to stay at his own Las Vegas hotel each night during the western states swing that wraps up Friday likely cost taxpayers a million extra dollars as well as diverted thousands of them into his own cash registers.Breaking with precedent, Trump flew back to Vegas to stay every night at his Trump International Hotel, despite his day activities taking place in California, Arizona, and Colorado.
Had Trump held the same events but done so in a geographically logical order ― starting in Beverly Hills and finishing in Colorado Springs, but overnighting each day in the city where he would begin the following morning ― Trump would have spent four fewer hours aboard Air Force One, thereby saving taxpayers about $1.1 million.This week, Trump has a whole new country to focus on: India, home to the largest portfolio of Trump real estate projects outside North America, according to the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. According to The Washington Post, since the elder Trump’s last trip to India in 2014, two of his business partners have encountered massive legal and financial trouble.
...Indeed, the repeated overnight trips to Las Vegas may have forced the Secret Service and other support personnel to keep a motorcade there for a full four days, rather than move it to the site of an upcoming presidential trip
In 2018, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. — who runs the Trump Organization with his brother, Eric Trump — spent several days in India promoting the family’s developments, attending a champagne dinner with condo buyers who plunked down $39,000 deposits and bringing in millions of dollars in new sales. While there, he also met with Modi behind closed doors. The next year, Trump’s Indian business partners flew 100 early buyers of his luxury condos near Delhi to visit Trump Tower and Trump Ferry Point golf course in New York City as a way to generate interest in the properties in India. One attendee gushed afterward about meeting the son of a U.S. president on the trip.
President Donald Trump’s campaign is bringing on an alum of the controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica...Matt Oczkowski, who served as head of product at Cambridge before it went bankrupt and shut down in 2018, is helping oversee the Trump campaign’s data program...Oczkowski, who also worked on Trump’s 2016 effort, joined the reelection campaign in January, and payments to his company, HuMn Behavior, are expected to show up on Trump’s next campaign finance disclosure later this month. (Politico)An Axios report revealed where most of Trump’s re-election campaign is spending its advertising budget: on Facebook ads. “Last fall, the campaign urged Facebook to keep the same tools for political advertisers that they make available to companies...Facebook ultimately decided not to change its policies around microtargeting.” However, unlike in 2016, the campaign is also diversifying, “testing new strategies on several dozen platforms, including YouTube, Google, ad exchanges, publisher networks and conservative podcasts.”
The United States is against mentioning climate change in the communique of the world’s financial leaders, G20 diplomats said, after a new draft of the joint statement showed the G20 are considering including it as a risk factor to growth...G20 sources said the United States was reluctant to accept language on climate change as a risk to the economy. ReutersOn Sunday, it was announced that the U.S. ultimately agreed to a less-prominent placement for the risks of climate change. It will now appear in language referencing the Financial Stability Board’s work examining the implications of climate change for financial stability.
One of the G20 sources said it was the first time a reference to climate change had been included in a G20 finance communique during Trump’s presidency, even though it was removed from the top of the joint statement. U.S. officials have resisted naming climate change as an economic risk since Trump took office in 2017. One of his first acts as president was to announce Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.
"All traitors must die miserable deaths," Atkinson's email read in part, the indictment says. "Those that represent traitors shall meet the same fate[.] We will hunt you down and bleed you out like the pigs you are. We have nothing but time, and you are running out of it, Keep looking over your shoulder[.] We know who you are, where you live, and who you associate with[.] We are all strangers in a crowd to you[.]"On Wednesday, Salvatore Lippa of New York was arrested for threatening to assault and murder Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Chuck Schumer in voicemails last month.
Lippa started the threatening message by calling the congressman "Schiff, Shifty Schiff," invoking the nickname used by President Donald Trump for Schiff, the lead House manager during Trump's impeachment trial.
...When questioned by U.S Capitol Police, Lippa admitted to making the threatening calls to Schiff and Schumer because he said he was upset about the impeachment proceedings, prosecutors said.
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