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Vinton, Louisiana – A new millionaire is created at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel

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Shreveport, Louisiana – A Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino employee is charged with felony theft

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80 Year Old Woman 807 808 80s 8tracks Playlist 90 Granny 90's Moms 90s _bbc A Ateur Wife On The Beach At A Lifetime Of A Perfect Ending Scenes Vid A Side Of A Wadood A Wife's Nightmare Scene Nude Aanal Wpmen Aaron Aarp Abc Of Abdl Abdl Sissy Abducted For Abduction Abigail Spencer Abnormal Aboriginy Abortion Abs Abuse Abused Daughter Vid Abused Abused Vid Abusive Accedental Accidental Cum Gay Video Accidental Accidentally Accomodating Wives Acrobat Actor Male Actor Male Vid Actresses Having Actual Hotel Maid Actual Wife Actual Wife Videos Addicted To And F On Addicted To Gay Porno Addictedtofuckingand Adolescent Adopted Daughter Nude Adorable Lesbian Gif Adorable Teen Videos Adrenaline Adrenaline Wife Adrianna Luna Aduilt Naked Women Adult Amateur Adult Ameutre Adult Amutre Adult Anime Adult Bbw Adult Beach Adult Book Store On Adult Bookstore Gay Photos On Adult Bookstore Phogay Tos On Adult Bookstore Photos On Adult Breastfeeding Adult Breastfeeding Video Adult Brother And Sister On Adult Cosplay Adult Diaper Lover Adult Diaper Adult Erection Adult Naked Women Adult Newly Weds Adult Newlyweds Adult Picture Stories


https://preview.redd.it/izapwkrcdd661.jpg?width=300&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5954285d6770a98c335d04f93a365dd42d555b51
submitted by Anaciite to u/Anaciite [link] [comments]

Does anyone remember this place?

So I've been talking with my friend about a memory of a place that I had been to when I was younger. I couldn't find a trace of it ever existing on the internet and my memories get fuzzier and fuzzier the more I talk about it so I want to see if anyone on here remembers or knows about it. It is an abandoned hotel and casino out in the middle of nowhere in or near Shreveport, Louisiana. The hotel seems more real than the casino. To get to it you'd drive through an old overgrown gravel path through the foliage. From my memory it was called something like Moon Landing or Splash Landing. The hotel was overgrown near it but inside it had 2 staircases with rotting wood going up the sides of the lobby to get upstairs but that's all I really remember about the hotel. All I remember about the casino is that all of the carpet was ripped out and littered with old slot machines. We took some of the wheel stuff or whatever you call it and its been sitting in our garage and I swear I used to see it everyday. I remembered this place yesterday and the slot wheel and looked everywhere for it with no avail. I know its not much of a description but the more I talk about it the more it seems like it happened in an alternate reality. This happened in I believe was 2011-2012 and if it is real probably demolished by now. So if anyone remembers anything like this please comment your experience or memory.
submitted by Lebootisgoot to placesnowhere [link] [comments]

The next Detroit: The catastrophic collapse of Atlantic City

With the closure of almost half of Atlantic City's casinos, Newark set to vote on gambling and casinos or racinos in almost every state, it seems as if the reasons for the very existence of Atlantic City are in serious jeopardy.
Israel Joffe
Atlantic City, once a major vacation spot during the roaring 20s and 1930s, as seen on HBOs Boardwalk Empire, collapsed when cheap air fare became the norm and people had no reason to head to the many beach town resorts on the East Coast. Within a few decades, the city, known for being an ‘oasis of sin’ during the prohibition era, fell into serious decline and dilapidation.
New Jersey officials felt the only way to bring Atlantic City back from the brink of disaster would be to legalize gambling. Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts, first opened its doors in 1978. People stood shoulder to shoulder, packed into the hotel as gambling officially made its way to the East Coast. Folks in the East Coast didn't have to make a special trip all the way to Vegas in order to enjoy some craps, slots, roulette and more.
As time wore on, Atlantic City became the premier gambling spots in the country.
While detractors felt that the area still remained poor and dilapidated, officials were quick to point out that the casinos didn't bring the mass gentrification to Atlantic City as much as they hoped but the billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs for the surrounding communities was well worth it.
Atlantic City developed a reputation as more of a short-stay ‘day-cation’ type of place, yet managed to stand firm against the 'adult playground' and 'entertainment capital of the world' Las Vegas.
Through-out the 1980s, Atlantic City would become an integral part of American pop culture as a place for east coast residents to gamble, watch boxing, wrestling, concerts and other sporting events.
However in the late 1980s, a landmark ruling considered Native-American reservations to be sovereign entities not bound by state law. It was the first potential threat to the iron grip Atlantic City and Vegas had on the gambling and entertainment industry.
Huge 'mega casinos' were built on reservations that rivaled Atlantic City and Vegas. In turn, Vegas built even more impressive casinos.
Atlantic City, in an attempt to make the city more appealing to the ‘big whale’ millionaire and billionaire gamblers, and in effort to move away from its ‘seedy’ reputation, built the luxurious Borgata casino in 2003. Harrah’s created a billion dollar extension and other casinos in the area went through serious renovations and re-branded themselves.
It seemed as if the bite that the Native American casinos took out of AC and Vegas’ profits was negligible and that the dominance of those two cities in the world of gambling would remain unchallenged.
Then Macau, formally a colony of Portugal, was handed back to the Chinese in 1999. The gambling industry there had been operated under a government-issued monopoly license by Stanley Ho's Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau. The monopoly was ended in 2002 and several casino owners from Las Vegas attempted to enter the market.
Under the one country, two systems policy, the territory remained virtually unchanged aside from mega casinos popping up everywhere. All the rich ‘whales’ from the far east had no reason anymore to go to the United States to spend their money.
Then came the biggest threat.
As revenue from dog and horse racing tracks around the United States dried up, government officials needed a way to bring back jobs and revitalize the surrounding communities. Slot machines in race tracks started in Iowa in 1994 but took off in 2004 when Pennsylvania introduced ‘Racinos’ in an effort to reduce property taxes for the state and to help depressed areas bounce back.
As of 2013, racinos were legal in ten states: Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia with more expected in 2015.
Tracks like Delaware Park and West Virginia's Mountaineer Park, once considered places where local degenerates bet on broken-down nags in claiming races, are now among the wealthiest tracks around, with the best races.
The famous Aqueduct race track in Queens, NY, once facing an uncertain future, now possesses the most profitable casino in the United States.
From June 2012 to June 2013, Aqueduct matched a quarter of Atlantic City's total gaming revenue from its dozen casinos: $729.2 million compared with A.C.'s $2.9 billion. It has taken an estimated 15 percent hit on New Jersey casino revenue and climbing.
And it isn't just Aqueduct that's taking business away from them. Atlantic City's closest major city, Philadelphia, only 35-40 minutes away, and one of the largest cities in America, now has a casino that has contributed heavily to the decline in gamers visiting the area.
New Jersey is the third state in the U.S. to have authorized internet gambling. However, these online casinos are owned and controlled by Atlantic City casinos in an effort to boost profits in the face of fierce competition.
California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas are hoping to join Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands in offering online gambling to their residents.
With this in mind, it seems the very niche that Atlantic City once offered as a gambling and entertainment hub for east coast residents is heading toward the dustbin of history.
Time will tell if this city will end up like Detroit. However, the fact that they are losing their biggest industry to major competition, much like Detroit did, with depressed housing, casinos bankrupting/closing and businesses fleeing , it all makes Atlantic City’s fate seem eerily similar.
submitted by IsraelJoffeusa to u/IsraelJoffeusa [link] [comments]

Thoughts on visiting Shreveport?

My GF wants to go somewhere for her birthday next month, we live near Tulsa, OK. Given how crazy everything is with the pandemic, don't really wanna go very far and somewhere expensive because most things are shut down. I've always wanted to visit Shreveport and Louisiana. How are things there now? I know the Casino/Hotels are open with restrictions, same as they are here. Outside of the boardwalk and aquarium, are there other things to check out and do safely right now? I know there is a mask mandate, which is fine, we've worn masks since the beginning.
I'd be perfectly okay just going for the food(even just take out), and drinking in a nice hotel room for a few days lol. But advice or suggestions are welcome.
submitted by ShredMojo to shreveport [link] [comments]

WATCH LIVE: 2:00 PM - Gov John Bel Edwards COVID-19 Press Conference for the explanation of Phase 3

WATCH LIVE: 2:00 PM - Gov John Bel Edwards COVID-19 Press Conference for the explanation of Phase 3
LINKS TO WATCH
OFF-TOPIC: there is a disturbance set to move into the gulf | Spaghetti Models

Phase 3 Information:

  • Businesses will have 75% occupancy.
  • Mask Mandate.
  • Parishes that have a 5% positivity rate for 2 weeks can opt-in to on-premise alcohol sales.
    • Bienville
    • Jefferson Davis
    • Orleans
    • St. John the Baptist
    • Plaquemines

Summary

  • Storm entering the gulf (information is available above).
  • Moment of remembrance for September 11th.
    • Asks that people remember the sense of unity that we had post 9/11 we should be able to gain that unity without having that tragedy.
  • Restaurants, churches, salons, spas, gyms, and other businesses can open at 75% occupancy with social disgracing distancing required.
    • Bars have been closed for on-premises consumption. We have done what we can to help them realize revenue. Know there is still a number of them that are closed to on-premises consumption, want to provide a responsible framework for them to open as it is safe to do so. Looking at White House Taskforce guidance...
  • Bars will remain closed in parishes with a high incidence of COVID-19
    • As recommended by Coronavirus Taskforce.
  • Bars can open to on-premises consumption in.. parishes with a positivity rate of 5% or lower for 14 days if the parish gov opts-in. The two-week data is updated by the Dept of Health. The next update is on 9/16.
    • Bars can open with 25% capacity at 50 people total indoors.
    • Customers have to be seated for table-side only service.
    • Only 50 customers outdoors.
    • Social distancing required indoors and outdoors.
    • Outdoors have to be seated for service as well.
    • Live music still not allowed.
    • Sale and service of alcohol must end at 10 PM with patrons cleared by 11 PM.
    • Individuals younger than 21 are not allowed in a bar. 18-20-year-olds are not permitted in bars.
  • Other social gatherings indoors will be limited to 50% capacity with a max of 250 people with social distancing requirements.
  • Outdoor crowd sizes are limited to 50% capacity up to 250 people if people will be in close proximity and social distancing is not possible.
  • Casino limitations will not change under the new order. Casinos remain at 50% capacity / 75% of the gaming positions.
  • Sporting events will operate at 25% capacity with social distancing required and no alcohol sales.
  • Alcohol consumption at all venues will end at 10 PM.
    • Include restaurants, event centers, weddings, and casinos.
  • A statewide mask mandate remains in place.
  • CDC Recommendations remain in place for those at high-risk
    • should not go out, are safer at home, and should avoid large crowds unless they need to get food or medical care.
  • The order will be in place for 28 days expiring on Oct 9th.
  • Nothing will change for nursing home visitations.
    • Nursing home population remains at high-risk.
    • 40% of all the fatalities in Louisiana from COVID-19 have occurred at nursing homes.
    • Congregate living --the type at nursing homes-- is where the virus spreads easier and these individuals with their age and comorbid health conditions are a higher risk of the virus and are more likely to have a poorer outcome.
    • LDH in consolation with CMS is working to finalize plans for a pilot program to see if we can allow for some visitation, specifically outdoor visitation. It would be a 28-day pilot program. Nursing homes will have to be located in parishes with 5% positivity or less and the home has to have 0 cases in the last 14 days to participate. Additional details to be provided.
    • People at the Department of Health are putting forth great effort to make sure we are doing this in a safe and effective way.
Dr. Billioux
I will upload a better version when I can
  • Data we are looking at when we look at the upper left we see COVID-like illness (people presenting to an ER with symptoms of COVID), below is a graph showing the volume of testing and organs bars show the percent positivity gray line is the 10% line, upper right is the epi curve (new cases remove every day by collection date) black line is the average of incidence over time, bottom right blue line is the hospitalizations and the organ line shows the last 14 days.
  • We always look at 14 days because that is the recommendation for the gating criteria from the White House.
  • COVID-like illness has been on a steady decline across every region since we had the mask mandate.
  • The testing graph shows the interruption that happened as a result of Marco and Laura, the state needed to redeploy its resources and its National Guard partners meaning we could not do community testing at the level we wanted. So you can see the decline from the week that represents the storm, and you are beginning to see a rebound from that due to our wonderful National Guardsmen redeploying our testing sites. However, we are not seeing the line come up very high very quickly.
  • The people of Louisiana need to know:
    • Testing is widely available.
    • Get tested if you have symptoms.
    • Get tested if you've been exposed.
    • Get tested if you evacuated due to Hurricane Laura.
  • As you can see the percent positivity has been declining, we are at about 6.79% right now, which is well below the 10% recommendation for the state.
  • The epi curve shows we have been on a steady decline since the mask mandate and bar closures.
    • More recently there has been an uptick in the state. Some of that reflects a decrease in testing with a new increase in testing and some of that reflects quite frankly new cases that we know are evolving in settings like universities and schools, but not over a 14 day period. We have not made that criteria of a 14 day period.
  • Hospitalizations have been on a steady decline since the new restrictions.
  • Strictly speaking, looking at the data we have met the criteria for moving into Phase 3.
  • However, there is data we don't see/know, that is what we need to be watching out for
    • Impact of Hurricane Laura
      • We had a week we didn't have visibility for because of decreased testing.
      • Frankly, there is not as much testing happening as we would like to see from shelterees and evacuees right now. We do not know if transmission of the virus has happened because we are not catching it because we not seeing people taking advantage of the testing.
      • Testing sites in Lake Charles and Sulphur.
      • Testing available at points of distribution.
      • Testing sites in New Orleans and Baton Rouge in hotels.
      • There is a significant amount of asymptomatic spread, please get tested and protect your family.
    • Schools reopening - the impact of K-12 going back to school and universities reopening. Part of that is because we paused testing and because people went back home and now they have returned to school.
      • We know not everyone has gone back to full in person.
      • Most have done hybrid learning.
    • Labor Day Weekend - because there hasn't been enough time.
      • Most people stayed home and celebrated with their household.
      • Some people didn't and we won't know the impacts until 2 weeks from now.
      • Hopefully, we will find people by large did what we asked. That cases and hospitalizations stay down because as you saw we have a very active Atlantic season right now. Not a good time for us to face multiple disasters as we have more COVID increase.
  • Another trend we are focused on is the increase in cases in the 18-29-year-old age group.
    • The sharp uptick in 18-21-year-old age group.
      • The age group that has gone back to school.
      • Still seeing that group come up even with bars closed.
      • Watch this very carefully especially as we talk about gatherings and football.
    • Saw last time that as this age group leads other age groups followed.
  • CDC released a report of childcare settings and infections of those that the child return home to.
  • Under the age of 21 we really do not want you in the bar setting. You should not be there. You are not of drinking age, and it brings you into a setting where you are at high risk for exposure.
  • COVID like illness is decreasing across the state. When we look at cases across the state it is a mixed bag. There are many regions across the state where we are seeing an uptick in cases but they do not meet the 14-day threshold.
  • Note Region 5 is difficult because it is the SW Louisiana and it is difficult because all numbers plummeted because of evacuation and as they return we would expect to see increases.
  • Concerned as we look at hospitalizations. Our biggest concern is being able to have adequate healthcare capacity to meet the needs of Louisiana.
    • Watching these trends closely.
  • As we move into Phase 3 and there are greater capacity in restaurants and some bars and operate in limited services. It is critical to remember that everything that has gotten us to this point still needs to be in place.
    • The physical distancing of 6 ft or more is really important.
      • When we call you and ask if you have been in 6 ft of someone for greater than 15 minutes... you will still be a potential contact and need to quarantine for 14 days if you have been exposed to a known positive COVID case for more Thant 15 minutes.
    • Continue to wear a mask. More and more data shows that people who are shedding the virus mask usage reduces the risk you spread the tother people. You protect other people by wearing a mask and other people protect you by wearing their mask.

