Unity urged among Democrats

WASHINGTON – Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday urged party unity amid Bernie Sanders’ surge in the presidential race, even as House Democrats worry about a volatile election season that could put a self-described democratic socialist atop the ticket and threaten their majority.

“I would hope that everyone would say, no matter who the nominee is for president, we wholeheartedly embrace that person,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told the House Democratic caucus at a closed-door meeting. “We cannot show any division. This has to be about unity, unity, unity,” she said, according to a Democratic aide who attended the session. The aide was not authorized to discuss the private meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The urge for unity comes amid chaos at the Democratic Debates.

Down-ballot jitters are apparent as Sanders takes an increasingly commanding lead in early voting and withstands the constant pummeling by rivals who have been unable to slow his rise.

With South Carolina’s primary on Saturday, followed by the Super Tuesday contests on March 3, House Democrats are navigating how best to hold onto their seats while opponents try to lasso them to Sanders’ socialist label.

Many first-term Democrats are counting on their own well-crafted brands, not the party’s eventual presidential nominee, whoever that may be, to see them to reelection. The House majority was built by lawmakers who come from districts where President Donald Trump is popular, and his campaign operation will be turning out voters in the fall. But in a campaign cycle full of unknowns as the party tries to unseat Trump, they are relying on the backgrounds that pushed them to office in the first place to do it again.

“I will go into my race with the same degree of confidence, no matter who is at the top of the ticket,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, a freshman Democrat from a competitive New Jersey district who supports former Vice President Joe Biden in the primary for the Democratic nominee.

Malinowski said he will “absolutely” support Sanders if the senator becomes the party’s nominee. But the congressman said Democrats need to simplify their message and seize the moment with a candidate who can topple Trump. “Why we would risk this extraordinary opportunity by nominating somebody who has a tendency to divide our own side is beyond me,” he said.

Other Democrats, though, are more open about their fears of a Sanders nomination.

First-term Rep. Elaine Luria, who defeated an incumbent Republican in 2018 in a swing district in coastal Virginia, said a Sanders candidacy would be “incredibly divisive” and could endanger more centrist members of Congress like herself.

Her opponents are already trying to tag Luria, a former Navy commander and Naval Academy graduate, as a “socialist,” she said. Luria rejects the label as “ridiculous.”

“Bernie Sanders just adds fuel to that fire,” Luria said.

She has endorsed Biden but had praise for former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, calling both of them politicians who “build bridges rather than break them down.”

Hoping to propel Biden’s lagging candidacy in a state he has pledged to win, the No. 3 House Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, an influential leader and the highest-ranking African American in Congress, announced his endorsement on Wednesday.

Veteran Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said of Biden: “There’s not a congressional district in this country he couldn’t campaign in.”

Divisions run deep among House Democrats, whose primary preferences span the party’s ideological reach as a de facto big tent party, from the most liberal and progressive members backing Sanders to those preferring Biden, Bloomberg or the other more centrist candidates.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is one of Sanders’ most high-profile backers in the House. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., is a Sanders campaign co-chairman.

Many liberals say Sanders is the only candidate able to energize base voters and take on Trump. His commitment to curbing income inequality and his bold policy proposals, including “Medicare for All” and tuition-free college, are galvanizing voters, they say. They point to Sanders’ strong showing in Nevada as a snapshot of the coalition he could build nationwide against Trump.

Campaigning Wednesday in South Carolina, Sanders warned that a “conventional campaign” like Biden’s won’t defeat Trump.

In Tuesday night’s presidential debate, candidate Pete Buttigieg warned of the potential down-ballot consequences in Congress if Sanders won the nomination. Senate Democrats are struggling to flip the chamber from Republicans, who have a slim majority, while House Democrats are working to retain their advantage.

Pelosi said she thinks that “whoever our nominee is, we will enthusiastically embrace — and we will win the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.”

House Democrats hold a modest majority, and while Trump is eager to have his party in control of the chamber, House Republicans have seen a rush toward the exits with retirements. The House GOP is still recruiting candidates to challenge the Democrats and has lagged in fundraising.

Pelosi said lawmakers will have a briefing Thursday at the Democratic National Committee headquarters about the nominating process. The party convention is in July.

Democrats changed the nominating rules to reduce the power of “superdelegates”— lawmakers and other VIPs—to choose the nominee.

If no candidate secures the nod outright on the initial round of voting at the convention, the superdelegates, including lawmakers, may have a role to play in casting votes.

At an earlier debate in Las Vegas, the 2020 presidential candidates were asked whether the candidate with the most delegates should be the nominee, even if that person lacked a delegate majority. Almost every candidate suggested that the convention process should work its way out.

