Hurricane Amelia, only miles from landfall, strengthens further; Congress approves aid package unanimously

Hurricane Amelia has strengthened even further as it approaches landfall in District 4, according to the Panem Weather Service.

The storm, previously recorded as having a wind speed of 175 mph 1-minute sustained winds and 899 millibars, now has been recorded at a 1-minute sustained wind speed of 200 mph and a minimum pressure of 872 millibars.

“It is without a doubt that this hurricane is incredibly dangerous, and should any citizen remain in the path of such a storm, they will die. If you haven’t evacuated, leave immediately,” said the Panem Weather Service in their advisory on the system.

It is predicted that Hurricane Amelia will make landfall later tonight without further intensification, but the Panem Weather Service says the threat does not end with landfall. They are urging surrounding districts, specifically Districts 9, 10, and 11, to be prepared for torrential rain, destructive winds, and higher threats of tornadic events.

Congress, in other news, has unanimously passed an aid package through both houses of the national legislature to the tune of $10.2 billion as requested by President Mellark. The money will go to District 4 specifically, with potential other aid packages considered as needed.

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Hurricane Amelia strengthens while bearing down on D4 coastline

The situation with Hurricane Amelia has only worsened in recent days as the storm has shown signs of strengthening.

Hurricane Amelia, the first notable tropical cyclone to threaten the nation of Panem in well over a century, was previously recorded as having a 145 mile per hour one minute sustained wind speed with a minimum pressure of 924 millibars. The storm at the time was around 300 miles from the coastline of District 4, sitting in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery of the hurricane triggered mass evacuations from District 4 due to the chance of catastrophic damage and potential fatalities.

Following the most recent observations of Hurricane Amelia, the storm has strengthened to wind speeds of 175 miles per hour sustained over one minute and a minimum pressure of 899 millibars. Researchers indicate that such wind speeds will result in such catastrophic damage that entire municipalities will be leveled, resulting in the displacement of millions of D4 citizens.

President Peeta Mellark in response to the crisis has established under the Department of the Interior the Panem Weather Service, which will function as a forecasting agency to predict not just hurricanes but also other weather events. He has also requested in advance of the storm $10.2 billion in recovery funding in order to aid District 4.

CONVENTION WRAP-UP: Civic convention unifies, Conservatives rally, and Centre begins its landmark journey

Today we will be wrapping up coverage of the final three conventions due to their overlapping timelines.


CIVIC CONVENTION:

Senator Quentin Kennedy accepts the VP nomination of the Civic Party.

Civic Party leaders and delegates met in District 6 to designate Senators Patrick Newsom (D3) and Quentin Kennedy (D6) as their standard-bearers for the upcoming election.

The convention served as a source of party unity following what was a brutally-fought primary for the presidency. Samuel Trenton, the defeated rival of now-nominee Patrick Newsom, introduced the senator and called him “one of the greatest leaders in this country’s history.” Former President and previous party leader Cecelia Paylor lauded Newsom and Kennedy with praise, declaring them “just what the party and this country needs at this tumultuous time.” The speaker list is below.

Speakers (Night One): 

  • Fannie Bush, actress (D2)
  • Kyra Close, candidate for representative (D1)
  • Nic Martel, candidate for representative (D7)
  • Walter Rigby, candidate for governor (D11)
  • Sawyer Coburn, businessman and candidate for governor (D9)
  • Raylin Kramer, senator (D6)
  • Quentin Kennedy, senator and nominee for vice president (D6)

Speakers (Night Two): 

  • Amelia Vance, representative (D10)
  • Valerie Wilkins, representative (D6)
  • Tom Dawkins, representative (D3)
  • Sadie Myers, former senator (D3)
  • Ivy Spellings, First Lady of District 3 (D3)
  • Bertram Spellings, governor (D3)
  • Russell Paylor, former First Gentleman of Panem (D8)
  • Cecelia Paylor, national security advisor, former President, and party founder (D8)
  • Samuel Trenton, former Cabinet secretary, former Speaker, previous VP nominee, and candidate for president (Capitol)
  • Patrick Newsom, senator and nominee for president (D3)

CONSERVATIVE CONVENTION:

Marvel Wheeler, D4 district representative.