Questions

Do you have any idea how many parishes are below 5% or less?
5 out of 64 parishes.
Mechanically does the 2 week period become effective today or does it become effective on the 16th?
As the governor noted we will be updating this, we have been providing these updates and will provide the next one on the 16th. First, the parish has to make 2 (2-week checks at 5% positivity or less so 4 weeks total, and then the parish government has to opt-in.
What does the nursing home pilot program look like?
What you will see us talking about, is decreasing becomes less relevant than what is going on in the community. The percent of positivity is especially important. What is the level of spread in your community? So for the nursing home pilot we are looking at a low community spread so probably 5% or less in the community. We are also working with nursing homes to establish protocols where people are outdoors. People are wearing PPE and it has to be a pretty nicely mandated visitation where you know who and when someone is coming, being symptomatic, isolated, or quarantined for COVID-19 will all be reasons to not see your loved one. Out of the 5,000 Louisianians, we have lost so far 40% have been from nursing homes. As we look to have families reunite we must do this in a way to not put your loved ones at risk. Not only your loved one but those in the rest of the facility as well.
John Bel Edwards
  • A parish has to be eligible so they have to be at the 5% below the threshold for at least 2 weeks.
    • Data is publicly available on the LDH website.
  • Parish has to opt-in.
  • If at some point subsequent to opting in a parish gets to 10% or higher in positivity then those bars will close again. Then it starts over again and they will have to satisfy the gating criteria again.
    • Otherwise, you would reopening and closing bars within a few days or so, so this is a way to do this responsibly and safely under the control of the local government.
  • Today's COVID-data
  • We've had some positive trends that allowed just to make these moves but I have a concern about what isn't reflected in the data which is why this has been the most difficult decision I had to make with respect to applying the gating criteria to the phasing.
  • Encourage people to take mitigation measures seriously.
  • As we reopen more of the economy/our churches, to more occupancy, these things only really work if we continue to wear our masks. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home when sick. Socially distance from that outside for your household
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
    • If you want to support restaurant pick up, get delivery, or eat outdoors.
  • People need to understand there isn't a lot of room for movement forward beyond Phase 3 until we get past the pandemic.
    • Until such time social distancing isn't required how do you go to 100% occupancy?
    • We do not go from 75% to 100% until the pandemic is over.
  • Hurricane Laura Info Mod note I am not covering this but if you would like me to please message me.

Questions

Missed question
I am concerned about the impact Labor Day will have. Experienced the beginning of the Summer with Memorial Day. We Know that is when we had a surge in cases driven by the younger population, particularly those in the 18-29-year-old group. I hope behavior would be different for Labor Day because everyone saw the impact that behavior had on our state. Dr. Birx was talking about, the White House was talking about it. I am hopeful that won't happen again. I am relieved we are increasing our testing numbers again and having more testing sites coming up and will be watching the data very closely. I am mindful that we have started school. Colleges' campuses have also opened to students. But am comforted that there is still a lot of virtual and hybrid learning occurring. We do not have a lot of school systems fully open for in-person instruction. I believe Louisiana will do what is needed to protect one another from having a repeat of what happened after Memorial Day.
Is there some scenario where we have those Labor Day numbers come in and they are so bad you change your mind and we go back?
There is always [that possibility], whether because of Labor Day or anything else, you watch the numbers. We will not put ourselves on a course where we lose the ability to deliver life-saving care in our hospitals. It didn't happen in the first or second surge and I will not let it happen going forward. Yeah it certainly remains possible, but I am hopeful we will not get anywhere close to that, but if we have to we will. I have said this all along. That is why we keep making the point -- it is not a theory anymore -- we had that huge surge in March and April and we were able to flatten the curve through a stay at home order but, we have shown reducing our curve is not reliant on having to have a stay at home order if people wear their masks, wash their hands, and social distance. You can have a larger portion of your economy open and have and much normalcy as possible without the cases skyrocketing if you adhere to the mitigation measures. It is up to the people of Louisiana to adhere to them. I have a lot of concerns. Anytime you announce you are going to the next phase people tune out all the info they are given that COVID is still here, that abiding by mitigation measures, protecting the vulnerable, all of that stuff and some people will say well we are going forward and that is all they think about. That mindset is what causes us to have real issues as well. Need people to mindful. I ask local leaders to set good examples so we can stay on top of this virus and keep trends going in the right direction.
Will Phase 3 have any impact on the state workforce in respect to the public sector
In order to make sure all sate employees are working where they can be most efficient and productive in the safest possible way. Where you have offices, for example, cannot be at 100% so some of those people will continue to be home. Some agencies work in office spaces that are less traditional where it is harder to work safer in that environment while people on wildlife and fisheries are on a boat and in a safer environment.

Closing remarks

  • Thank you for continuing to cover this.
  • If you look at the Gulf of Mexico to the West Coast of Africa you will see a number of storm systems most of which do not pose a threat to Louisiana. The one off of the coast of Florida does, and too soon to know about the coast of Africa. It will be very difficult for our state if we have to go through another hurricane in our present posture where we have people already sheltered from the last storm which we are still trying to recover from.
  • Lift each other in prayer.
  • Be good neighbors.
  • Do what is required of us to protect ourselves, family, and one another.
  • Next press conference on Monday afternoon.
submitted by WizardMama to Coronaviruslouisiana [link] [comments]

Collection of thoughts about my experience as a Prius Dweller

Thought I would finally join this subreddit and give a run down of my experiences.
Last year, I bought a 2018 Prius with the intent of using it to go on road trips and live in it -- mostly because I have been trapped in the middle of frickin' nowhere my whole life and have never had a true adventure. I have never seen a mountain in-person prior to these trips. I also have a very comfortable IT job that easily facilitates me living in a car and working remotely without issues and with a lot of free time.
I went on two separate trips so far. The first one was about 2.5 months long and the second one was about 3.5 months long. I have traveled from Seattle, WA to Key West, Florida and put over 20,000 miles on the car in the process.
My first trip was comprised of South Dakota (Badlands, Black Hills), Yellowstone, Idaho (Coeur d'alene), Oregon (Forests, Crater Lake, Portland, beaches), Nor Cal (Redwood forests, beaches), Washington (Beaches, Seattle, Olympic National Park), and Montana(Glacier National Park).
And for my second trip, I went to Louisiana(New Orleans), Florida(where I spent most of the time and explored nearly everything), up the coast to Charleston, SC, and into the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains(Gatlinburg, Asheville).
Everything was amazing. I don't know if I have a favorite, but the beauty of Glacier National Park particularly strikes me. I also thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the crystal clear springs throughout Florida.
My setup is not particularly elaborate, but I didn't spare much of an expense:
- Tinted windows. - Front and rear dashcams with batteries for when the car is off. - Custom fit sun shades for all windows (Weathertech). - Weathertech floor liners. - A basic cooler. - Redundant IT setup so I don't get fired. (2 laptops, 3 chargers, a car charger, 2 hotspots) - A 4" thick full sized foam mattress pad and a sleeping bag, couple of blankets, couple of pillows. - Suitcase full of clothes, towels.- Bag with misc supplies (Laundry, food, trash bags, medicine, wet wipes). Wet wipes are great for cleaning yourself when you don't have access to a shower for some reason. - A Black Card membership to Planet Fitness (for showering mostly). It also makes a good excuse if you ever decide to sleep in a Planet Fitness parking lot (not my first choice). - Rain guards so that I can roll the windows down in bad weather.
And that is basically all I needed. I know people have much more elaborate DIY setups, but much of that I never found necessary or was interested in. I also ended up buying a USB fan that I never used because if I ever really needed heat regulation I would just use the AC.
One thing that I wish I had thought of beforehand is to get a Prius with a sunroof. It would have been nice to be able to stare up into the sky while I try to sleep, or to open it up and let some air in.
One thing I might consider in the future is a signal booster for my hotspots. These can be pricey, but worth it if your job depends on a reliable connection. Although I think I can get by without one by using apps that help you pinpoint the location of cell towers and by mooching off of hotel wifi access.
I took out a few credit cards prior to purchasing the car and supplies in order to score a bunch of bonus travel points (I had saved up most of the cost of the car prior to buying it). I used the Plastiq service in order to use car payments towards the qualifying payments required for the credit card bonuses. The fee they charged was definitely worth it for the points I accrued.
So I set out on the road with a boat load of free points I had thought I would need for hotels here and there. It's a good idea if you like to go to them from time to time. During my first trip I went to hotels twice a week (mostly to work). I eventually realized that I could work entirely out of my car without issues and without much discomfort, and during my second trip I only booked a hotel a couple times. As I write this, I still have around half of my points...
It's been the time of my life. I would do it full time if I didn't have other obligations (my cat, mostly, who waited patiently at home).
As a result of these trips, I have decided to move to the west coast permanently, which means I have another trip coming up soon. On my next trip I plan on going through Colorado, maybe stop at the Grand Canyon, and make my way through southern/central California.
Now I'll just focus on what it was like living in the Prius and what my preferences are when I do it rather than the trips themselves. If anyone has any questions about anything, feel free to ask.
I've only been explicitly shoed away twice, and one time a security guard caught my attention but allowed me to continue what I was doing. The first time I was shoed away, I was at a casino parking lot. I have stayed at many casino parking lots, and most of them never bothered me, but this one in particular had saw me put up my sun shields (from the outside) and was determined to kick me out. Since then, I started putting my sun shields on only from within the car so that people are less likely to notice, and I think it has helped.
The second time is when I was staying in Key West, Florida. Key West thinks they have a problem with people living in their car, so the locals don't take kindly to people camping in their cars and are extra vigilant about it. No one actually explicitly shoed me away, but someone dinged my car with a bell and yelled "No overnight parking" generally for the entire parking lot, which was enough to scare me away. They may not have known I was sleeping in my car.
And the time when the security guard approached me, I was sleeping in a large vacant lot two nights in a row. The first night went fine, and the second night alerted them more that something was going on and caused them to approach me. But, they thought I was homeless and destitute or something, and they let me stay there because they pitied me, but they told me to leave first thing in the morning.
My location of choice? Mid-sized hotel parking lots. I did this almost exclusively on my second trip. Holiday Inns, Courtyard by Marriots, etc. No one who worked at any hotel ever bothered me, tow away zone signs be damned. If I park in the right location, I get free wifi access, which is great for work. That was my primary motivation. Sometimes people staying at the hotel would catch on to someone being inside of the car and gossip about it such that I could hear them, but no one ever really bothered me.
Other than hotels, free camp sites are nice. (freecampsites.net) Sometimes you can get really lucky and find an abandoned camp site with a full bathroom and shower and electricity next to a scenic lake or something like that.
Other places I stayed at that I would recommend: Walmart parking lots (in good neighborhoods), 24 hour gym parking lots, Cracker Barrels, Cabelas, the aforementioned casino parking lots.
Side streets. I am not really a fan of side streets, but I think it depends on the neighborhood. It's a bit paradoxical because these might be locations where it's actually legal to park and stay overnight, but the people who live in the house you park next to can get suspicious of you. I would much rather deal with someone who works at a hotel or as a security guard and is underpaid than with a curious and possibly grumpy homeowner.
The first night I ever slept in my car, I stopped at a small town in South Dakota where I stood out like a sore thumb, and every time I would try to find a parking spot on a side street, someone would come out of their house and approach me. They would confuse me with someone they knew, or they would just look at me suspiciously. Everyone in a small town in the middle of nowhere knows everyone, and they know that you do not belong there. I ended up sleeping in a car dealership out of desperation and with someone probably watching me the entire time.
Rest stops. I never use a rest stop. They do not seem safe to me, because everyone knows that there are sleeping travelers there, and thus predators can go to these places looking for people to victimize. It defeats the purpose of stealth. The safest thing to me is to draw minimum suspicion that someone is even trying to sleep in their car. But as I never used them, I don't have any real world experience. The stories of people being attacked at them was enough to keep me away from them.
PEE JUGS: An art form. I don't know how female dwellers live without pee jugs. It must be difficult. I imagine getting up to pee a bunch would break stealth. It's bad enough that you're more vulnerable as a female to begin with. But as a male dweller, you will be presented with a variety of options. Gatorade bottles might seem like a good idea, being that they have a wide top and can store a decent amount. And while you may be able to pee in a Gatorade bottle here and there, you may underestimate how much you have to pee and how much space you actually have. Really, you want at least a gallon jug, and you want something with a nice tight screw cap and probably a firm handle. Large bottles of tea also work well. The last thing you want is to spill pee. Take this sage advice and do not learn the hard way. But also be sure to take advantage of the majestic pee jug if you are privileged to do so.
And never go to bed when you have to poo and think you can hold it in. It sucks. You rarely ever do this when you live in a house and you may not appreciate how uncomfortable and how bad of an idea this is until you try it. No, I did not poo the bed, for the record.
Anyway, that about wraps up everything I have to say for now. I will answer any questions. I love Prius Dwelling. It's been the time of my life. I want to continue doing it on and off for the rest of my life. These kinds of long trips are simply not financially possible to do if you stay at hotels unless you are loaded. I should probably write a tl;dr.
Edit: Added Rain Guards to my setup list.
submitted by APriusDweller to priusdwellers [link] [comments]

