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Since 1994, this is the 1162nd issue of Randy Cassingham’s...

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18 September 2016: TRUE's 'Audacious' New Goal Copyright ©2016

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Worth a Revisit: When is the discriminatory treatment of women not really discriminatory? A thought-provoking story (with ever-so-slightly “unsafe” for office environments photos) from 2005: Gender Discrimination.

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires: A 26,000-acre wildfire last year in Douglas County, Oregon, was traced to two men who were using power mowers despite restrictions on their use, due to extreme fire conditions. The fire took a month to extinguish. And, state law says, Dominic Decarlo, 70, and Cloyd Deardorff, 64, who have already paid minor fines for unlawful entry into a restricted forestland area, also have to reimburse the state for the firefighting costs, including firefighter salaries, helicopter and bulldozer time, and everything else involved in the effort. How much? Despite a year of tallying, the state doesn’t know yet, says Jeff Bonebrake of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. “We could get finalization in the next several weeks or a few more months.” But so far, the tally is more than $37 million. (RC/Portland Oregonian) ...Plus interest.

Bunker Mentality: Police in Houston, Texas, raided a bingo hall in an underground bunker, which police say looked like a “doomsday shelter.” Investigators found $87,000 in cash, body armor, and plenty of guns and ammunition. “Enough, what I would consider, to start a small war,” said Lt. Ruben Diaz of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. “This is one of largest seizures of guns I’ve seen in one particular spot.” Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson was particularly shocked by the ammo cache. “Like a whole table this length filled with ammo boxes that were full of all caliber, including 50 caliber,” he said. “I mean, when do you see that?” (RC/KHOU Houston) ...When you look into pretty much any underground “doomsday” bunker in Texas.

A 23-Day Tour: Access Gallery in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, organized a “23 Days at Sea” residency and put artist Rebecca Moss on a boat — the Hanjin Geneva, a freight vessel belonging to Korean cargo company Hanjin. But the company went bankrupt, and ports decided not to accommodate its ships anymore. So there was Moss, at sea. “I can’t begin to describe how it feels to look out the window,” she wrote in an email, “and see a huge stack of containers, surrounded by miles of ocean in every direction, and realize they don’t actually have a destination.” And it wasn’t just the containers: she and the crew were stuck in the water, with no place to land. Eventually they were allowed to dock in Tokyo, Japan, just two days after they were supposed to have reached Singapore. (AC/Vancouver Sun) ...Thus canceling any plans for a sitcom.

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Florida Man Arrested for trying to cash $1 Billion bond (even though none that large have ever been issued). Man arrested after painting a dog purple (and it wasn’t even his). Man robs bank and waits for police: he’d rather be in jail than live with his wife anymore. Domestic violence cause: wife buys pork chops, he wants chicken. Why woman decides to take goldfish to the vet, and pay a massive bill for its treatment. Sex offender uses Walmart as his home address (and sheriff says it’s “not illegal.”) Extra stories are just part of what you miss by not having a subscription to the full edition. See your upgrade options here, and stop missing most of the good stuff!

Orange is the New Dumb: Weare, N.H., was hit with a crime spree: orange plastic flamingos were stolen from front yards all around town. People had bought the flamingos as part of a fundraiser to support Abby VanDyke, 12, who had been diagnosed with leukemia. “Orange is the color of leukemia awareness so rather than typical pink flamingos, we chose orange,” said Kim Mucci, one of the creators of the fundraiser. After the theft, Weare police Lt. Frank Herbert posted on the department’s Facebook page: “I am very interested in speaking with the person or people who have stolen a number of Abby’s flamingos!” At least one of the thieves responded. Police found a lone flamingo on the side of the road next to several trash bags containing another 15 flamingos. Police also received an anonymous letter. “We are truly sorry for our actions and had no idea what the flamingos on Colby Road symbolized,” the letter said. “We would have never taken them.” A “small donation” was also included with the letter. (MS/NH1) ...Police are trying to identify the sender of the letter so they can send them their flamingo.

Unconstitutionally Vague: Legislators in Arizona apparently wanted to toughen up the law on the sexual abuse of children, and made it illegal to touch a child’s genitals or anus, or a female child’s breast area, even if they don’t have them yet. The state’s supreme court has upheld the law, even though it makes it a felony to change a child’s diaper, or for a doctor to examine or treat illnesses in those places, because unlike every other state, Arizona’s new law doesn’t make “sexual intent” a factor — any touching in those places whatever is punishable by years in prison. The supreme court says the intent of the legislature is clear, and it’s not their job to fix the law. Their ruling notes that “prosecutor[s] are unlikely to charge parents, physicians and the like when the evidence demonstrates the presence of an affirmative defense.” In other words, rather than the state having to prove intent, parents and doctors will have to somehow prove they didn’t have improper intentions. (RC/KSAZ Phoenix) ...You know who needs to be more intentional? Voters.

Watch Your Step
Denver Dog Park Closed over Too Much Poop
KDVR Denver (Colo.) headline

Did You Find an Error? Check the Errata Page for updates.

This Week’s Contributors: MS-Mike Straw, AC-Alexander Cohen, RC-Randy Cassingham.

If You Think the Story “Unconstitutionally Vague” is an overreaction, consider that about 90 percent of convictions in the United States are now gained by plea bargain: throw a heinous charge at someone that has the potential of many years in prison, and suddenly a year in jail looks appealing (no pun intended), even if you’re totally innocent. An Arizona lawyer goes into more detail in a blog post, Prosecutors Would Never Do Something Like That. His conclusion: “The [state supreme court] majority’s opinion can really be summed up as ‘just trust [prosecutors].’ Given the sad reality of how things work here, that’s a terrifying proposition.”

To get wider distribution, that’s the “Story of the Week” posted on Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing.

