FIB, Quentinsburgh Police, QUARTA, investigating after death threats toward President Rosenthal broadcasted over the loudspeakers and displays of a Line 3 train

BREAKING NEWS

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA- 4:10am: The Freedemian Investigation Bureau (FIB) and the Quentinsburgh Metro Police Department (QMPS) are investigating an incident on a QUARTA train yesterday evening, after the displays and loudspeakers on a Line 3 QLine Metro train began broadcasting threats and warnings towards President Angela Rosenthal as it pulled into the Capitol Mall/National Court station, the closest station to the Executive Residence.

Reports from police and witnesses say that around 10:26pm, as the local 3 train was pulling into the station, the loudspeaker began crackling and the displays on the front, sides, and insides of the train glitched and turned bright orange as if rebooting. After that came about five minutes of cryptic text, including the phrases “hope you enjoyed your reelection, it’s your last term anyhow” and “here today Angela, but soon with the angels”.

Trains were backed up for around a half-hour during the initial confusion, but QUARTA rerouted all Line 3 and Capitol Shuttle trains onto the express tracks and announced that trains would be skipping the stop until around 6:00pm Saturday evening to give the police and the FIB the chance to fully investigate to make sure that there’s no threat to the safety of the riders.

“So far it appears the displays were somehow hacked from the outside. No one operating the train or its displays/loudspeaker were responsible for the incident”, Police Chief Henriette Martina explained to reporters. “But this is going to require a pretty thorough investigation.”

“We’ve had incidents where displays have been glitchy before, and even one or two dumb pranks like the incident last baseball season when some kid made the display of a Capitol Shuttle say ‘Qburgh Quails are looserss heh get rekt noob subscribe to my TubeMe’, but never anything like this before,” Lenny Grent, with the technology support and IT division of QUARTA, explains. “It’s only happened with someone editing what the displays say like twice since we created the newer systems 10 years ago, and usually things so minor that it wasn’t worth investigating too deeply. We honestly didn’t expect something this serious to come up. I believe we fixed the initial glitch and vulnerability on most newer displays, but this was a renovated Q500 train and I think it’s using one of the early display systems, which might be part of the problem.”

President Rosenthal was recently reelected, and still maintains a near-record approval rating of around 80%. The seeming lack of enemies or disapproval makes the incident even more odd in the eyes of many. But security will be high near the Capitol Mall in the coming weeks as the investigation continues.

Vice President Patrick Houser and Vice President-Elect Katherine Nelzer are expected to give a joint speech later today addressing the cybersecurity state of Freedemia and what they’re getting ready to do to address it. While the whole plan is still in progress, currently there are plans to send a bill to the legislature by February that completely overhauls the military to include major cyber security provisions and departments instead of a focus on land/sea/air combat.

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QUARTA, QDOT announce beautification project for the “Rail Wall” near Hayes University, taking suggestions

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIAQUARTA and the Quentinsburgh Department of Transportation announced today that the “Rail Wall”, a commonly cited eyesore in the Hayes neighborhood in south central Quentinsburgh, will be undergoing a beautification project within the next 2 years, and that they are taking suggestions for ways to make the area special.

The section of track “affectionately” known as the “Rail Wall” stretches from Freeman Square Mall in downtown to Hayes University’s campus, and is mostly next to Freeman Road around QMedCtr Warren and Railroad Street (named after the railway, who’da thunk it) just south and west of the main part of Hayes University.

Sketch of the Rail Wall (2)
Location of the “Rail Wall” in Quentinsburgh, generally defined by the area where the tracks for the 4, 4x, and CS are directly above the tracks for the 7, 7x, 14, 14x, AX and the freight/commuter tracks.

Below grade in a sort of ditch along most of the rail wall are FreedemiRail and freight tracks, making most of the roads passing by bridges over the ditch. These tracks had been there before the QLine subway was built.

The wall part is an interesting aspect that comes from the metro, not the freight tracks- there are two very large elevated structures for the QUARTA QLine Metro immediately above the freight/FreedemiRail tracks, as QUARTA used the existing tracks’ right of way.