Can I Travel From Baltimore?

I just read this [updated list of state](https://pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/south-jersey-now-delaware-added-back-to-covid-19-travel-advisory/collection_06a3a42e-a115-5447-81f9-bf00c7c78e33.html#2) they added to their COVID-19 list. Can residents of these states still travel to AC?
The article goes on to say..
The list includes Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
“By practicing good citizenship and complying with our travel advisory, native New Jerseyans and visitors alike can help slow the spread of this virus and save lives,” said Murphy. “It remains critically important for anyone arriving to New Jersey from these 35 states and territories to get tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantine for 14 days.”
Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel or other temporary lodging, officials said. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items.
Is this a requirement? I've remember reading something about ~$1,000+ fines for violating the quarantine orders?
Are they really enforcing this at the casinos? It seems basically impossible to implement on a wide-scale basis.
Thanks
submitted by jDooz to atlanticcity [link] [comments]

Lost in the Sauce: March 22 - 28

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Figuring out how to divide the COVID-19 content from the “regular” news has been difficult because the pandemic is influencing all aspects of life. Some of the stories below involve the virus, but I chose to include them when it fits into one of the pre-established categories (like congress or immigration). The coronavirus-central post will be made again this Thursday-Friday; the sign up form now has an option to choose to receive an email when the coronavirus-focused roundup is posted.
House-keeping:
  1. How to support: If you enjoy my work, please consider becoming a patron. I do this to keep track and will never hide behind a paywall, but these projects take a lot of time and effort to create. Even a couple of dollars a month helps. Since someone asked a few weeks ago (thank you!), here's a PayPal option and Venmo.
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Let’s dig in!

MAIN COURSE

Congress passes stimulus

Last week started out with a Republican-crafted stimulus bill that was twice-blocked by Senate Democrats, who objected to the lax conditions of aid to corporations, too little funding for hospitals, and a $500 billion “slush fund” for big companies to be doled out by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin with no oversight.
Conservative-Democrat Joe Manchin (WV) even criticized the GOP bill:
“It fails our first responders, nurses, private physicians and all healthcare professionals. ... It fails our workers. It fails our small businesses… Instead, it is focused on providing billions of dollars to Wall Street and misses the mark on helping the West Virginians that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
Through negotiations, Democrats shifted the bill in a more-worker friendly direction. The version that passed includes the following Democrat-added provisions: expanded unemployment benefits, $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for state and local governments, direct payments to Americans without a phase-in (ensuring low-income workers get the full amount), a ban on Trump and his children from receiving aid, and oversight on the “slush fund” (see next section for more info). Senate Democrats also managed to remove a provision that would have excluded nonprofits that receive Medicaid funding from the small-business grants.
Echoing sentiments expressed during debate on the previous coronavirus bill (the second, for those keeping track), Republican senators derided the $600 a week increase in unemployment payments as “incentivizing” workers to quit their jobs. Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) delayed passage of the bill in order to force a vote on an amendment removing the extra unemployment funding. "This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working," Graham said. Fortunately for American workers, the amendment failed and the improved bill passed the Senate and the House.

The giveaways in the bill

While Senate Democrats were able to add worker-friendly provisions, the bill still required bipartisan support to pass the chamber and some corporate giveaways remained in the final version.
Politico:

Trump’s signing statement

While signing the latest coronavirus relief bill, the president also issued a signing statement undercutting the congressional oversight provision creating an inspector general to track how the administration distributes the $500 billion “slush fund” money.
The newly-created inspector general is legally required to audit loans and investments made through the fund and report to Congress his/her findings, including any refusal by the executive office to cooperate. In his signing statement, Trump wrote that his understanding of constitutional powers allows him to gag the special IG:
"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required" by Article II of the Constitution.
The signing statement further suggests that Trump does not have to comply with a provision requiring that agencies consult with Congress before it spends or reallocates certain funds: "These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws," the statement reads.
While some have said that Congress fell short in this instance, one Democratic Senate aide told Politico that Congress built in multiple layers of oversight, including “a review of other inspectors general and a congressional review committee charged with overseeing Treasury and the Federal Reserve's efforts to implement the law.”
Legal experts have pointed out that a signing statement is “without legal effect.” But that ignores the fact that oversight is not equal to enforcement. The problem, in my opinion, isn’t that Congress won’t be notified of any abuses of power by Trump. The problem is that congressional Republicans and the judiciary have largely failed to hold him accountable and enforce our laws even after learning of his abuses.

Concerns about the IG

Another potential weakness in the oversight structure is the inspector general position itself. The special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. As we’ve seen from Trump’s previous nominees, particularly judicial, many unqualified individuals have been confirmed. The Democrats will not have the power to stop the president and Mitch McConnell from jamming through a loyalist to fill the SIGPR role.
Former inspector general at the Justice Department Michael Bromwich: “The signing statement threatens to undermine the authority and independence of this new IG. The Senate should extract a commitment from the nominee that Congress will be promptly notified of any Presidential/Administration interference or obstruction.”
You may recall that Trump has already proven that he’s willing to interfere with the legally-mandated work of an inspector general. When the Ukraine whistleblower filed a complaint last year, the IG of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, investigated and determined the complaint to be “urgent” and “credible.” Atkinson wrote a report and gave it to Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to hand over to Congress. However, the White House and DOJ interfered and instructed Maguire not to transmit the report to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Chairman Adam Schiff had to subpoena Maguire to turn over the report and testify before his committee.
Further, there are already five IG vacancies in agencies that have a critical role in responding to the pandemic. The Treasury itself has not had a permanent, Senate-confirmed IG for over eight months now, and Trump hasn’t nominated a replacement. The Treasury Dept. has taken a lead role in the coronavirus response, with Secretary Mnuchin handling most of the negotiating with Congress on Trump’s behalf. The fact that the lead agency doesn’t have IG oversight should be troublesome in itself; replicating the situation with a special IG doesn’t seem to be a promising solution.
UPDATE: The nation's inspectors general have appointed Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's acting IG, to lead the committee of IGs overseeing the coronavirus relief effort.
This is one of several oversight mechanisms built into the new law. They include:
A committee of IGs (now led by Fine), a new special IG (to be nominated by Trump), a congressional review panel (to be appointed by House/Senate leaders)

Direct payments

Included in the stimulus bill is a $1200 one-time direct payment for all Americans who made less than $75,000 in 2019 (less than $150,000 if couples filed jointly). More details can be found here. I have read that the Treasury will use 2018 information for those who have not filed yet this year, but I am not 100% sure that’ll happen.
Mnuchin has said that Americans can expect to receive the money within three weeks, but many experts expect that timetable to be pushed into late April. Additionally, that only applies to Americans who included direct deposit information on their 2019 tax returns. Those who did not include their bank’s information will have to be sent a physical check in the mail… which could take anywhere from two to four months.
Other options are being discussed, including partnering the Treasury Dept. with MasterCard and Visa to deliver prepaid debit cards. Venmo and Paypal are reportedly lobbying the government to be considered as a disbursement option.
Future payments?
House Speaker Pelosi is already planning another wave of direct payments to Americans, saying that the $1,200 is not enough to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic: “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of direct payments.” Republicans, meanwhile, are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, using the next couple of weeks to measure the impact of the $2 trillion bill passed last week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “What concerns me is when I listen to Nancy Pelosi talk about a fourth package now, it’s because she did not get out of things that she really wanted...I’m not sure you need a fourth package...Let’s let this work ... We have now given the resources to make and solve this problem. We don’t need to be crafting another bill right now.”
For the fourth legislative package, Democrats have said they would like to see increased food stamp benefits; increased coverage for coronavirus testing, visits to the doctor and treatment; more money for state and local governments, including Washington, D.C.; expanded family and medical leave; pension fixes; and stronger workplace protections.
Trump’s signature
Normally, a civil servant signs federal checks, like the direct payments Americans are set to receive. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Trump has told people that he wants his signature to appear on the stimulus checks.

THE SIDES

War on the poor continues

Amid the coronavirus crisis, Trump has defended his continued support of a Republican-led lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which would result in 20 million Americans losing health insurance if successful. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case this fall. Contrasting with his position that the ACA is illegal, Trump is considering reopening enrollment on HealthCare.gov, allowing millions of uninsured individuals to get coverage before potentially incurring charges and fees related to COVID-19.
Joe Biden called on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the charge against the ACA, and President Trump to drop the lawsuit:
“At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to pre-existing conditions.”
The Trump administration is also pushing forward with its plan to kick 700,000 people off federal food stamp assistance, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The USDA announced two weeks ago that the department will appeal Judge Beryl Howell’s recent decision that the USDA’s work mandate rule is “arbitrary and capricious."
Additionally: The Social Security Administration has no plans to slow down a rule change set for June that will limit disability benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services still intends to reduce automatic enrollment in health coverage, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will continue the process to enact a rule that would make it harder for renters to sue landlords for racial discrimination.

Lawmakers’ stock transactions

The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are beginning to investigate stock transactions made ahead of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reports that the inquiry has already reached out to Senator Richard Burr for information. “Under insider trading laws, prosecutors would need to prove the lawmakers traded based on material non-public information they received in violation of a duty to keep it confidential,” a task that won’t be easy.
Sen. Burr is facing another consequence of his trades: Alan Jacobson, a shareholder in Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, sued Burr for allegedly using private information to instruct a mass liquidation of his assets. Among the shares he sold were an up to $150,000 stake in Wyndham, whose stock suffered a market-value cut of more than two-thirds since mid-February.