Meeting in District 4, the Conservative Party convened their third quadrennial party convention. This year, however, brought a convention with new party leaders and a brighter picture for the Conservatives in comparison to last convention, where Rick Canth and Jackson Canth were nominated amid major disapproval and mass walkouts that resulted in an independent ticket.

Conservatives rallied around former Gov. Kaitlyn Jones and her running mate, former Sec. Delia Sutherland, declaring them “the only sane choices in this insane political world.” Notable absences included the Canths, but for good reason: Jones and Sutherland categorically denied their endorsements and declared the pair to be “persona non grata” in Conservative circles for their illegal actions. The speaker list is below.

Speakers (Day One):

  • Annise Byrd, district representative and candidate for governor (D6)
  • Marvel Wheeler, district representative (D4)
  • Cooper McPharlin, activist and candidate for governor (D1)
  • Regina Durant, businesswoman and candidate for representative (D13)
  • Julian Gibson, district representative (D6)
  • Belinda Copley, representative and former LG (D6)
  • Lynn Germaine, former Secretary of Intelligence (D4)
  • Robert F. Maxwell, businessman (D4)
  • Delia Sutherland, former Secretary of the Interior and nominee for VP (D4)

Speakers (Day Two):

  • Cam Bullock, district senator and candidate for representative (D12)
  • Victoria Warren, district senator and candidate for representative (D14)
  • Deon Masterson, district representative and candidate for representative (D15)
  • Kurtis Pierce, former Secretary of the Treasury and candidate for president (D2)
  • Jack Oliver, former Secretary of Global Development and candidate for VP (D11)
  • Carl Parsons, representative and former LG (D11)
  • Andrew Jones, former First Gentleman of District 11 (D11)
  • Kaitlyn Jones, former governor and nominee for president (D11)

CENTRE CONVENTION:

Senator Julie Roydon accepts the Centre Party presidential nomination.

The convention circuit ended with the Centre Party’s inaugural convention in District 13. The convention was a landmark for the fledgling party, which is currently in its first presidential election cycle.

The convention’s main goal was to display a conclusive vision for the Centre ticket, as the main attack that the Roydon/Christian ticket receives is a lack of clear goals for the nation. Speakers hit on a conservative economic policy, a liberal domestic policy, and a pragmatic approach to foreign policy. A speaker list is below.

Speakers (Day One):

  • Donald Beck, representative and candidate for governor (D6)
  • Stephanie Peters, representative (D15)
  • Lorrie Trent, district senator and candidate for representative (D1)
  • Glenn Beckham, actor and candidate for governor (D7)
  • Rachel Cross, district representative and candidate for representative (D15)
  • Adrianne Horsfall, representative and candidate for governor (D1)
  • Dillan Christian, representative (D10)
  • Matthias Christian, representative and nominee for VP (D10)

Speakers (Day Two):

  • Isabel Calhoun, representative (D2)
  • Natalia MacGregor, district senator and candidate for representative (D4)
  • Rita McDaniel, representative (D11)
  • Tim Coombs, representative (D1)
  • Brady Hanley, representative (D14)
  • Sextimus Dalton, former VP candidate, former representative, and former lieutenant governor (D5)
  • Clarke Randall, senator and Centre Senate Leader (D9)
  • Joseph Garrett, senator (D15)
  • Michael Roydon, husband of presidential nominee Julie Roydon (Capitol)
  • Julie Roydon, senator and nominee for president (Capitol)

Wilkie confirmed as AG; Erickson confirmed as SG

The Senate convened again today, finally confirming former D7 Senator Calvin Wilkie as Attorney General and former Attorney General Karina Erickson as Solicitor General.

The two nominations had been sitting before the Senate for weeks due to a summer recess following Judiciary Committee votes that had split on party lines.

Attorney General Calvin Wilkie, a former Liberty Party senator from District 7, was selected by the president in a surprise decision. Wilkie previously served as District 7’s Attorney General and as a federal attorney representing District 7 before running for senator, where he served until his nomination for Attorney General. Following his nomination, Wilkie resigned his seat in order to avoid what he called a “conflict of interest,” leading then-Solicitor General Jacqueline Warner to be appointed by Governor Mason Wallace as his replacement.