The first structure, built one level above street level and two levels above the freight tracks, today houses lines 7, 7x, 14, 14x, and the AX (Airport Express). It was originally built for the second branch of the then QUARTA Red Line Subway back in the early 1950s. It being such an old structure, one of the oldest metal elevated structures in the system, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as many later structures, though some locals have some affection for the rustic burgundy steel.

The second structure, built one level above the tracks for the 7, 14, and AX, houses lines 4, 4x, and the Capitol Shuttle. Constructed in 2015 as a pre-Pancontinental Games extension of the 4 and 4x was completed, it was controversial at the time of building, and in many ways still is.

The decision to extend the 4 and 4x was made back in 2005, originally just planned as an extension running roughly under 9th Street connecting to the Freeman Square station (7)(7x)(14)(14x). However, demand from Hayes University students who wanted a better connection to the 2, 4, and 5, pushed for the extension to reach all the way to campus. This forced QUARTA to build a section of track essentially parallel to the existing tracks because the capacity of one set of tracks was roughly three major lines. Eventually, the Capitol Shuttle would also be extended to the campus, and both lines would share the new structure and terminate at Thurman/Hayes University (4)(4x)(7)(7x)(14)(14x)(CS)(AX).

With the new structure being nearly brand new, more design and decorative thought went into it and it is generally seen as more aesthetically pleasing than the older structure below, and renovations to the stations on the older platform have made them fit with the historical architecture of the neighboring campus . However, the two structures together still make up a 3-4 story wall of train structures- which most living in the area consider an eyesore.

Sketch of the Rail Wall
A sketch of the “Rail Wall” near the Hayes University campus. The multiple structures and levels are visible here.

A couple ideas have come in so far. One suggestion included murals of the Hayes University campus and the Hawks mascot and other artwork. Another was just to do cosmetic work to the structure and build a shell that fits the campus and neighborhood’s architecture better. A third one suggested plant walls on both sides of the tracks.

Whatever designs are chosen, the design will be split into two spaces with differing themes, one to reflect the Hayes University campus, and the other to reflect the Warrens Square neighborhood. QUARTA and QDOT will continue to take suggestions through the end of the year.

Franklin’s Supermarket announces closure of all international locations, but All-n-One locations will not be affected

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA: Franklin’s LLC’s  CEO Kenn Franklin III announced today that the company will be shutting down all international locations of Franklin’s Supermarket, citing attempts to take the supermarket model international a near universal failure compared to the success of sister hypermarket All-n-One.

“Our All-n-One stores have been nearly universally successful, even competing against major mainstays in other countries, similar to how Mariana’s Gigante competes with All-n-One in Freedemia. And the All-n-One stores are still expanding. All-n-One has been a bigger success than we ever would have imagined when we experimented with the original All-mart back in 1983.”

“Franklin’s… hasn’t seen the same success. On any scale. The only country Franklin’s has been truly successful in is Freedemia. Several countries have had all locations shut down, and at this point we’re left with like two or three locations in Khaiwoon. It’s economically pointless to keep going down this path when it’s clear that the Franklin’s model has internationally been a giant failure.”

As of January 2018, all Franklin’s locations outside of Freedemia will be closed down, and no future locations will be opened outside of Freedemia.

All-n-One will continue to maintain all existing international locations and take opportunities to expand internationally, with part of the hope being that the Urban Market and Community Market formats may help reach areas that the Franklin’s model originally targeted (and failed to succeed in).

“We hope that as All-n-One’s smaller models like All-n-One Urban Market become more mainstream worldwide, that maybe we’ll see more success with All-n-One expanding to certain target areas than we have with Franklin’s.”

 

After a close election, President Rosenthal reelected Freedemian president by a landslide in runoff, Nelzer takes VP seat

QUENTINSBURGH- After what had proven to be a very close general election, President Angela Rosenthal officially keeps her place as the president of Freedemia through 2022 with an overwhelming win over former Tweetbook CEO Katherine Nelzer in the runoff election.

Rosenthal got a whopping 68.1% of the vote, over Katherine Nelzer’s 31.9%. These are numbers rarely seen in runoff elections between two popular candidates. In her last runoff against Tom Morganson, Rosenthal had only won 49.9% to 49.3%.