Environmental rollbacks

Using the pandemic as cover, the Trump administration has begun to more aggressively roll back regulations meant to protect the environment. These are examples of what Naomi Klein dubbed “the shock doctrine”: the phenomenon wherein polluters and their government allies push through unpopular policy changes under the smokescreen of a public emergency.
On Thursday, the EPA announced (non-paywalled) an expansive relaxation of environmental laws and fines, exempting companies from consequences for pollution. Under the new rules, there are basically no rules. Companies are asked to “act responsibly” but are not required to report when their facilities discharge pollution into the air or water. Just five days before abandoning any pollution oversight, the oil industry’s largest trade group implored the administration for assistance, stating that social distancing measures caused a steep drop in demand for gasoline.
  • Monday morning update: In an interview with Fox News this morning, Trump said he was going to call Putin after the interview to discuss the Saudi-Russia oil fight. A consequence of this "battle" has been plummeting prices in the U.S. making it difficult for domestic companies (like shale extraction) to turn a profit. It's striking that the day after Dr. Fauci told Americans we can expect 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 (if we keep social distancing measures in place), Trump's first action is to talk to Fox News and his second action is to intervene in an international tiff on behalf of the oil and gas industry.
Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under the Obama administration, called the rollback “an open license to pollute.” Cynthia Giles, who headed the EPA enforcement division during the Obama administration, said “it is so far beyond any reasonable response I am just stunned.”
The EPA is also moving forward with a widely-opposed rule to limit the types of scientific studies used when crafting new regulations or revising current ones. Hidden behind claims of increased transparency, the rule would require disclosure of all raw data used in scientific studies. This would disqualify many fields of research that rely on personal health information from individuals that must be kept confidential. For example, studies that show air pollution causes premature deaths or a certain pesticide is linked to birth defects would be rejected under the proposed rule change.
Officials and scientists are calling upon the EPA to extend the time for comment on the regulatory changes, arguing that the public is unable to express their opinion while dealing with the pandemic.
“These rollbacks need and deserve the input of our public health community, but right now, they are rightfully focused on responding to the coronavirus,” said Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Other controversial decisions being made:
  • A former EPA official who worked on controversial policies returned as Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s chief of staff. Mandy Gunasekara helped write regulations to ease pollution controls for coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions in her previous role as chief of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In a recent interview, Gunasekara, who played a role in the decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord, pushed back on the more dire predictions of climate change, saying, “I don't think it is catastrophic.”
  • NYT: The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic. “We simply don’t want millions of Americans bringing germ-filled reusable bags into retail establishments putting the public and workers at risk,” an industry campaign that goes by the name Bag the Ban warned on Tuesday. (Also see The Guardian)
  • Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia passed laws putting new criminal penalties on protests against fossil fuel infrastructure in just the past two weeks.
  • The Hill: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Friday that it will extend the amount of time that winter gasoline can be sold this year as producers have been facing lower demand due to the coronavirus. It will allow companies to sell the winter-grade gasoline through May 20, whereas companies would have previously been required to stop selling it by May 1 to protect air quality. “In responding to an international health crisis, the last thing the EPA should do is take steps that will worsen air quality and undermine the public’s health,” biofuels expert David DeGennaro said.
  • NYT: At the Interior Department, employees at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been under strict orders to complete the rule eliminating some protections for migratory birds within 30 days, according to two people with direct knowledge of the orders. The 45-day comment period on that rule ended on March 19.
  • WaPo: The Interior Department has received over 230 nominations for oil and gas leases covering more than 150,000 acres across southern Utah, a push that would bring drilling as close as a half-mile from some of the nation’s most famous protected sites, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks… if all the fossil fuels buried in those sites was extracted and burned, it would translate into between 1 billion and 5.95 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air. That upward measure is equal to half the annual carbon output of China

Court updates

Press freedom case
Southern District of New York District Judge Lorna Schofield ruled that a literary advocacy group’s lawsuit against Trump for allegedly violating the First Amendment can move forward. The group, PEN America, is pursuing claims that Trump “has used government power to retaliate against media coverage and reporters he dislikes.”
Schofield determined that PEN’s allegation that Trump made threats to chill free speech was valid, providing as an example the White House’s revocation of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press press corps credentials:
”The threats are lent credence by the fact that Defendant has acted on them before, by revoking Mr. Acosta’s credentials and barring reporters from particular press conferences. The Press Secretary indeed e-mailed the entire press corps to inform them of new rules of conduct and to warn of further consequences, citing the incident involving Mr. Acosta… These facts plausibly allege that a motivation for defendant’s actions is controlling and punishing speech he dislikes.”
Twitter case
The president suffered another First Amendment defeat last week when the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review a previous ruling that prevents Trump from blocking users on the Twitter account he uses to communicate with the public. Judge Barrington D. Parker, a Nixon-appointee, wrote: “Excluding people from an otherwise public forum such as this by blocking those who express views critical of a public official is, we concluded, unconstitutional.”
Trump-appointees Michael Parker and Richard Sullivan authored a dissent, arguing the free speech “does not include a right to post on other people’s personal social media accounts, even if those other people happen to be public officials.” Park warned that the ruling will allow the social media pages of public officials to be “overrun with harassment, trolling, and hate speech, which officials will be powerless to filter.”
Florida’s felon voting
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ripped into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration for failing to come up with a process to determine which felons are genuinely unable to pay court-ordered fees and fines, which are otherwise required to be paid before having their voting rights restored.
“If the state is not going to fix it, I will,” Hinkle warned. He had given the state five months to come up with an administrative process for felons to prove they’re unable to pay financial obligations, but Florida officials did not do so. The case is set to be heard on April 28 (notwithstanding any coronavirus-related delays).

ICE, Jails, and COVID-19

ICE
One of the most overlooked populations with an increased risk of death from coronavirus are those in detention facilities, which keep people in close quarters with little sanitation or protective measures (including for staff).
Last week, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the federal government to “make continuous efforts” to release migrant children from detention centers across the country. Numerous advocacy groups asked for the release after reports that four children being held in New York had tested positive for the virus:
“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition… both of the agencies operating migrant children detention facilities must by April 6 provide an accounting of their efforts to release those in custody… “Her order will undoubtedly speed up releases,” said Peter Schey, co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the court case.
On Tuesday, 13 immigrants held at ICE facilities in California filed a lawsuit demanding to be released because their health conditions make them particularly vulnerable to dying if infected by the coronavirus. An ACLU statement says the detainees are “confined in crowded and unsanitary conditions where social distancing is not possible.” The 13 individuals are all over the age of 50 and/or suffering from serious underlying medical issues like high blood pressure.
“From all the evidence we have seen, ICE is failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the health and safety of individuals in its custody. ICE should exercise its existing discretion to release people with serious medical conditions from detention for humanitarian reasons,” said William Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU of Northern California.
Meanwhile, ICE is under fire for continuing to shuttle detainees across the country, with one even being forced to take nine different flights bouncing from Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey less than two weeks ago. That man is Dr. Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor from Iran, who was acquitted last year on federal charges of stealing trade secrets. The government lost its case against him, yet ICE has had him in indefinite detention since November.
Asgari, 59, told the Guardian that his Ice holding facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, had no basic cleaning practices in place and continued to bring in new detainees from across the country with no strategy to minimize the threat of Covid-19...Detainees have no hand sanitizer, and the facility is not regularly cleaning bathrooms or sleeping areas…Detainees lack access to masks… Detainees struggle to stay clean, and the facility has an awful stench.
Jails
State jails are making a better effort to release detained individuals, as both New York and New Jersey ordered a thousand people in each state be let out of jail. The order applied only to low-level offenders sentenced to less than a year in jail and those held on technical probation violations. In Los Angeles County, officials released over 1,700 people from its jails.
A judge in Alabama took similar steps last week, ordering roughly 500 people jailed for minor offenses to be released to lessen crowding in facilities. Unlike in New York and New Jersey, however, local officials reacted in an uproar, led in part by the state executive committee for the Alabama Republican Party and Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson. Using angry Facebook messages as the barometer of the community’s feelings, Robinson worked “frantically” to block inmates from being released.
  • Reuters: As of Saturday, at least 132 inmates and 104 staff at jails across New York City had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus… Since March 22, jails have reported 226 inmates and 131 staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Reuters survey of cities and counties that run America’s 20 largest jails. The numbers are almost certainly an undercount given the fast spread of the virus.

Tribe opposed by Trump loses land

On Wednesday, The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s reservation would be "disestablished" and its land trust status removed. Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell called the move "cruel" and "unnecessary,” particularly coming in the midst of a pandemic crisis. Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.), who last year introduced legislation to protect the tribe's reservation as trust land in Massachusetts, said the order “is one of the most cruel and nonsensical acts I have seen since coming to Congress.”
The administration’s decision is especially suspicious as just last year Trump attacked the tribe’s plan to build a casino on its land, tweeting that allowing the construction would be “unfair” and treat Native Americans unequally. As a former casino owner, Trump has spent decades attacking Native American casinos as unfair competition. At a 1993 congressional hearing Trump said that tribal owners “don’t look like Indians to me” and claimed: “I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations” to gambling.
More than his past history, however, Trump has current interests at play in the Mashpee Wampanoag’s planned casino: it would have competed for business with nearby Rhode Island casinos owned by Twin River Worldwide Holdings, whose president, George Papanier, was a finance executive at the Trump Plaza casino hotel in Atlantic City.
In the Mashpee case, Twin River, the operator of the two Rhode Island casinos, has hired Matthew Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a vocal Trump supporter, to lobby for it on the land issue. Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, is director of strategic communications at the White House.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

