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Ben last won the day on March 15

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About Ben

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    Master of the Weird and Unspeakable
  • Birthday November 17

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  1. I'm feeling a bit under the weather today, but mostly back from this.
  2. Ben


    Approval Rating Postscript: Is California a Microcosm of a Larger Battle? When polling the popularity of US Senators across the country recently, one common thread across many states with Democratic Party US Senators was a real struggle to find a balance within the growing ideological duels within their own party or otherwise members willing to simply draw a line in the sand. Nowhere is this more evidence than in the State of California, where both of the state's Senators have been subject to Presidential buzz and are currently embroiled in growing neighborly feud with one another. Although she doesn't totally fit the progressive mold, with more hawkish approach to foreign policy at times and having faced a lot of criticism for her initial outreach on a bill dealing with the divisive "Mexico City Policy", Catherine Williams has started to find some real support among social media-friendly younger and progressive voters due to her outspoken nature which seems to court controversy. Her approach has often been blunt, and her rhetoric on the poverty gap, race relations in this nation, and taking on the more traditional liberal elements in her party such as Joe Dotson of Washington have won her just as many admirers on the movement left as they have stern critics both within her party and beyond from moderates. In the latter group, many point to her strong opposition from the left to TANF Reauthorization (joined by fellow emerging progressive voice in the Senate, Randy Rivera of New Mexico) which most of her own party supported and her roundly criticized moment on the Senate with Rutherford Kong, an African-American Republican from Rhode Island, which many saw as her challenging him on his "blackness" as examples of her being outside the mainstream within her own party. However, with the much more enthusiastic left-wing in the aftermath of the 2016 elections and the 2018 midterms that saw several notable examples of a new generation of progressives ascend to Congress, she has also found an increase of followers who ascribe to the idea that the left needs their own blunt-force personalities to take on President Trump and the Republican Party.  Martin Arroyo on the other hand, couldn't strike much more a different figure if he tried. Vocal but more cautious with his word, critical against the Trump Administration but willing to compromise, Arroyo comes across very much as the type of center-left Democrat which dominated the party's leadership and public face throughout much of the Obama Administration for better or worse. Coming to prominence as one of the lead combatants in the battles with the former Attorney General whose resignation and followed not long after by the successful bid he spearheaded to bring the new Amazon HQ2 to his home city of Los Angeles has his star shining bright in the Sunshine State right now although with battle lines between his counterpart being drawn clearly and in public. Although broadly popular within the extended LA metro area, it wasn't long that Catherine Williams began to set her sights on Arroyo and the Amazon deal despite her early endorsement of a new HQ coming into California. Citing many of the same the areas of criticism that ultimately led to the original bid's failure in New York in regards to labor and business practices, Williams wasted no time attacking not only the decision but Arroyo himself for the way in which he handled the bid and the several other major cities in the state which were overlooked. Arroyo quickly shot back by both highlighting the previous endorsement of a California Amazon location by Mrs. Williams as well as promoting the estimated economic benefits the deal would bring to the state. While certainly the possibility of a Presidential primary showdown between the two has heightened tensions of late with their shared homestate being the biggest delegate prize, it also seems to act as a microcsm and the growing divides between insurgent progressives and more traditionally center-left Democrats in the country as seen on issues such as the Green New Deal, minimum wage increases, and the TANF re-authorization where some like Mrs. Williams, Randy Rivera and Senator Dave Bautista of New York have openly challenged perceptions of how statewide officials in their states traditionally carry and align themselves while the more entrenched traditionalists like Senator Arroyo, Joe Dotson of Washington, and Elizabeth Sawyer of Maryland are faced with navigating the landminds of becoming targets of their party's own left flank. 
  3. Gonna be limited for a fair amount of today due to social obligations.
  4. Ben