2018 Runoff Election (1)
The official results of the runoff election. Incumbent President (and President-Elect) Angela Rosenthal won with over 2/3rds of the vote, an overwhelming win. Nelzer got second place and will serve as Rosenthal’s new vice president come January.
2018InitialElection
Original general election results. Nelzer had barely edged out Rosenthal in the general, but lost by a landslide to her in the runoff. This is common in Freedemia- Rosenthal’s own election in 2014 saw her jumping from a 2nd place finish in the general to a 1st place finish and the presidency in the runoff.

Nelzer was happy with the results. “I highly respect President Rosenthal, and I greatly look forward to working with her. This was never about kicking her out of her office, it’s just about building on her amazing progress with fresh ideas to move Freedemia forward, and I believe I’ll be able to do that as your next vice president.”

Rosenthal’s reelection isn’t exactly surprising- she received the highest approval rating of any president in the nation’s history back in August 2015 with a 95% approval rating, and has consistently hovered around 80-90% approval through her term.

Due to Nelzer winning 2nd place, current Vice President Patrick Houser will serve one of the shortest vice presidencies in Freedemian history, having only gotten elected in very late 2015 to fill a vacant vice presidency seat. He is actually largely popular among Freedemians, with roughly a 79% approval rating, but wasn’t able to beat out the wave of popularity that pushed Nelzer forward during the campaign.

“I wasn’t able to make it into the top two. It’s disappointing, but I’m just glad I had a chance to serve. Besides, Nelzer shares a lot of the plans and ambitions I had to begin with, so I’m confident it will work out.” Houser also stated he plans to “eventually run for something” back in his home city Franklinsburgh.

Tweetbook CEO Katherine Nelzer, Incumbent President Angela Rosenthal, take 1st, 2nd place in 2018 Freedemian Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- The official results of Monday’s election for 2018 Freedemian President have come in after a complete hand vote to check against the digital vote was completed.

Tweetbook CEO Katherine Nelzer came in first place with 31.8% of the vote, with incumbent Angela Rosenthal coming in second place with 29.9% of the vote. The two will have a runoff election on Saturday, November 4th to see which “winning candidate” gets the role of president and which candidate becomes the vice president.

2018InitialElection
Results of the 2018 Freedemian Presidential Election. Nelzer and Rosenthal move on to a runoff election for the President seat (runner up becomes vice president).

Incumbent Vice President Patrick Houser had a strong showing, with 23.4% of the vote, and Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington’s controversial campaign did quite well considering, raking in 13.8% of the vote in a very difficult field of candidates. Economist Derrick Barson, despite having dropped out, got about 0.8% of the votes, with Actor Craig Schulderman (who had also dropped out) snatched up 0.1% of the vote.

Some of the remaining 0.1% or so of votes were scattered among many, including a couple familiar names like temporary security committee leader Marco Nelson and Graham State Executive Diane Wooten-Whitaker, both of whom ran for the vice presidential seat in 2016.

Runoff for the “top of the ticket”- Possibly a very tight race

Even just looking at the numbers at face value, it already looks like a close race. Nelzer won 1st place with only 1.9% more of the vote than Rosenthal received.

However, there’s also another factor that makes this even more open to change- with the runoffs, the voters who voted for someone other than Rosenthal or Nelzer will have to choose between the two. With the exception of Barson’s 0.8% that would likely go to Nelzer, there’s about 38% of the votes cast that acts as a near tossup.

Complicating matters further, earlier polls and exit polls imply VP Houser took a massive amount of votes from Rosenthal, considering he presented himself as the other experienced candidate as the current Vice President, and those votes could be enough to sway the election in Rosenthal’s favor. Add onto that the fact that polls showed among all voters 89% strongly trusted Rosenthal’s leadership and 92% believed the country was moving forward under her lead, and Nelzer could be facing a perfect storm.

Rosenthal and Nelzer are both widely popular, and it’s going to be extremely close. With that many votes up for grabs, there is no guarantee that Nelzer will retain her narrow lead.