A Thorough Review of Robins AFB

COPY PASTA from my post at AirForce!
A Thorough Review of Robins AFB
Hello Everyone,
This is my review of Robins AFB after living here for the past 5 years. Hope you find this helpful!
If you’re familiar with using Google Map/GPS to help you get to a military base, it can be difficult to find an open gate without your GPS telling you to turn/U-Turn into a closed gate!
Put in your GPS, “Martin’s BBQ, 102 S Armed Forces Blvd, Warner Robins, GA 31088.” It will take you to Watson Blvd and to the only 24hr gate; Watson Gate. This is also the gate to get visitor passes for your friends/family.
The other gate you’ll be using a lot is Russell gate which is connected to Russell Pkwy. I’ll be assuming you’re driving from the Atlanta airport, so south of Highway 247. GPS the “Museum of Aviation” and about 100 yards before you arrive at the MoA, exit right to Russell Gate. Note, Russell Gate closes at 2400 (0100 on Fri and Sat only) and opens up at 0430 on weekdays and 0500 on the weekends. Hours subject to change, check online for more specific hours!
Green Gate and MLK Gate are two other notable gates mainly for inbound and outbound traffic in the morning rush/afternoon rush.
Bowling Alley: 908 Ninth Street (478-926-2112)
Fitness CenteBase Gym: 826 Eighth Street (478-926-9128)
Fitness Annex/24 Hour Gym: Bldg 301 (478-926-2840)
Finance: 236 Milledgeville Street Suite 526 (478-926-4022)
Heritage Club/Restaurant: 956 Ninth St (Various Numbers)
ITT/Outdoor Recreation: Bldg 984 (Located next to the Main BX) (478-926-4001)
Medical Clinic: 655 Seventh St (478-327-7850 Appointment Line)
MPF/MPS: 660 Macon St (478-327-5666)
Warner Robins - The main city outside of Robins AFB is Warner Robins. WR will be referenced a lot while you are here at Robins. WR can be summed up in a few words as a small-sized southern city with churches and chain restaurants. The city consists of two main counties; Houston (pronounced “House Ton” and not “Hugh’s Town.” People will correct you on this!) and Peach County.
Macon - Located about 15 miles north of Robins AFB/Warner Robins. Macon has a lot of history and is nicknamed the “Heart of Georgia” because it is in the center of GA. Honestly IMO, Macon is pretty ghetto… What happened to Macon is similar to Detroit.. Both places were once thriving industrial cities until their main asset collapsed. You’ll see a lot of abandoned buildings when you drive to downtown Macon. It is pretty sad. There are some nice areas in Macon to visit though, like around Zebulon Road. I’d still recommend going downtown to eat at some nice mom and pop stores. Make sure to never go alone, however.
Savannah - Located about 2 ½ hours to 3 hours South-East/East of Robins. It is the #1 “Most Haunted” city in the United States apparently. It is really fun to visit. Eat seafood and go on some ghost tours while you’re there. The #3 Ice Cream Shop in the U.S. is in Savannah, Leopolds, if you love ice cream. The vibe can be described as a cross between Florida and South Carolina and “hipster-ish” thanks to SCAD there. Be prepared to walk a lot. Free parking on the weekends! Almost every store gives military discounts since there is an Army Base nearby. Give yourself 3 days and 2 nights to really have a grasp and enjoy Savannah.
Atlanta - The capital of GA and the place to be! It is located about 100 miles north of Robins which takes about 2 ½ hours to drive, thanks to the good ol’ Atlanta traffic! There is an abundant amount of things to do and sightsee that I will talk about later in this post.
Owen’s Boarding House is one of my favorite mom and pop stores in WR and it's really close to the base for a quick lunch! Owen’s is an all-you-can-eat lunch-only southern restaurant, dig in those chicken wings! It’s about $10.50, cash only.
The Rookery, in downtown Macon, is one you’ll hear a lot of. It is an old southern/burger joint. The store has a fancy dining upstairs; The Dovetail, if you’re into that.
Martin's BBQ, I referenced it earlier as a good point to locate Robins AFB but it is also a popular BBQ!
WR really loves Mexican food, and so do I! Taco Shed is next to the Museum of Aviation, it is American Mexican food. Salsa’s which is a dining American Mexican restaurant. My Grandma’s Empanadas and Luis for more authentic Mexican food. Cuban Cafe sells pretty good Cuban food. Tacos and More, I wasn't a huge fan of it but one of the comments mentioned it and it does sell $1 tacos, try it out!
Wasn't a fan of Saigon Noodle in WR, its close to base, which is why I believe their portions are small for a Vietnamese place. Plus, the Pho soup has MSG!
Pho Saigon in Macon is great, however. Good portions, and no MSG in their soups!
Stir King is a nice American Chinese place which gives good portions. I am not a fan of the “Japanese” food in WR, better go to Atlanta for real sushi and ramen. Also… screw all of WR’s Hibachi restaurants.
I did not mention any corporate/franchise restaurants since you may already be familiar with them and only want to mention the mom n pop stores.
They’re also “Senior Airmen” dorms for Airmen who’ve stayed longer in the dorms. Essentially, a SrA dorm is a larger dorm with no suite-mate and no kitchen. If the dorms have no availability, Airmen with the longest TOS (Time-on-Station) will be allowed to leave early. You can ask regularly if the dorms are full and maybe you can leave ahead of others.
Certain circumstances can allow you to leave the dorms early such as being a mature age (like over the age of 30) or being married but your spouse is currently living elsewhere due to service, school, etc.
My personal experience: I lived in the dorms and I would describe the overall experience as “okay.” It can be hit or miss with a good suite-mate and your dorm might have mold in them... I didn’t though. Typically activities of dorm airmen include going clubbing, the gym, and/or playing video games. Overall, I enjoyed living in the dorms because of the access to network with other Airmen, not cooking my own food, because of the DEFAC, and friends were just close by.
I lived in Warner Robins after I moved off base from the dorms, and the area was okay. Generally speaking, the further you live off base, (and this goes for all military bases) the safer the environment becomes.
If you’re wanting to live in a nicer area and/or have kids. Look into living in cities Kathleen and/or Bonaire. The area and school system (like Houston County High School) is much nicer than the rest of the public school system.
Cities like Perry and Bryon have far commutes of at least 20 minutes but can be described as “rural” if like not knowing your neighbors.
IMO, please do yourself a favor and do not live off or near Green St. (Hint. It’s right off Green St Gate!) I would also not recommend living in Macon. Imma be real and say Macon is pretty ghetto in most parts of the city (unless you live off Zebulon Rd) and the commute to work is going to be at least 20 mins to work. Edit: Forgot to mention Riverside in Macon. It is still relatively new and the area is nice and so are the neighborhoods. The Riverside Mall is an outdoor mall, very safe and clean. Don't go to the Macon Mall, however.
Essentially, South-West of Warner Robins is the best place to live. Where Feagin Mill Rd and Highway 96 is.
Off Base Housing community is called Huntington Chase, it’s ghetto from what my co-workers have told me as they’ve gunshots go off frequently and cars are breaking into. Off-Base housing is open to civilians and not just military.
Coca Cola Factory - Entry is free for military (does not include dependents) and it is a nice place to go on a date. Try flavors of coke from around the world!
Aquarium - IMO, the experience felt it was geared towards children, I would only pay during special military days because $33 is not worth the visit!
Atlanta Zoo - Never been but it is another sight seeing opportunity.
Dragon Con - A.K.A. “Comic Con of the East.” Where 80k of your “best friends” come meet in a 4-day comic/pop culture/movie/ convention which spans across 5 hotels! Most people get turned off when they hear “comic” as they associate this con with sweaty nerds… Well, they aren’t wrong! But I can guarantee you’ll be missing out if you did not attend this con at least once while you’re at Robins. Even if you don’t love comics, movies, anime, or pop culture (who doesn’t like at least one of the 4?) you can open drink in public for the duration of the con! It is always during Labor Day weekend every year. And if you don’t mind paying for the price of a host hotel, they’re worth it. Good luck because they get booked fast!
Anime Weekend Atlanta - An Anime Con that specializes on having Japanese pop/rock stars to play in the con!
MomoCon - An Anime Con that specializes in 24hour gaming/arcade gaming for the entire weekend!
Ponce City Market - A hipster food and shopping market that used an abandoned factory as their shopping district. Please do yourself a favor and park in Ponce City Market’s parking and not try to get “free” parking from the plaza across the street. You’ll get a “boot” on your car when you come back and have to pay a fine… Ask me how I figured that out...
Caffeine and Octane - A huge car meet in Atlanta that meets regularly.
Mardi Gras: The drive to Louisiana is about 6 hours but I know some Airmen who made the trip to be there for Mardi Gras.
Florida: The drive will take at least 3 hours to cross the Florida border. Florida is fun, do I need to say more?
Professional Sports: Altanta Hawks, Braves, and Falcons! Look for special discounts near Veterans days like Hoops for Troops. The Falco
Don’t forget to check the ITT office for free or reduce price activities for “single Airmen!” Seriously, I’ve gone skydiving, deep sea fishing, paintballing, etc for free or reduced prices! 50% of Disney Park passes!
Obviously, there are more things to do than the list I provided, DYOR and maybe you’ll find a place and/or hidden gem you’ll love!
A lot of your co-workers will most likely talk crap about Robins. Well, they’re probably the same salty Airmen who put Robins AFB, 9th, on their dream sheet and how trying to figure out how Eglin or Macdill wasn’t chosen even though it was #1 and #3 on their dream sheet. But even if they aren’t those types of Airmen.... Robins is one of those “what you make of it bases.”
You. Yes you, Airman, have to create your own experiences and be willing to leave your dorm and not be a dorm rat to make memories at Robins. This base isn’t centrally located to anything known for “fun” like all the bases in San Antonio, all Florida bases, Travis, Keesler and the casinos, etc. Even that hot A1C still has to make an effort to venture out and explore new roads and can’t rely on other people to do it for them.
“Robins-ism.” For whatever reason, “Robin-ism” is basically AFIs and the proper order of how to do things in the Air Force... does not apply the same for Robins. You’ll hear a lot of “that’s not how we did that at my last base.” People say it's because the amount of civilians outnumbers the military 3:1. And with that, if the civilians don’t like the AFI/protocol, it will slowly but surely die out and a “Robin-ism” method of how to do things soon takes over. I am not blaming the large civilian population, it is just what Airmen accept is the reason why some people on this base can be lazy at times.
Allergies. If you never experienced allergies or have in the past. Well, Warner Robins has a surprise for you... Seriously, you could potentially suffer from bad allergies.
I hope you found this review helpful if you're incoming to Robins whether it'd be a PCS or TDY, or if you just wanted to read my review.
Edit: Added more info.
Edit 2: I have since PCSed from Robins in 2020.
submitted by Be-a-better-wingman to RateMyAFB [link] [comments]

Trouble finding my first engineering job

I graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree last May. It’s been 10 months and while I know it’s not supposed to be easy, with May graduation coming up I’m afraid more competition would only make it tougher to land a job. I don’t have internship experience because it required a 3.0 gpa in my area(mine’s at 2.72). My gpa is only at 2.72 because I hated math during hs. But I liked engineering so once I figured everything out, apprecited math a lot more my grades improved and you can see on my transcript that my last two semesters were full of A’s and B’s. I took electives that I thought would help build up my resume(like Finite Element Analysis and Pipeline Design) I had a resume writer in LinkedIn help out my resume too so it’s better than the first ones I’ve been sending out. I stated there that I know computer programs like MATLAB and AutoCAD. I worked as a Bellhop at a Casino/Hotel resort so I worked with different teams/staffs in our property and I got to improve my communication skills because I deal with guests on a daily basis. I gave my resume to a family friend in Citgo but they didn’t contact me. I had a buddy of mine hook me up with a confidential job opening from his aunt’s company but they wanted more experience. I’ve landed one phone interview(one my guests gave me his calling card), but the company never called me back. I’m willing to relocate so I’ve been applying anywhere. I’m from Louisiana but I’m a minority so I’m not sure if that affects anything. I’m a permanent resident and currently in the process of attaining my citizenship(had to live here in the US for five years to start the process). I’ve been really eager to start my Engineering career ever since I graduated. Does it really take this long to find a job? Was my gpa too low? When all else fails I’ve been thinking of starting out as an Engr Tech or Operator at a company and then move up from there. What should I do? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
submitted by pattywave to AskEngineers [link] [comments]

Went on a road trip with a friend, was left stranded 1000 miles in

Real quick backstory. I (23M) am out of college and finished first year of working as a school teacher. My friend who was figuring stuff out in his life also found himself becoming a school teacher as well. I am taking more college courses this summer for future goals when I get a call from him asking if I want to go on a road trip. I declined at first because I was taking 8 hours, 2 science courses, for the month of June. He insists and I said what the heck why not but I did make it clear that my studies come first because I didn't pay $1000+ for nothing. The time comes and we're off!

I get to his place since we're taking his car and we catch up since we haven't seen each other a little over a year. I've always known that he's a little awkward in certain social situations but hey so am I, that's more reason why we get along really well. We wait out a storm that was going to hit our first destination, Louisiana, since we were starting from Texas. We sleep at his place that night when I ask for a blanket or pillow or anything to crash on the couch. He looks at me plainly and says he doesn't have anything then proceeds not to make any arrangements and leaves me to fend for myself. I go to buy a blanket at Wal-Mart nearby thinking dang that was fing rude but I let it go because life's like that I guess. Next day comes and we go get breakfast which I was looking forward to since I haven't had a real breakfast in ages! Food comes our way and we get to conversation with decent food and coffee. About 20 minutes in we start talking about our plans for the future with everything that's happened in our lives. I tell him more about the classes I'm taking and what they're for. (I'll keep certain details unsaid to provide anonymity). He looks at me plainly and says, "Frankly, I think you're making a big mistake and I think you should drop them so you can really enjoy this trip with me and be in the moment." I'm thrown off quite a bit and tell him don't worry about it since it's not your problem. He insists and becomes adamant that I should do what he says. Again I tell him to let it go. I've heard he does weird things like this from other friends but I finally knew what they meant firsthand. After he tells me a third time to really consider what he's saying I tell him with a stern voice, "Dude, if you weren't my friend, I'd tell you to shut the F up." His face changed and he let it go. A few minutes pass with the subject changing and we continued our day. That was my first sign of more to come.

Day 2 comes next and we actually start the road part of our road trip. It was a decent set up. He drives big stretches so I can do homework and I drive small stretches when we're in the city. We get to Louisiana to pass through and visit some of my family actually. I got to catch up with my cousin and her husband and my friend got to know her a little bit too. We had a great time and got to catch up late into the night. Next day comes and we're on our way to our next destination, Mississippi and specifically the casinos! An hour into the drive, my friend asks if I could give him my cousin's phone number so he could keep in touch. I found it a bit odd and I didn't really want to since he'll never see her again in his life. He insisted to get the number, keep in mind she's a married woman with her own life outside of Texas, our home state. I indirectly told him no saying I'll consider inviting him again if I ever come visit her. Hint: I was never really going to. That was the second sign of more to come.

Day 3 continues and we get to the casinos. I've been gambling and I really enjoy it. Naturally, I want to share the experience with my friend but he says he has a migraine and decides he'll go check out a couple of places nearby while I play. We split up for a few hours to do our own thing which I found to be beneficial for both our psyches. Time apart is good for two people cooped in a car for several hours. After playing blackjack I found a coffeeshop to finish up some homework. We met back up to eat Vietnamese afterwards. We sit down to eat where a familiar situation occurs once more. A few minutes into conversation my friend asks about the white flakes left on the car seat where I was sitting. I look at him confused and think a bit. I look at him saying, "I'm sorry man. It must be my dandruff. It acts up with hot weather and I must've scratched my head on the way over." You would think that's a reasonable answer and he'd let it go. He tells me, "I've found it's better to say what I mean instead of holding it in so uh, dude that's just extremely disgusting. Can you not do that anymore?" I sit there dumbfounded starting to think what the F man. "Dude, that's incredibly rude. I have to deal with my dandruff everyday and I have medicated shampoos to fight against it." He replies, "Yeah, but it's still disgusting because that's the truth and I prefer saying the truth. Honestly man you have a problem with things that make you uncomfortable and we gotta work on that." I had never thought negative things about him or people in general for that matter but this changed things. Now I was thinking to myself, "What an AH." I tell him sternly, "Bro that's not what you tell people even it you think it's the truth. It's just plain rude." But there was no budge and he kept to what he said. After the meal I get back to the car and learned that those white flakes weren't even dandruff, they were pieces of paper dropped from a textbook I had. This was the third sign of more to come. Later that night we split up again and I had gotten so fed up with his childish S that I vented to my other close friend which helped tremendously. At one point I made a statement out loud, "You know if things don't get better or actually get worse, I'm willing to buy a plane ticket and fly home. I'm a grown man and I don't have to deal with this S." I say that but I knew in honesty I wanted to be there for my friend and not give up on him or the trip.