    AP Political Tweets

    According to sources within the office of newly elected Senate Minority Leader Joe Dotson of Washington, he has decided not to run for President in 2020.
  5. Alright player media folks (so basically, just @Christopher Williams and @Elkins right now), I've set up a subforum for you guys where the AB will sometimes feed some stories and scenarios that you can break as well as an official Quote and Reaction Request thread for player media so y'all won't send telegram messages to members of the AB at 2 AM looking for story quotes
  6. National and Congressional News 1. Senate Majority Leader Orson Wilder of Utah introduced legislation on behalf of the White House to ratify the USMCA, essentially a renegotiation of the divisive NAFTA trade agreement which was a central focus of President Trump's campaign in 2016 and of his Presidency thus far. Many early responses of Democrats ranging from Speaker of the House Trent Haynes to West Virginia Senator Andrew Swift and New Mexico Senator Randy Rivera, have largely been focused on wanting increased labor protections included in the agreement while there has been little Republican reaction outside of the SML himself at publishing time. 2. Senators Catherine Williams (D-CA) and Cassius McKnight (R-GA) have introduced an amendment to the Opioid Action Act currently being considered in the Senate HELP Committee which would authorize an additional $10 billion worth of funding over the next 10 years for various programs dedicated to addiction prevention and treatment. The Committee had previously approved an amendment, from New Hampshire Republican Emily Vincent, which struck the bill's proposed increases to maximum penalties for illegal distribution or manufacturing of Schedule II and Schedule III narcotics. 3. While awaiting a final vote count, a vote to censure Senator Rutherford Kong of Rhode Island seems poised to fail primarily along party lines with several Democrats either voting to abstain or against the motion. The censure motion came as a result of comments Senator Kong made accusing the Democratic Party of racism during debate of the Choices in Education Act which he later requested be struck from the Congressional record. 4. The ASFAJ Committee has begun voting as to whether to recommend the nomination of Attorney General-Designate Sarah Elizabeth Vincent of Michigan to the full Senate for confirmation. Vincent faced some tough questioning regarding the Mueller Report as well as the actions of her notorious predecessor by members of both parties on the committee, as well as outlining a judicial philosophy which many seemed to believe was fairly moderate in comparison to past Attorneys General in the Trump Administration. Judicial observers have largely given Vincent positive marks for her handling of the hearing, and no Senate Democrats have yet announced support or opposition to the nomination.
  7. Just so that nobody misses, the first set of Approval Ratings have finally been posted! I'm aware that some people were accidentally skipped due either to gaps in the roster which will be fixed or me just missing them in the process. Those will be added at some point tomorrow. If you have any questions or concerns about your numbers or analysis don't hesitate to ask me me either via PM or Telegram (preferably after noon EST on Wednesday though, this is my last thing for the night. Sometime in the next couple of days, I'll also put up some Generic Party Approvals, Executive Approvals, and some early looks at House Leaders approvals (due to how long it took to get the House set up, I'll take it easy on y'all this time, don't worry) and maybe a couple short follow-ups on some of the trends I noticed starting to develop as I was grading.
  8. Well obviously I don't have a character anymore, but this seems like fun, so I'll do it for the last character I had the chance to really develop and was in a round I wasn't an Admin in: Vice Abraham Saroyan (R-MT) Song: Red River Valley Musicians: Marty Robbins Glenn Miller Buck Owens Dean Martin Dave Brubeck Ralph Stanley The Carter Family Album: Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs by Marty Robbins Books: White Fang by Jack London Texas by James Michener Ask the Dust by John Fante Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson anything by Raymond Chandler the "George Smiley" series by John le Carre The Big Bounce by Elmore Leonard Movie: High Noon In a Lonely Place Pickup on South Street Advise & Consent Bridge on the River Kwai
  9. Ben


    Senate Approval Ratings: Q2, 2019
  10. Ben


    Semi-regular polling at its finest.
  11. I have updated the roster to the most current reflection of the player base, and I've also pruned out the players who have surpassed the 2 week inactivity period. Let me know if you're somebody I overlooked in putting into the roster, or if you or somebody in their party was removed for inactivity by mistake.
  12. Because a few of you have asked, yes ARs are in the process of being done, and yes they will be slightly late. The amount of material I had to wade through was a bit more than expected, and I got derailed by having to spend more time out of the house running errands today than expected, so probably expect them sometime Tuesday night (EST). On the plus side, the delay does mean that I can incorporate the Amazon bid results into the numbers for those individuals who participated.
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