There Was Some Pushback on a tagline for a Premium-only story last week (the story is with the post). But the single letter I got in support of the tag outweighs 100 times the negatives I got. The result in a short read on my blog: That Tagline is Insensitive.

Last Week, I Noted I Had a High-Risk (but “audacious”) goal for True — and came up with a way to take most of the risk away.

The Goal is This: I want to be able to have only one edition of True — Premium — and everyone would get it on a “Pay What You Want” basis. I think that could do several things: bring in more financial support, since the “free” edition readers might pitch in something; the “free” publication would be more compelling with more stories, just as Premium readers see every week, and thus grow; and (the big one): If True is changing even just a corner the world for the better (and I think it is), then let’s expand the audience to have a bigger impact. Imagine if more people actually thought before acting! That, after all, is True’s mission, and it needs a bigger audience to counter the growing ...well... stupidity in the world.

The risk, of course, is what happens if that doesn’t work? That instead of getting more support, Premium subscribers stop paying because they get the whole thing for free? I certainly know many will continue to support it, because quite a few of them already pay more than the asking price because they believe in the mission and want to support it. But if there are not enough to balance the other side, well, then the publication could, and probably would, fail. There may be no way of going back in time to save it: I’d have to go get a job or something to pay my mortgage.

To try it with much less risk, I’ve set up a secondary support pillar for those of you who do want to push toward reaching that goal. Don’t care? Don’t want to do that? No problem: stay on the regular subscription program. For those of you who do want to try reaching that goal, I’ve set True up on Patreon, a “crowd funding” site designed especially for creative endeavors. Unlike sites like Kickstarter, which try to get new products off the ground with a one-time funding target, Patreon allows for more consistent, ongoing funding: patrons provide funding either every month, or every project (such as, every time a new music video is released). I’ve chosen the monthly option, since obviously True consistently comes out weekly.

The beauty of it is, if enough people sign on, even modest contributions multiply out to provide truly meaningful support. There are multiple funding levels, starting at $2/month, and corresponding multiple “reward” levels. Once the “crowd” meets the ongoing dollar goal, it triggers some benefits for everyone, not just those who contribute. Unlike product crowd-funding, there’s less risk: there, if the project fails, you’re out the money and don’t get the product. (Whoops! Too bad!) With Patreon, if I don’t produce, you simply stop your pledge, and it’s over.

My Patreon campaign has several steps:

  1. At $1,000/month, the remaining ads disappear from the True web site (I’ve been experimenting with non-Google ads, and they are helping bring funding) — with the exception, of course, of Patron badges and links, which are available at certain pledge levels.
  2. At $2,500/month, the free edition gets the full text of the Honorary Unsubscribe, rather than having to click a link and go to the web site to read it.
  3. At $5,000/month, ads disappear from the free newsletter, too (with the same exception).
  4. And at $10,000/month, the “free” distribution gets the Premium edition every week.

“What If” after that, the support level drops below the goal amount? Then the free list goes back to the truncated newsletter (just 5 stories, vs. the “at least 10” of Premium), or ads reappear, or whatever.

Do I expect readers to pledge on Patreon in addition to having an existing Premium subscription? NO! I’m not “expecting” anything. If you do pledge at a level that includes Premium, those who already have Premium will stop getting renewal notices, but there’s no “must” or “expect” here: it’s simply a viable way to try to meet the goal I’ve been thinking about for two-plus years now.

The Flip Side to those potential negatives though, is what if this does work? Then I get to spend much less time on marketing and promotion, and will thus have more time to do what I do best: write. I have articles I want to write, such as the one I’ve mentioned before about parents teaching their kids about “the real world” by reading True to them; I want to explore that, but haven’t had time to do it yet. I have book ideas I want to pursue, such as a deeper exploration of Zero Tolerance, and (yep!) an all-Florida story book. And more: I have the ideas, but not the time to accomplish them because I spend so much time just keeping the basic publication going.

The Amazing Thing is, I’ve not announced this yet, except to one small group: the This is True Community members — the “Super Premium” effort I launched last year. (That’s about to be revamped to simplify it dramatically.) But an amazing portion of that very small group have already jumped in: a dozen Patrons who have signed up at $4 to $100 a month! None of them have even gone for the lowest level yet.

So with that introduction, here’s the link so you can take a look at the fun video I made, the “Reward levels” offered, and a completely transparent look at what’s being pledged by the patrons: This is True on Patreon.

Note that no matter what the level, you can raise the actual dollar amount. For instance, there’s no $5 level, but you can click $4 and edit it to $5, if that’s your desire.

The whole thing doesn’t really launch until October 1: to simplify things, they charge Patrons’ cards on the first of each month.

Thanks, and let me know what you think: this is on my blog, at This is True on Patreon and comments are open.

P.S.: You might wonder why the numbers on True’s “transparent” Patreon page don’t quite add up: as of this writing, the 5 paying $4, plus 3 paying $7, plus 2 paying $15, plus 1 paying $30, plus 1 paying $100, equals ...$181? What the heck? Well, in addition to credit card charges, which naturally come off the top, Patreon itself charges a modest 5 percent to run the whole thing. So they expect, if everyone comes through with their $201 worth of pledges, True will actually net around $181.

Ten Years Ago in True: Woman is desperate to not be a virgin when she turns 30, so naturally.... F Seeks M (and be sure to scroll down to the update).

This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to Haakon Sørbye. What would you do if your schooling was interrupted by a Nazi invasion? Well, here’s what Sørbye did....

  • Read his story in the Archive: Haakon Sørbye (OK to share link)
  • And So Long to actress Charmian Carr, best known for playing the “16 going on 17” Liesl von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965), dead September 17 from a “rare form” of dementia at 73.
  • Honorary Unsubscribe Archive

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