Day 4 comes and it's crunch time for classwork. I have quizzes, and lab assignments, and exams up my butt. On top of that I have a meeting with faculty from work to get ready for the school year so I'm already feeling the stress of loss of time. I voice this to my friend and he is supportive. He drives while I do classwork. That was the selflessness I knew of him from our years in college. He takes a detour to a museum in Florida which I didn't mind, I was there for the ride not the destination. He goes in and buys tickets for both of us. He starts his tour but I had to wait and finish my faculty meeting and it's not like I could opt out early. Meeting finally ends and he's already finished with the museum. I'm bummed out I didn't get to do more with him but he wanted to head out and grab lunch anyways. At lunch he asks me to drive to our next spot in Florida. No problem for me, he did me a solid now I'll do my part. Three hours in I ask him to finish the drive since I had less than five hours to turn in three assignments! He does me another solid that day and I finished the assignments with time to spare for a late dinner! Truly could not have happened without him driving more that day! We head out to late dinner for some fancy restaurant seafood. We get seated with a cute waitress, bonus! I could tell my bud was looking to have a good time so I said what the heck, let's try a few drinks on me! He earned it after carrying more of the load today. I try a mojito and he gets a glass of wine, very uncommon for him. A few sips in and either he was actually drunk or he thought he was drunk but man he started letting loose. I took a hint and elected myself DD. Our appetizers come in and he's talking about whatever, I stopped listening a few minutes into his drunk rants. He brings up again how I'm too uptight and I let things bother me too easily. I ignore it and reach to scoop my chip in the fancy dip. He proceeds to grab the dip with his hand, like his whole palm and fingers, and slabs it onto his plate while laughing at the whole ordeal. "What the F dude! I was about to eat some of that!" He replies, "Haha, see bro this is what I mean! Dude it's just food, why do you get so uptight about it?" I'm Fing pissed but I bite my tongue since I know it wouldn't do any justice to argue with a drunk person. I make it a point in my mind to put this guy to bed while I go out and have a good time late night clubbing and that's exactly what I did. Nevertheless, sign number four had just presented itself that night.

Day 5 comes and it's exam day, two exams in fact and I was studying like a madman. We leave Florida and head to Savannah, Georgia. This was a longer drive so he drove while I did homework. We get to the hotel late into the night and I was finally able to take the exams since I needed stable wifi. Exams start and he decides to get takeout, I was fine with anything as long as it was food. I'm laser focused on the exam with everything moving around me. Everything happening from this point on is subtle but holds an infinite amount of significance. My friend finishes eating but gets a little frustrated I'm still doing schoolwork. I ignore his frustration. I have to stay focused for a larger goal ahead of me. He leaves the room, where to I don't know. About a half hour passes and he walks back in the room where I hear, "What the F dude. I swear this is all you've been doing this entire trip. It's like you... ugh... never mind." He leaves the room again, to where I don't know but it was already 11:30pm so I don't know why he would leave. I assume he's really frustrated now but I still had to focus. Less than 15 until midnight I finish the exams! I grab a pillow, hug it tightly, and watch Doug Demuro car videos to destress everything that had pent up for the last 6-8 hours. I still hadn't let go of my laser focus on the computer screen but it was slowly easing away. My friend came back into the room except with the trash bag I kept in the car trunk for dirty laundry. I don't really process what's happening since my tunnel vision hasn't faded yet. He leaves another bag next to my suitcase then grabs his suitcase and leaves the room with it. Now I process his actions and think, "Man, he must be really frustrated to go get another room. Whatever, my classes are my responsibility and he should grown up instead of getting mad about it like a little kid." It is now 1am and I get a text. It's from my friend and it is the most F'ed up thing I've ever been sent. Here is the text in its entirety (edited for anonymity)
You have a flight at 5:30pm tomorrow from Savannah to Texas.
You have been a terrible friend this entire vacation. Each time I address it, you shoot me down with an excuse or you blame me for my behavior. I am sick and tired of it. I have already explained myself multiple times on the trip, yet you refuse to listen and get out of your head. This trip is over.
You can access your flight via the text sent to your phone, or the email sent to your gmail. I placed $100 in the red HEB bag, along with a n95 mask for the airport.
I am blocking your number, so you will not be able to contact me. Your car is located at my apartment at the address below. I suggest your Uber from the airport to this address, and climb the gate to get to your car.
I am disappointed in you. Have a nice life.

You bet I was cussing up a storm for the Fing Sty thing he did to me. The worst and best part of it all, I predicted this from the call I made a few days ago and I was HAPPY AND RELIEVED he peeled the band-aid off for me! With everything cut off, I could breathe and see clearly. I had an AH of what I thought was a friend and I was better off without him in my life. I call my dad and he is dumbfounded with everything I just told him. I call up my other close friend and he is at a loss for words. Eventually, things subsided and now I have to find my way home. I check my email for the flight and what do you know, he scheduled a cheap $120 flight... for a MONTH later. Not a flight for the upcoming weekend or week, a whole month! Either he was too emotional to check when he booked it or he's a worse person than I thought. I eventually get home and resume my normal life but with a new perspective on who my real friends are. It's only been two months since then and I haven't heard from the guy. I doubt he will reach out and apologize. I believe he still can't see what he did wrong. He could have at least made a mature decision to call off the trip by talking about it then us making the arrangements together. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Life goes on and I grew from the experience. :-)

Everything about the trip becomes so vivid when I tell it and replay it in mind. There is more that happened from Georgia getting back to Texas but I guess I'll write a part two if anyone ever asks for it. Thanks for reading all the way through! Please share any thoughts, I'm willing to reply back to any questions! Take care and stay healthy!
submitted by travestytrev99 to offmychest [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…6