Solicitor General Karina Erickson was also considered a surprise pick for the office based on the fact that she served previously as Attorney General under President Katniss Everdeen (Liberty-D12). According to reports, President Mellark, Everdeen, Vice President Tarson, and Senator Warner all encouraged her to take the position despite Erickson almost turning it down. Erickson has had an accomplished career in law, serving first as a federal attorney over District 13, then as D13’s Attorney General, and of course as the Everdeen administration’s Attorney General.

Alexandra West confirmed as Associate Justice, succeeding Malcolm Lowell

Alexandra West was confirmed today as Panem’s newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, succeeding the late Malcolm Lowell. She will be the second person to serve in that seat after Lowell.

West also resigned from her position of Attorney General following her confirmation. This now allows for confirmation hearings to begin for Calvin Wilkie, President Mellark’s nominee to replace West at the Justice Department. Wilkie previously served as senator of District 7. His resignation as senator, ironically, led to another series of appointments. His successor in the Senate was Jacquelyn Warner, who had to resign her post as Solicitor General in order to take office as D7 Senator. This led to Karina Erickson, a former attorney general, being named Solicitor General. Wilkie’s hearing will occur on Monday, with a recommendation vote from the committee on Tuesday. Following that, Erickson’s hearing will begin.

The vote tally for West’s confirmation is as follows:

Voting aye (25): Bass (Lib-D1), Benson (Lib-Capitol), Briscoe (Lib-D7), Debroff (Lib-D11), Delacruz (Lib-D5), Delsont (Lib-D11), Descoteaux (Lib-D14), Ellsworth (Lib-D3), Folsom (Lib-D8), Garrett (Centre-D15), Hampton (Lib-D2), Harrison (Lib-D4), James (Lib-D2), Oppenheim (Lib-D13), Quaker (Lib-D12), Qurius (Lib-D5), Randall (Centre-D9), Roydon (Centre-Capitol), Sanford (Lib-D15), Talton (Lib-D13), Thibault (Lib-D14), Trent (Lib-D12), Wallace (Lib-D4),  Weston (Lib-D1), Wilkie (Lib-D7).

Voting nay (7): Canstrom (Lab-D9), Kennedy (Civic-D6), Kramer (Civic-D6), Newsom (Civic-D3), Richards (Lab-D10), Wallace (Lab-D8), Walters (Lab-D10)

SC nominee Alexandra West faces tough crowd at Judiciary Committee hearing

Attorney General and Supreme Court nominee Alexandra West faced a tough crowd at her confirmation with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The committee is comprised of the following members:

  • Hanley Trent (Liberty-D12), Chairman
  • Valère Descoteaux (Liberty-D14)
  • Sophia Delacruz (Liberty-D5)
  • Jacob Ellsworth (Liberty-D3)
  • Iris Canstrom (Labor-D9), Ranking Opposition Member
  • Patrick Newsom (Civic-D3)
  • Clark Randall (Centre-D9)

During the hearing, West was spared no verbal punches by the opposition, nor did her own party go easy on her. It is the first time in Panem’s history that a former Senate Judiciary member testified before the committee during confirmation proceedings.

Iris Canstrom, ranking member from the Red-Green Coalition, very openly attacked West for her previous time in the Senate along with her record as Attorney General. “Considering that you have made your career around controversial legal cases, some of which are ongoing, will you be able to rule impartially on cases that you feel strongly about or that you currently oversee at the Justice Department? Furthermore, in the latter case, would you seek recusal from such decisions as it would be nothing short of a massive conflict of interest?”

West responded sharply, as is characteristic of her. “I believe that Justice Thompson said this in her confirmation hearing, and I will say it again as it applies here: Everyone has a political bias. The issue lies with those who govern on that bias. If I feel strongly over a case, I will seek to familiarize myself with the case and its details. I will seek the truth of the matter. I will listen to both sides of the argument, as both sides matter in any legal matter. Regardless of what you believe of me, Senator, I am in charge of upholding the law. That does not mean that I am a partisan hack. It does not mean that I prosecute people for political purposes or because I’m a mean, bad person. I am simply making my decisions based on an impartial consideration of the facts and the law, which is exactly what a justice does. As for cases that I previously presided over as Attorney General, it matters in regards to degree of familiarity with the case. Should I have been directly involved, I would recuse myself. However, if it were something that my employees handled that I simply presided over, I may not need to.”