Meet the last 2 candidates one last time:

Incumbent Angela Rosenthal is currently one of the highest esteemed presidents in Freedemian history, and was the favorite for reelection early in the campaign. Her moves to make citizenship easier to obtain for law-abiding individuals and families; her spending reallocation act transferring money from military spending and elections to healthcare, infrastructure, and education; and her pushes for Freedemia to take its stand on the global stage in technology, innovation, and tourism have been huge steps forward for the country. Rosenthal is actually the reason for the shorter campaign period, as she pushed for election reform earlier in her term including a drastic reduction in funding for campaigns.

Katherine Nelzer has become a familiar household name. Founder and CEO of the social media site TweetBook, Nelzer has become more politically outspoken in recent years, especially pertaining to the growing global cyber-security threat. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. “A pacifist society can still be a secure one. Cyber warfare is a thing, and we need to be prepared.”

Nelzer also believes that in this changing society technology is key. She supports Houser’s pushes for things like nationwide wifi and data, and, like Barson, believes incentivizing the tech industry could be one of the most important moves to help make Freedemia even more of a world leader. She cites Stepstone Technology and BuyGolly.com as two of the successes she hopes to see repeat in tech innovations nationwide, and hopes, like Houser, to see Freedemia become a champion of smart cities as a global example. Nelzer is open to the concept of public-private partnerships to fulfill the infrastructure and technology plans, with the goal of shrinking the government and further growing the economy.

Both candidates have announced plans to move forward with ideas proposed by Patrick Houser, including large investments in green infrastructure and modern solutions for renewable energy such as wind turbines, water turbines off the coast, solar farms, more desalination plants, and lining motorways with solar panels and wind turbines.

PWN Politics- Recapping the events leading up to Monday’s Freedemian Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- Here’s a recap of the events that led up to Monday’s election.

September 5th, 2017- Schluderman drops out, endorsing Nelzer. 5 candidates remaining in the race

Actor and comedian Craig Schluderman dropped out of the race Tuesday with a television and auto phone call announcement endorsing Katherine Nelzer.

September 15th, 2017- Freedemian legislature decides to delay the election two Mondays while they discussed a bill for Ranked Choice Voting in National Elections

QUENTINSBURGH- Seemingly out of the blue, the House of Populus decided to finally take on a bill proposed many times before to save the country money by incorporating ranked choice voting into presidential elections, thus eliminating the top 2 runoff. Due to possible conflicts of interest with both President Rosenthal and Vice President Houser running for president, the House of Decisions voted for the bill to be able to pass if both the House of Populus and the House of Equal Representation passed the bill with more than 65% of the vote.

September 17th, 2017- Poll released shows Clarington taking votes from Houser, Rosenthal and Nelzer neck and neck, Barson stagnating at 3%

QUENTINSBURGH- Getting closer to election day, in early September, a poll released showed that with Nelzer and Clarington gaining more support, Houser is starting to struggle, dropping into third place.

meta-chart (13)

September 19th, 2017- Freedemian legislature votes to delay voting/discussion on the bill until after the general election but proceed in January with goal of approving Ranked Choice Voting for all future elections, ending the Freedemian tradition of runoff elections

QUENTINSBURGH- A resolution passed with 44 out of 47 Poplators and 32 out of 33 Representatives, stating that Ranked Choice voting is worth moving forward with at a later time for the 2022 election, but that due to possible conflict of interest with the election having been so close, they would delay moving forward with crafting the full proposal until January under the new president.

September 22nd, 2017- Oddly no campaign events scheduled for Barson, raising suspicion that he may be dropping out

FRANKLINSBURGH- Several news outlets observed that the newest press releases for Barson didn’t actually have any public events planned. Often in the past this has been a sign that a candidate is strongly considering dropping out of a race and endorsing an opponent.