Continuing.
After the third pony keg of beer was delivered, it was decided that the next few days would be spent in the conference room discussing what we thought was the best way forward.
We wanted dry-erase boards so we could start taking detailed notes, even though I was well ahead of the curve in that regard. We instead ended up with some mobile elementary-school blackboards and a pile of grainy, sooty chalk.
Leave it to Dr. Cliff to go into a discourse on the genesis of chalk and its economic importance.
Bloody carbonate geologists.
Bloody White Cliffs.
We geologists need to punctuate their conversations with pictures, so these would suffice quite well.
At 1700 hours, the official end to the workday was called; we’d meet here again tomorrow. I’m not certain by whom, but it was readily agreed upon. We were more or less on our own until 1000 the next day. I needed to spend some time in my room with my notes and update a number of dossiers, field notebooks, and other items I was using as a running chronicle.
Several folks decided to invade one of the hotel’s restaurants for dinner. Some wanted to head to the casino, a couple wanted to get a massage, and others wanted to do what tourists are normally wont to do on the second day of being a foreigner in a foreign land.
I declined invitations to dinner and other activities, as I had a long writing session in front of me. I wanted to get this all in its proper place while the memories and notes were still fresh.
30 minutes later, in my room after a 25-minute wait for the elevator; I’m updating dossiers, creating several new ones, and updating my field notebooks. Suddenly, after an hour’s work, I notice something is amiss.
“I don’t have a drink or a cigar,” I said to the four walls. “This. Will. Not. Do.”
I was used to Happy Hour in Russia. Happy hour is slightly different; there are no ice cubes or orange-peel twists in the vodka. Also, it lasts all day.
I remedy that situation by finding and clipping a nice, oily oscuro cigar and digging the bourbon out from under my boxer-briefs in my dresser drawer. I heft the bottle and feel that it’s significantly lighter than when I left it last night. I happen to look in the trash can and spy the wrapper for a box of my festively colored Sobranie cigarettes I obtained back in Dubai.
“Hmmm”, I think, “It would appear that we have some light-fingered Cho Louies or No Louises around here. I’d best guard my supplies a little more securely.”
I move all my smokeables into one of my now emptied aluminum travel cases. They lock with the stoutest of combinations and it will be readily apparent if anyone is fucking with them.
I move some of my best booze into the pretty much worthless in-room safe. With a deft application of duct tape, I seal the safe. It may not be the most secure spot on the planet, but if anyone tries anything troublesome, they’ll leave an immediately recognizable record of what they were up to. It’s just too obvious; they’d have to be crazy to go in after anything inside there.
My money, keys, and passports are in the safe deposit box down in the lobby that the hotel supplies for visiting dignitaries. Even so, they let me keep my shit in one of them anyway.
That handled, I spend another hour writing like a madman. I suddenly realize I’m tired of all this and need a diversion as well as some food and, of course, drink.
30 minutes later, I’m down in the byzantine basement tunnels of the hotel. It’s crowded with hordes of Chinse tourists, and the casino is ground zero for the incredibly loud chatter.
I look in on the bowling alleys all three of them, and they’re full. The massage parlor is hopping, although I leave my name and they promise they will call over the PA when a suitable masseuse is available. Evidently, I ‘intimidate’ some of the more demure ones.
I wander over to the bar, now there’s a surprise, and see it’s packed to the rafters as well. I decide to wait for a seat to open up on Mahogany Ridge when there’s some gargling over the PA and a pair of Chinese nationals leave the bar in great haste.
I grab one of the two newly open seats, much to the chagrin of a couple of Oriental Unidentifiables (OU) who had their eye on them as well.
“Sorry, mate”, I said, “First come, first served. It’s the capitalist way.”
One of the pair grabs a seat and the other just stands there, looking annoyed unspent bullets in my direction. Forget that I’ve literally twice their size and could be an aberration as an angry American. They just order a couple of drinks, and content themselves in giving me dirty looks and probably say nasty things in their own indecipherable language about my national origin and familial heritage.
As if I gave the tiniest of rodental shits.
I fire up a cigar, as literally everyone else in the joint was smoking something more or less tobacco. However, there was a definite barnyard aroma, a regular Dairy Air, in the room. I think some of what was being smoked there was more bovine or equine in origin than botanical in nature.
With numerous hilarious attempts at Korean, pointing at a garishly photographed drinks menu, I was finally served a cold draft house steam porter and 100 milliliters of probably ersatz ‘Russian’ vodka, vintage late last Thursday. This bartender that could at least form some of the phonemes found in American English. A few. A definite few.
Since it all cost the equivalent of US$0.50, I really didn’t care.
Apparently vodka helps flowers last longer when they're dying. But you can put vodka in anything and it'll make it better.
Being a trained observer, I rather enjoy just sitting in any old bar, smoking my cigar, drinking my Yorshch, and watching people. I try and not be intrusive and I never eavesdrop, but I like to try and think of what strange set of circumstances brought us all here together in this place at this time. It gives me writing ideas, some of which I jot down in a notebook I always carry. It also gives me a good shot of nostalgia when I look back at something I wrote some 40 or so years ago.
Yeah, old habits do die hard.
I take a drag off my cigar and set it in the ashtray in front of me on the bar as I go to correct another egregious misspelling in my notebook. I have to immediately proofread what I wrote, or I’d never recall later what the fuck I was trying to convey; especially if it’s in a noisy, smoky, or murky milieu.
Quicker than a bunny fucks, Unidentifiable Oriental #1 (UO #1) deftly reaches over, snags my cigar, and helps himself to a few mouthy puffs.
I look at him, the empty ashtray directly in front of me, him again, and then UO #2.
Since I speak no real Oriental, much less Korean, language, and my Mandarin at this point is worse than laughable; I just point to the cigar, turn out my hands and shrug my shoulders in the international “What the actual fuck, dude?” gesture.
He just smiles a gappy, toothy, and snaggle-toothed at that, grin at me and makes a point of ensuring that I see him enjoying a few more drags on my own damned cigar.
Not able to contain myself any further, I venture a “What the fuck, chuckles? That’s not your fucking cigar.”
Like gasoline being tossed on a fire-ring full of embers, they both go unconditionally incoherently insane.
Yammering, chattering, jumping up and down, and getting right into my face. They wanted me to unquestionably understand that my few words of English insulted them far more than their filching of my $20 cigar.
OK, I’m pretty well trained in Hapkido; an oddly, given the present situation, hybrid Korean martial art. I’m at least 6 or 7 inches taller and who knows how many stone/kilos/pounds/Solar masses heavier than these two clowns. I could easily go all Gojira on their hapless asses and mop significant expanses of the floorboards with them.
Instead, I look around for the bartender. I figured since I was keeping him well supplied with Korean won via tips, and he spoke some English as well as perhaps whatever the fuck these characters were chattering; maybe he could get to the bottom of what was happening.
The bartender walks over and I ask him to ask the two unidentifiable twins why they stole my cigar.
He nods in agreement and goes on in whatever the fuck dialect was being used today by the pair.
“They say they wanted it. So they took it.” They ask, “What are you going to do about it?” the bartender relates.
I deftly reach inside my field vest, as everyone concerned ducks and covers.
I extract two fresh cigars; not a .454 Casull Magnum.
I give one cigar to the bartender and one to OU#2.
“With my compliments.” I pleasantly say.
I was well apprised of the fact that in certain places like this, the local authorities often approach foreigners with, for the lack of a better term, ‘Agents Provocateur’.
Like the Westboro Baptist “Church”, they try to get a rise out of you so you’ll lose your cool and either create a scene or take a poke at the miscreant. Then they have all the pretext they require to drag you to the local hoosegow, shake you down for every penny on your person, as well as any phones, notebooks, wallets, passports, cigars, cigarettes, etc.
Basically, they goad you into a fight, then drop the thousand-pound shit-hammer when you retaliate.
It’s all so parochial. So obviously clear as vodka; this elementary charade only raised a single eyebrow.
I’m not going to even raise my voice over a couple of cheap cigars that neither of them noticed I slipped them instead of the premium ones I was smoking.
Thus defeated, I asked the bartender to ask them if they liked the cigar.
“What do you think?” I asked in cordial English, “Too tightly rolled? Not caged enough? Too green?”
UO #2 slipped and said “It smells very good…” where he realizes he’s blown his cover.
“Yeah, I like it too.”, I replied, “So much so, I buy my own. What are your badge numbers, boys? I will be reporting this incident to Inspector P'aeng Yeong-Hwan, the head of security for the IUPGS conference to which I was invited as special scientific consultant.”
Of course, they immediately dummy up and feign illiteracy.
I say loudly and very clearly, “You bastards aren’t gonna get away with this. I mean, what is going on in this country when scumsuckers like you can get away with trying to sandbag a Doctor of Geological Sciences?”
I ask the bartender to translate, but alas, it was too late. They vamoosed when I turned to talk with the bartender.
They left so fast, they didn’t notice me snapping their pictures with my ancient but trusty Nokia 3310, revised edition, during our little chat. Even with a mere 2-megapixel picture, I have enough to show the North Korean leaders of the project to get an identification and make known my displeasure of being treated like some commoner or buffoon.
They left both my cigar and the one I gave them. The bartender tucked the cigar I gave him into his pocket and stared lustily at the two remaining on the bar.
“Take’em”, I said. I sure as fuck don’t want them. “Just a clean ashtray and a refill, if you would be so kind,” I say, as pleasantly as possible, considering the situation.
Both the unsmoked and my smoldering, as well as well-traveled, cigar disappear as quickly as minks rut. A clean, new ashtray, double beer and ‘vodka’ suddenly appear.
“No charge, Dr. Rock”, the bartender grins, as he shoves my erstwhile high-mileage cigar between his teeth.
“OK, fair enough.”, I say, “Spaseebah.”, and deposit a raft of won on the bar. The pile won’t be touched until after I leave in a few hours’ time.
“Stranger in a strange land.” I muse over a couple of further beers.
The call from the massage parlor never came, or it did and I couldn’t hear it over the clamor of the casino. I went up to the hotel’s Korean restaurant; had some salty soup, a sad, sad salad, and some form of funky fish, I think, for dinner. I retired that night in a slightly foul mood.
I called Es then the next morning and caught her before she retired. With a 14 hour difference between us, I was getting up at 0700 and she was getting ready to hit the hay at 2100.
I told her of the events of the day previous, and she was glad she wasn’t tagging along. She would have never accused the Korean geologists of being behind the times and would have probably bent the guy’s nose that swiped my cigar.
Agreed, that she’d probably be unimpressed with this place. I promised her that we’d go on a holiday when I returned from all this. It would be up to her to find out ‘where,’ and I’d supply the ‘when’ when I could.
Everything else was going along smoothly, more or less, on the home front, and I didn’t want to give the local listening-in federales too much to say grace over, so we said our parting admirations and rang off.
Shower, shower sunriser of real vodka and citrus, a quick brush and comb, and spiff of cargo shorts and new ghastly Hawaiian shirt; 30 minutes later, back down in the restaurant for the inevitable breakfast buffet.
After what some would consider breakfast and others would consider a vague attempt at nourishment, we reconvened in the conference room precisely at 1012.
Nothing like precision with this group.
We spend the next two days going over, in various groups, what we think would be required to set forth proper the quest for oil and gas in North Korea on track. Everyone got in on the act, and we advocated for that. We needed everyone’s input to make this happen. Or to even map a way forward to present to country officials. Those from the West on what was needed and those from the East to tell us what was available, and the combined wetware to make what needed to be done happen with what existed.
It took no small amount of doing, but we secured a set of maps that covered the entire country. We were watched very closely by the shiny suit squad that we did not copy, photograph or otherwise take any extraneous information from these sheets of infamy. All other maps in the country were intentionally skewed, with errors deliberately added in to confuse “interlopers, spies, or other personas non grata”.
I made a massive stink and told them that if we didn’t receive the unfuckered maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery pronto, we’re packing up and leaving that afternoon.
“We don’t have time for monks resisting the carnival. We didn’t come here to try and guess if the maps are correct or if our remedies will actually work on maps that say one thing and reality says something else entirely.”
They hemmed and hawed, but as I made the announcement to all before lunch that if the real maps didn’t appear by the time we returned from tiffin, we’re gone.
And we take tiffin purty durn early round these parts, buckaroo.
No one was surprised as I when we returned and there were folio after folio of government-uncensored maps, photos, and imagery for our program. I guess they finally reasoned it would be a relatively good idea to begin to take us seriously.
We spent one whole day just going over our field geological apparatus. They had a good idea of how to use a direction-finder compass and Jacob’s staff to measure sections. However, they were totally flummoxed by our Brunton Compasses, GPS systems, curiously referred to as ‘position finders’, notebook mapping applications, and electronic data storage and retrieval systems.
Gad. It was like being back in the 1970s before PCs were a glimmer in IBM's corporate orbs.
We spent the next week working to bring our less fortunate colleagues up to, well, not date, but at least up to the brink of the 21st century. We explained that plate tectonics, continental drift, and the precession of the continents was accepted geoscientific principles, not some arcane Capitalist or Socialist plot to undermine the quality of science in the east.
Yep. It was that mindset we had to first conquer. I think we’ve made great headway in that direction today.
The next Chautauqua session had us split up into two separate groups. We decided in a fit of Cesarean inquiry to ‘divide and conquer’. There are two distinct milieus which are able to contain economic deposits of hydrocarbons: onshore and offshore.
Instead of attacking both head-on, we’d focus initially on the offshore domain. Once we had a good handle on what was going on under the East Korean Sea, the Huangai (Yellow) Sea and surreptitiously, the South Sea; we’d collaborate our findings and work to tie them in and extend them onshore.
The singular Phyongnam Basin is the one large depositional, sedimentological, and structural basin in North Korea. It is filled by the Joeson and Pyeongan Supergroups of sediments, which are Cambro-Ordovician and Permocarboniferous, respectively. These are good hunting grounds for oil and gas. Could be elephant–hunting country.
But before we could undertake that, we had to get ‘back to basics’. That is, we had to understand and delineate the ‘frame’ of the Korean Peninsula. In other words, we needed to figure out how and when the peninsula came into existence.
South Korea’s geology is much more complex, fortunately than that found in the North. There were nasty side comments that were due to the relative development not of the geology, but of the geologists who studied each country’s geology.
It was, perhaps, a mean way of characterizing the situation. But, unfortunately, it was also probably fairly accurate.
The Korean Peninsula is characterized by huge massifs, which are sections of a crust that are demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole. The term also refers to a group of mountains formed by such a structure. It’s basically one huge, semi-resilient rock.
The basement rocks of the Korean Peninsula consist of high-grade gneiss and schist, Paleoproterozoic Precambrian massifs, which formed in the early stage of Earth’s history. These rocks are unconformably overlain by metasedimentary rocks; schist, quartzite, marble, calcsilicate, and amphibolite, of the Middle to Late Proterozoic. The Korean Peninsula is floored by a collation of about five of these huge Precambrian massifs that acted like ‘microplates’ during the aggregation of the peninsula. These massifs consist of thick dolostone, metavolcanics, and schist, which were intruded by Paleoproterozoic granites.
These Paleoproterozoic metasedimentary and granitic rocks underwent repeated intracrustal differentiation, followed by the events of cratonization, i.e., regional metamorphism and igneous activity, at 1.9-1.8 Ga. Sediments deposited in the peripheral basins during the Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic lead to stabilization as the basement of the peninsula.
These early depositional basins formed the locus of deposition that continued on from the Proterozoic through the Phanerozoic. There are at least three, perhaps four, depositional basins in the south which are delimited by structural zones, such as the South Korean Tectonic Line (SKTL), a huge zone of continental transform faults and forms the basis of boundary demarcation between the Okcheon and Taebaeksan basins.
The boundary between the Seochangri Formation of the Okcheon Basin and the Joseon Supergroup of the Taebaeksan Basin in the Bonghwajae area is a thrust (or reverse‐slip shear zone). This thrust is presumably a relay structure (i.e. a restraining bend) between two segments of a continental transform fault (the South Korean Tectonic Line or SKTL), along which the Okcheon Basin of the South China Craton was juxtaposed against the Taebaeksan Basin of the North China Craton during the Permian–Triassic suturing of the two cratons.
In the late Proterozoic, sedimentation was initiated in basins of the Korean Peninsula, accompanied by deposition of siliciclastic and volcaniclastic sediments as well as carbonates. The massifs were submerged in the Early Paleozoic during a greenhouse period, forming a shallow marine platform and associated environments.
The Cambrian-Ordovician succession unconformably overlies Precambrian granite gneiss. It consists of mixed carbonate-siliciclastic rocks of sandstone, shale, and shallow-marine carbonates. Sedimentation was initiated in the Early Cambrian with a global rise in sea level on the stable craton of the Sino-Korean Block.