Senator Randall, a new addition to the committee and a well-known swing vote, noted that former President Rick Canth was appealing his conviction in a federal appeals court at the time of the hearing. “Ms. West, would you recuse yourself from this case, considering your previous involvement with the joint select committee that investigated the Canth administration that eventually led to his impeachment and conviction?”

West noted that while she served on the Senate side of that committee, “I did not have direct involvement with his impeachment. I served as a member of the body that was forced to make that horrid decision, but at the time of the convening of that committee, based on what we knew, we found no wrongdoing by the President. So, no, I believe there is not a legitimate cause for recusal in that circumstance.”

Senator Ellsworth, the junior-most Liberty senator on the committee, pressed West on her credentials. “Ms. West, I understand that you have spent the last three years of your life as the chief law enforcement officer in the nation of Panem. I understand that before you entered politics, you were a very successful trial attorney. However, as anyone could contest, serving as an attorney does not necessarily mean that you are qualified to be on the Supreme Court. How can you assuage our concerns over a perceived lack of experience, considering as the last two nominees for the Court were previously judges?”

West replied, “Prior to the creation of the Supreme Court, not one of the future justices served as any judge. Under Snow, no fair judges were appointed. As such, every one of the seven justices, which was further expanded to eleven, had served as a judge in any formal capacity. This includes Justice Lowell. While he was a fantastic attorney, he had no judicial experience. And yet, over 21 years, he proved that judicial experience is not necessarily required. What is required is a sound legal mind, which I promise I can provide. While I may not have had the honor to have served on a bench as of yet, that should not disqualify me as there is longstanding precedent in Panem’s history that some of our best judges have had no judicial experience at all.”

Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Judiciary Committee voted to recommend Alexandra West to the full Senate for a complete vote. The committee vote tally is below.

Voting aye: Delacruz (Liberty-D5), Descoteaux (Liberty-D14), Ellsworth (Liberty-D3), Randall (Centre-D9), Trent (Liberty-D12)

Voting nay: Canstrom (Labor-D9), Newsom (Civic-D3)

 

President Mellark formally asks Congress to allow intervention in Greece; Congress approves

Following this week’s nuclear debacle in Greece, President Peeta Mellark (Liberty-D12) formally asked Congress to approve articles allowing for an intervention in Greece.

Earlier this week, it was determined that nuclear weapons previously controlled by the rebel Greek military had become unaccounted for. Since then, it has been determined that while the Greek military was in the process of moving the stockpile under the possible intent of using the weapons on their own, several nuclear weapons were misplaced in the process and fell into the hands of terrorist organizations. It is currently unknown which organization has the nuclear weapons.

Congress easily passed the articles allowing for an intervention. The House passed the articles by a vote of 134-66. The Senate vote tally is below.

Voting aye (24): Bass (Lib-D1), Benson (Lib-Capitol), Briscoe (Lib-D7), Debroff (Lib-D11), Delacruz (Lib-D5), Delsont (Lib-D11), Descoteaux (Lib-D14), Ellsworth (Lib-D3), Folsom (Lib-D8), Hampton (Lib-D2), Harrison (Lib-D4), James (Lib-D2), Oppenheim (Lib-D13), Quaker (Lib-D12), Qurius (Lib-D5), Randall (Centre-D9), Roydon (Centre-Capitol), Sanford (Lib-D15), Talton (Lib-D13), Thibault (Lib-D14), Trent (Lib-D12), Wallace (Lib-D4),  Weston (Lib-D1), Wilkie (Lib-D7).

Voting nay (8): Canstrom (Lab-D9), Garrett (Centre-D15), Kennedy (Civic-D6), Kramer (Civic-D6), Newsom (Civic-D3), Richards (Lab-D10), Wallace (Lab-D8), Walters (Lab-D10)