Sanders, who helped force the changes to the nomination process this year and expects to take a significant delegate lead in the coming weeks, was the only exception.

“The person who has the most votes should become the nominee,” he said.

House Democrats, particularly the freshmen, are being told to chart their own course as they did running in 2018.

In much the way some House Democrats won their seats as they distanced themselves from Pelosi, they may be faced with running for reelection by distancing themselves from the party nominee.

“This is tough,” Pelosi told the House caucus. “We have to win.”

Surely for the Democratic Party to win this year’s election, unification is vital, and it would appear the moderates of the left are keyholders toward fighting President Trump, though Sanders and his supporters have argued otherwise.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

2020 relaunch of HCN Networks

DALLAS – Hail Columbia News has officially relaunched in 2020, forming part of a new unincorporated non-profit entity known as Hail Columbia News Networks.

The relaunch of the news agency comes amid the 2020 election for President of the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 census, the 2019 Coronavirus epidemic, and renewed interest in supporting independent, non-biased journalism throughout the United States.

Airbnb bans ‘party houses’

ORINDA – Airbnb’s chief executive officer said the company was taking actions against unauthorized parties in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Halloween party held at an Airbnb rental home in California.

In a series of tweets, Brian Chesky said Saturday the San Francisco-based company is expanding manual screening of “high risk” reservations and will remove guests who fail to comply with policies banning parties at Airbnb rental homes.

He also said the company is forming a “rapid response team” when complaints of unauthorized parties come in.

“We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable,” he tweeted.

Five people died after a Thursday night shooting that sent some 100 terrified partygoers running for their lives in the San Francisco suburb of Orinda.

The four-bedroom home had been rented on Airbnb by a woman who told the owner her dozen family members had asthma and needed to escape smoke from a wildfire, a person with knowledge of the transaction informed local and national news agencies. A fire burning in Sonoma County about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Orinda earlier in the week fouled the air over a wide area.

The owner was suspicious of a one-night rental on Halloween and before agreeing reminded the renter that no parties were allowed, said the person with knowledge of the transaction, who was not authorized to publicly disclose the information and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The owner, Michael Wang, said his wife reached out to the renter Thursday night after neighbors contacted them about the party. The renter said there were only a dozen people at the home but Wang said he could see more people on video from his doorbell camera.

“We called the police. They were on the way to go there to stop them, but before we got there the neighbor already sent us a message saying there was a shooting,” he attested.

No arrests had been made and there was no immediate word on a motive for the attack. Two guns were found at the property, authorities said.

Three people, all from the Bay Area, died at the scene and a fourth died at the hospital, authorities initially said. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office identified them Friday evening as Tiyon Farley, 22, of Antioch; Omar Taylor, 24, of Pittsburg; Ramon Hill Jr., 23; and Javin County, 29. The sheriff’s office identified a fifth victim, 19-year-old Oshiana Tompkins of Vallejo and Hercules, late Friday night, saying she died at a hospital.

Taylor’s father, Omar Taylor Sr., said his son was hired to play music at the party.

“Wrong place, wrong time,” he said.

Other people were wounded by gunshots or injured in the panic that followed, authorities said.

The party at the four-bedroom house apparently was advertised on social media as an “Airbnb mansion party.”

Orinda, with a population of about 20,000, requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city annually and pay an occupancy tax. The maximum occupancy is 13 people.

Orinda city documents show officials issued violations in March for exceeding the home’s maximum occupancy and illegal parking. City Manager Steve Salomon said the homeowner had resolved previous complaints lodged in February over occupancy and noise and in July over overflowing trash.

Airbnb is “urgently investigating” what happened, spokesman Ben Breit said in an email.

Airbnb has banned the renter from its platform and the home has been removed as a listing, he said.

One attendee said he was enjoying the music and watching people dance when he heard shots and people started running.

The screaming seemed to last forever, said Devan, who asked that his last name not be used because he feared for his safety.

“Everybody started running, scrambling,” he said. “People were just collapsing and friends were helping friends. It was a scary situation and then as everyone is panicking and stuff, there were more shots.”

Devan shot a video posted to Instagram that showed a wounded man on the ground and a police officer standing over him and a woman saying she needs to go to the hospital “because my hand’s been blown off.”

On Friday, police tape surrounded the block as people came to collect their cars and other belongings. One woman in tears told reporters the father of her child had been killed. She left before giving her name.

Romond Reynolds picked up the car of his son, 24-year-old Armani Reynolds, who he said was left comatose by the shooting.

“All I know is that he’s a victim and was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Reynolds said.

Neighbor Shahram Saki, 61, said in a phone interview that some fleeing partygoers hid in the bushes in his front yard and others begged to be let into his home.