There was a major break in sedimentation during the Silurian and Devonian periods in the entire platform. During the Carboniferous to early Triassic, sedimentation was resumed in coastal plain and swamp environments with progradation of deltas.
Major tectonic events were initiated in the Triassic when the South China Block collided with the Sino-Korean Block. The eastern part of the Sino-Korean Block rotated clockwise and moved southward relative to the South China Block along the SKTL.
In the Middle-Late Jurassic, orthogonal subduction of the paleo-Pacific plate under the Asian continent caused compression and thrust deformation. A number of piggyback basins formed along the thrust faults in the east of the SKTL. At the same time, the entire peninsula was prevailed by granite batholiths, especially along the northeast-southwest-trending tectonic belt.
In the Cretaceous Period, the paleo-Pacific Plate subducted northward under the Asian continent, forming numerous extensional (left-lateral strike-slip) basins in the southern part of the peninsula and the Yellow Sea. A large back-arc basin was initiated in the southeastern part.
In the Paleogene, both the volcanic arc and the back-arc basin ceased to develop, as volcanic activities shifted eastward, accompanied by a rollback of the subduction of the Pacific plate. In the Miocene, pull-apart (right-lateral) basins formed in the eastern continental margin.
The Korea Plateau experienced continental rifting accompanied by extensive volcanism during the extensional opening of the southern offshore basin. It subsided more than 1000 m below sea level.
So, as South Korea was mix- mastered by a half-a-billion years’ worth of structural tectonism, which created several depositional basins quite capable of generating and storing economic quantities of oil and gas, the scene to the north was much more quiescent.
The North was composed, from south to north, of the relict Imjingang Belt, which was an old back-arc basin between the Gyeonggi Massif to the south and the Nagrim Massif to the north. It is a paleo-subduction zone, full of volcanics, volcaniclastics and other non-hydrocarbon bearing rocks. It was mashed and metamorphosed, and basically forms a convenient boundary between the complex geology of the South and the more relaxed geology of the North.
Heading north, we come across the Pyeongnam Basin, the only North Korean basin thus far defined that could contain hydrocarbons. Further north is the huge Nangrim Massif. It’s a huge block of igneous and metamorphic rocks that weather very nicely and form some spectacular scenery, but from an oil and gas economic outlook are worthless.
Offshore North Korea, there are two possible petroliferous basins. The offshore West Korea Bay Basin and East Sea Basin, along with five onshore basins could be offering exploration potential. At least ten exploration wells have been drilled in the West Sea, with some showing “good oil shows” along with the identification of a number of potential reservoirs.
The West Sea potentially has oil and has reportedly flowed oil at reasonable rates from at least two exploration wells when they were drilled and tested in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the East Sea has seen Russian exploration efforts previously including the drilling of two wells, both of which reportedly encountered encouraging shows of oil and gas.
Onshore, there has been little exploration to date, apart from efforts by the Korean Oil Exploration Corporation and also recently by Mongolia’s HBOil JSC (HBO). Among five main onshore sedimentary sub-basins, the largest is south of the capital; while unconfirmed reports point to a 1-trillion-cubic-foot (tcf) discovery in 2002.
Historically DPRK was thought to consist of five under-explored geological basins, the
• Pyongyang,
• Zaeryong,
• Anju-Onchon,
• Gilju-Myongchon and
• Sinuiju, Basins.
These basins are all located more or less along the coast, rather than inland. This also points to a certain degree of geological aptitude; as it’s much easier to explore along the more populated coast than it is to venture inland. There may be more hiding in the interior of the country, it’s just that no one’s looked as of yet. That’s difficult. Exploring along the coast is much easier.
With 3 basins supposedly proven to have working petroleum systems; 22 wells have been drilled and the majority are said to have encountered hydrocarbons with some wells testing production at 75 barrels of oil per day of light sweet crude oil. This has yet to be documented or confirmed by the Korea Oil Exploration Corp (KOEC), North Korea’s state-run oil company.
Yeah, our work was definitely cut out for us.
It was decided that a series of excursions offshore in one of the few remaining seaworthy, which was a real judgment call, KOEC seismic boats would be appropriate. The one we received use of was an old, decommissioned Chamsuri-class patrol boat, one Chamsuri-215(참수리-215), PKMR-215 in particular.
It had been basically stripped to the gunwales and completely retrofitted as a seismic acquisition and recording vessel. It had been renamed: “조선 민주주의 인민 공화국 영광” or “Glory of Democratic People's Republic of Korea Science”.
In reality, it was an aging rust-bucket piece of shit that might have possibly seen better days but wasn’t letting on. All the military nonsense, except the powder magazine, had been removed and a new superstructure consisting of slap-dash hunks of poorly-welded low-carbon, cold-rolled steel were erected to form a pilothouse in the area where the bridge once existed. They also built, extra haphazardly, a shooter’s room, galley, cold and wet storage areas, recording room, and storage of tapes and the extra bits and pieces needed for a none-too-extended stay on the sea. It was, being charitable, almost utilitarian.
They could not make their own water, so trip times were limited to about three days in length. Besides, they didn’t really have a hot galley, so it was cold, canned Chinese chow for the next 72 hours. They had a couple of fairly sturdy yardarms with heavy winches to handle the towed seismic arrays of geophones, which were of ancient heritage and showed it. These were probably appropriated back in the 80s or perhaps earlier when they first thought about opening their waters for seismic exploration.
They ‘borrowed’ most of the sensing and recording equipment back then from oilfield service companies and simply forgot to return it once finished. Since they burned that bridge so glowingly, they couldn’t get parts nor service when things failed. Being delicate seismic sensing and recording equipment, fail they did.
So, we had to use what was leftover, or what DPRK industries could cobble together, or what could be salvaged from salt-water drenched recording equipment that hadn’t been too heavily cared for over the span of the last 50 years.
We weren’t terribly optimistic.
So, we load the good ship ‘Rorrypop’, as Viv christened the thing, and head out to the wilds of the Yellow Sea. It was an abbreviated foreign crew, as there was really nothing other than upchuck and curse me soundly for insisting the non-geophysical scientists came along.
Aboard were the two geophysicists, naturally; Volna and Activ. I was there stick-handling the logistics and hoping to help out with the geophysical signal source explosives.
Morse and Cliff, the two other geologists accompanied us on the trip, and Dax decided to go with me as he figured I’d have access to the best booze no matter where we went.
The remainder of the team, the geochemists, Erlan and Ivan, the geomechanic, Iskren, the PT, Joon, and the two REs, Viv and Grako, remained behind onshore at the hotel. They set forth cataloging what data was available; from what sources, it’s vintage, veracity, and usefulness.
Augean tasks, both. Not as fecaliferous as Hercules’ jobs, but still, they held their own rations of shit for each sub-team.
Heading seaward, the Yellow Sea extends by about 960 km (600 mi) from north to south and about 700 km (430 mi) from east to west; it has an area of approximately 380,000 km2 (150,000 mi2) and a volume of about 17,000 km3 (4,100 mi3).[4] Its depth is only 44 m (144 ft) on average, with a maximum of 152 m (499 ft). The sea is a flooded section of the continental shelf that formed during the Late Pleistocene (some 10,000 years ago) as sea levels rose 120 m (390 ft) to their current levels. The depth gradually increases from north to south. The sea bottom and shores are dominated by sand and silt brought by the rivers through the Bohai Sea and the Yalu River. These deposits, together with sand storms are responsible for the yellowish color of the water referenced in the sea's name.
Being shallow, the Yellow Sea is more perturbed by the frequent seasonal storms of the region. The area has cold, dry winters with strong northerly monsoons blowing from late November to April. I was told that the summers are wet and warm with frequent typhoons between June and October; but now all we had to contend with were swelling seas, spraying saltwater, waggling waves, and a shivering, shimmying ship.
All the navigation, communications and other shiply duties were being handled by both members of the DPRK Coast Guard Auxiliary, mostly older guys who were of great and high humorous jest; and an actual pleasure to be around. They were like their scientific cadre on this cruise, basically a political ‘give a shit’ attitude, and a desire to get the job done, smoke the American’s cigars and drink as much as we could get away with.
The scientific portion of the cruise was being undertaken by students of the various universities and members of the North Korean national oil company. The demeanors of these characters ranged from extremely earnest and stringently North Korean politically correct in the students and academicians, to a more relaxed ‘yeah, let’s just get the fucking job done so we can have a lot of drinks’ sort of view of the older members of the DPRK scientific team.
It was a fun admixture of cultures, ages, professions, and behaviors.
Oh, forgive me for forgetting to mention our ‘guides’, or handlers. They were also chosen, nay, ordered to come along. Landlubbers all, they were less than thrilled with the assignment and inevitable seasickness; which seemed endemic to those of Oriental extraction on the cruise. However, our guides did enjoy drinking. As we learned that alcohol is a central part of Korean culture, and they encouraged us to socialize with them when the time was appropriate.
Or, not appropriate, as I was being denounced by one of the geophysical students after only a few hours into our very first day. Hell, we weren’t even in the Yellow Sea proper. We started here at Pyongyang, down the Taedong River, over the Giva Dam, through Pushover, across Shmoeland, to the stronghold of Shmoe; into the very belly of the frothing Yellow Sea.
Most everyone, other than the foreign elements on board, were either making the trip in the bowels of the ship; nursing and cursing seasickness; or by rail, doing exactly the same thing.
“Chum it over the side, ya’ blinkered mucker!”, I admonished one bottle-greenish national. “This ain’t the Captain‘s mess, Chuckles. You have to clean up your own spew!”
I was reveling in getting back out on the water and regaining my sea legs. I never get seasick.
Never.
Ever.
Be it a seismic vessel in the heaving Arctic Ocean, a pirogue in the swamps of Louisiana, my cousin’s fishin’ johnboat back in northern Baja Canada, a US nuclear submarine under the permanent pack ice of the North Pole, or VLCC in the Straits of Somaliland; I just don’t get seasick.
Airsick? Nah. Carsick? Nope. Ready to puke in a Hind-20 over the Caspian Sea during a strong local thunderstorm? Close, but no cigar.
So, I’m doing a Titanic scene recreation. Up in the very bow of the craft, standing in stark defiance of the gusting winds and blowing salt spray, smoking a huge cigar, and totting out of one of my emergency flasks while trying to hang on to my Stetson. I am also endeavoring to remain upright, field vest and really, really ghastly Hawaiian shirt billowing in the breeze.
I’m not certain if it was the cigar smoke, the wind-whipped beard, and hair, the give a fuck attitude, or the flapping of the Hawaiian shirt to which the little local geophysicist objected. But he was pissed. Olive-green with seasickness, rubber-kneed but still standing a good social-distance away, reading me the riot act in high-pitched Korean.
As I usually do in such delicate situations, I just smile and wave. Show them I’m mostly harmless and they either cool down or get pissed off even more and stomp off in disgust.
Either one was a winning situation for me in my book.
So, I return to doing my ship’s figurehead imitation and revel in the wind, spray, and feeling of really being booming. Sure, some might complain of the cold, but not me, the sting of the salt-spray or the windburn; but I eschew what most people enjoy as ‘normal weather’. I live for pushing the boundaries. I love rough weather and situations that thrust the edge of the envelope further past normalcy.
Besides, we were still in sight of land. Hell, if everything went south at this very minute, one could practically walk back to shore. I can hardly wait to see what these wigglers will do if a night storm comes up when were 100 or more kilometers from land.
The boat’s thrumming heavily from both the thrust of the Soviet-era diesel engines and the craft’s bludgeoning its way through the waves. Most hull designs are so the ship will ‘cut’ through the surface waters. This craft’s flattened trihedral hull design didn’t so much ‘cut’, as ‘slam’ it’s way through. The boat would then crash up one side and smash down the other of each large wave we encountered. The boat would shudder whole, adding a new note of resonance along with the monotonous one-note song of the aged Russian diesels.
The spray would fly, the boat would convulse, time would seem to freeze until we bashed into the next wave. The captain of the vessel took his orders very seriously. “Get to coordinates XXX and YYY by the most expedient means possible.” If that meant charging, full-throttle into the teeth of the oncoming monsoon-force wind while we were traversing the worst kelp jungle I’ve seen this side of the Sargasso Sea; well, piss on it, full steam ahead.
“Fuck it”, I thought, “Not my pony, not my show. Let’s see how this plays out.” While I light a new cigar and search for Emergency Flask #2.
After I’d been upbraided by the geophysical student for transgressions still unknown, Cliff and Dax wander out to ask me what the hell I was up to.
“Have you gone completely barmy?”, Cliff asked. “It’s a full gale out here and you’re standing in the teeth of it like it was a warm, sunny Sunday in Piccadilly.”
“Nope, not at all”, I replied, “Just reveling in the delights of an angry atmosphere.”
“He’s nuts, I told you”, Dax smirked, “He’d go anywhere and do anything to have a cigar.”
“Not just a cigar, me old mucker”, I smiled and waved my second emergency flack under his nose.
“Figures”, they both respond in unison.
Dax departs and returns mere seconds later with paper Dixie-style cups he liberated from the ship’s one head. We are going to do our very best to extend the lifetime of the onboard water supply for our scientific and military friends. I pour them each a cup full.
“Whoa, Doc”, that’s gotta be 100 milliliters!” Cliff objects.
“As the Siberian saying goes: One hundred versts, roughly a hundred miles, is no distance. A hundred rubles isn't worthwhile money. And a hundred grams of vodka just makes you thirsty. Prosit!” I say in reply.
We retire to the overhang on the fantail of the boat. It’s a sunshade and keeps the worst of the weather out for the lightweights on the cruise. I decided we’d withdraw there to keep these Dominionites out of the worst of the wind and sea spray.
“Rock”, Cliff notes, “You are a complete throwback. You do not belong here in the 21st century. You need to find a way back to the Calabrian and ride herd on the continental Neanderthals. Give them the gift of distilling and tobacco agriculture, and you’d reframe the world.”
Dax agrees, but notes if I do find a way back, he and Cliff would be selected against.
“Good point”, Cliff agrees. “Rock, stay here. We need your expertise now more than ever. Plus your ready supply of strong drink and cigars.”
“Glad to know that I’m truly appreciated around these parts.” I chuckled slightly acridly.
“Ah, Rock. Buck up. You know we’re only takin’ a piss.” Cliff says.
“Aim it starboard. Don’t want it blowin’ all over the seismic gear”, I reply, laughingly.
The trip continued, and I found a not-bolted-to-the-deck chair and moved it outside under the shade back by the boat’s fantail. I refreshed my emergency flasks and replenished my cigar supply. I’m not about to sit inside and listen to the wails and gnashing of teeth of the landlubber crowd, the patter and timor of the geophysical throng as they titter and argue about array design, nor the military hut-hutting all over the fucking boat.
A couple of times, one or more of our ‘handlers’ would venture out as I had the only supply of readily available smokeables and drinkables. Oh, we had food, lots of beer, soju, some knock-off vodka, and some of that faux homebrew bourbon for later once the workday was declared over; but for now, I was the one and only dispensary.
We’d have some random chats while they screwed up their courage to ask me for a smoke or a tot of drink. I brought several bundles of really cheap-ass cigars for just such occasions; besides, I figured one of my Camacho triple-maduros would have them chumming for the remainder of the trip. I had also many, many cartons of Sobranie pastel-colored cigarettes, and many more cartons of knock-off Marlboros I bought at the duty-free when we hit town.
It was chucklingly funny to see these harsh, military, no-nonsense characters walking their duty beats smoking pastel green, lavender, and mauve cigarettes.
We got bogged down a couple of times when one or more of the ship’s twin screws fouled with kelp as we tried to put some distance between us and the shore. Each time, one really dejected low-ranking young Coast Guard character would go over the side with a rope around his waist and a knife in his hand to free the props. I was going to object as this was moronically dangerous; but, again, not my pony, not my show. This called for full proper tethering and SCUBA gear.
They had neither aboard.
Welcome to the wonders of a centrally planned economy.
To be continued.
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The Buffet @ The Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino Lake ...

This is a tour of a King Room at the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Bossier City, LA. Nice room, pool was good, Casino was ok. I enjoyed the Margaritaville Ca... Come join us as we explore the buffet at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana for our 100th vlog on YouTube. At $36.99/person, find ou... during our stay in Lake Charles, LA casino. This feature is not available right now. Please try again later. Horseshoe Bossier Casino & Hotel 4 Stars Hotel in Bossier City, Louisiana Within US Travel Directory Located off I-20, this resort hotel features an on-site casino, health spa and luxury shops. Megan and I headed to Shreveport, Louisiana for one night to gamble at the Eldorado Casino and Resort. We can only say good things about the hotel and casino... Welcome to Ultimate Travel Adventures, ALL travel, ALL the time! Staying at Harrah's Casino Resort in New Orleans, Louisiana was a luxurious experience! Just... A very small section of Clyde Fant Parkway. This road runs for several miles along the Red River. There are lots of trees and open spaces. Also a nice frisbe...

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