September 27th, 2017-  4 candidates remaining, as Derrick Barson drops out

QUENTINSBURGH- Economist Derrick Barson dropped out of the race on Wednesday Sept 27th, announcing his decision at an event in Sean Bond Park in Quentinsburgh. He didn’t explicitly endorse any candidate in the race, but he did express confidence in Patrick Houser and Katherine Nelzer especially, based on discussions they had over various issues. “Both candidates have proven they are willing to work with private companies to stimulate the economy while also giving our country a 21st century infrastructure for the green and digital age,”  he mentioned in his speech. Barson also expressed confidence in President Rosenthal’s leadership, though he did express hope that she would consider the newer ideas her opponents have suggested. He also gave a shoutout to Clarington and Nelzer for being open to discussions about reducing penalties for victimless crimes in Freedemia.

September 30th, 2017- Last debate before election shows a strong showing by Clarington, but not enough for her to catch up- meanwhile in polling, Nelzer’s lead growing, Houser catching up to Rosenthal

meta-chart (14)

PERSONSBORO- The final debate showed discussion on the bigger issues such as infrastructure and military.

Clarington gained a lot of support on the military side- despite standing by her controversial 85% standing military reduction, she did express, for the first time, support for Katherine Nelzer’s drastic increase in cybersecurity measures and incorporating them under the military umbrella. “I don’t think Freedemia is threatened by actual physical military forces. We’ve pretty much successfully stayed out of combat for our entire lifespan as a country. But our lack of cybersecurity protections is a real threat that could destroy everything we’ve worked so hard for over the years. I’d be happy to have a large military if that military was focused on protecting our country in the digital age.”

Clarington even had something to add herself: “I’d feel it would be a good idea to also look into the threat of biowarfare and medical threats like viruses that could be spread by enemies. I don’t think it would be in our military persay, but it could be a major part.” Nelzer wholeheartedly agreed with the biowarfare consideration.

PWN Politics- New Polling shows Nelzer in second, Clarington jumps to 4th Place

TRENCHENT, FREEDEMIA- The 2018 Presidential Campaign is well underway in Freedemia, and the 6 official candidates are pushing themselves as why they should be the next president.

Polling had been pretty much stagnant since the first poll in early May. However, recent campaigning for two candidates seems to be paying off.

meta-chart (12)

A recent PWN Poll showed that after a month of hard core campaigning, Katherine Nelzer, CEO of TweetBook, catapulted into second, taking quite a few voters from Incumbent VP Patrick Houser. Incumbent Angela Rosenthal retained the lead, also taking some of Patrick Houser’s supporters. The biggest surprise was Lily Mae Clarington’s leap into 4th place, after having only 1.5% of the vote at the end of June. Craig Schluderman dropped to 2%, continuing his downward trend.

Nelzer seemed like a natural to take voters from Patrick Houser. Both have similar views and similar platforms, emphasizing innovation, health, infrastructure, education, and technology as the next steps. Nelzer, having been the founder and the CEO of TweetBook for several years, is pushing that she has more experience in leadership than Houser’s newscasting career provided him, despite him having served a year as vice president. Houser’s steep drop was a bit surprising, but it was expected that the two would be competing for votes, and it looks like Nelzer’s winning the competition.

Vandover mayor Lily Mae Clarington, after a month of nearly non-stop campaigning to clarify actual stances on things after getting the reputation of an unqualified unprofessional candidate due to her extreme focus on nude tourism and targeting the clothes industry, actually managed to bring up her poll numbers. She’s clarified that her belief in nude tourism is to increase revenue from other sources to fund infrastructure, healthcare, and education while lowering taxes, and that her push to take on “big clothing” is to help the growing small business world of clothes design, manufacture, and sales thrive. More professional presentation and less ranting in her campaigning in cities other than home Vandover has also made her appear more presidential.

However, that 10% for Clarington doesn’t seem to be entirely pushing for Clarington to win outright- Several Clarington supporters actually admitted that their hopes are to propel Clarington into the Vice Presidency, not make her president. About 43% of her supporters said that they believe other candidates might make better presidents, but that they believe Clarington needs to be in the presidential office to help influence the path of the country’s future.

Both Barson and Schluderman seem to have reduced their campaigning and spent more time advocating their ideas. It isn’t unheard of for Freedemian candidates to drop out of the race as long as they are confident their policies will be considered by other candidates. However, at this time there is no evidence either would be dropping out.