“They were screaming for help. I told them, ‘You gotta get out of here,'” Saki said. “I was scared to death, anything could have happened.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Greater Houston preparing for heavy rain, flooding from Imelda

HOUSTON – Officials in the Greater Houston metropolitan area were preparing high-water vehicles and staging rescue boats Tuesday as Tropical Storm Imelda moved in from the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to dump up to 18 inches of rain in parts of Texas and Louisiana over the next few days.

The storm, which formed Tuesday, made landfall near Freeport, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

Jeff Linder, a meteorologist and director of flood operations for the Harris County Flood Control District in Houston, said the main threat from Imelda remained the potential for heavy rainfall and flooding.

“We have a few things in our favor. The ground is dry. It’s been dry for a while here as we’ve come through summer,” Lindner said. “The initial parts of this rainfall will go toward saturating the ground.”

Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said Greater Houston, along with parts of the upper Texas coast and East Texas, could get “significant rainfall” through Thursday as the storm moves north. Imelda’s rain bands were also stretching across into Louisiana.

Imelda was the first named storm to impact Greater Houston since Hurricane Harvey , according to the National Weather Service. Harvey dumped nearly 50 inches (130 centimeters) of rain on parts of the flood-prone city in August 2017, flooding more than 150,000 homes in Greater Houston and causing an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas.

Lindner says while there is the potential for some isolated structure flooding in the metropolis, widespread house flooding from Imelda “doesn’t look likely at this point.”

But Lindner said that residents who live in flood prone areas should still be mindful and take some extra precautions.

Some parts of Harris County and neighboring Galveston County had already received about 4 inches of rain through Tuesday afternoon.

The Galveston school district announced it was canceling classes on Wednesday.

In a tweet Tuesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked residents to be “alert and weather aware.”

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday placed numerous resources on standby across Texas. The Texas Division of Emergency Management will be rostering four boat squads in coastal areas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be moving boats to support the Beaumont area and adjacent regions.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Humberto in the Atlantic Ocean is posing a stronger threat to Bermuda, though it was more than 500 miles away. Meteorologists also said newly formed Tropical Storm Lorena in the Pacific Ocean could produce heavy rains and flooding in Mexico by Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Russia stakes hold on the Arctic with military base

SEVERNY KLEVER MILITARY BASE, Russia – Missile launchers ply icy roads and air defense systems point menacingly into the sky at this Arctic military outpost, a key vantage point for Russia to project its power over the resource-rich polar region.

The base, dubbed Severny Klever (Northern Clover) for its trefoil shape, is painted in the white, blue and red colors of the Russian national flag. It has been designed so soldiers can reach all of its sprawling facilities without venturing outdoors—a useful precaution in an area where temperatures often plunge to minus 50 Celsius (minus 58 Fahrenheit) during the winter, and even in the short Arctic summer are often freezing at night.

It’s strategically located on Kotelny Island, between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea on the Arctic shipping route, and permanently houses up to 250 military personnel responsible for maintaining air and sea surveillance facilities and coastal defenses like anti-ship missiles.

The Russian base has enough supplies to remain fully autonomous for more than a year.

“Our task is to monitor the airspace and the northern sea route,” said base commander Lt. Col. Vladimir Pasechnik. “We have all we need for our service and comfortable living.”

Russia is not alone in trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, as shrinking polar ice opens fresh opportunities for resource exploration and new shipping lanes. The United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway are jostling for position, as well, and the People’s Republic of China also has shown an increasing interest in the polar region.

But while U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has seen the Arctic through the lens of security and economic competition with Russia and Communist China, it has yet to demonstrate that the region is a significant priority in its overall foreign policy. The post of special U.S. representative for the Arctic has remained vacant since Trump assumed office.

Russia, however, has made reaffirming its presence in the Arctic a top goal, not the least because the region is believed to hold up to one-quarter of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited estimates that put the value of Arctic mineral riches at $30 trillion.

The move has alarmed Russia’s neighbors, analysts say.

“In Russia, the Northern sea route has been described as a bonanza with lots of potential of economic development,” said Flemming Splidsboel Hansen of the Danish Institute for International Studies. “And that’s why there is a need for military capacity in the area. It is likely meant as defensive, but it is being interpreted by the West as offensive.”

Kristian Soeby Kristensen, a researcher at Copenhagen University in Denmark, said the problem of Russian hegemony in the Arctic was most obvious to Norway.

“Norway is a small country, whose next-door neighbor is mighty Russia, which has placed the bulk of its military capacity right next to them,” Soeby Kristensen said. “Norway is extraordinarily worried.”

In 2015, Russia submitted to the United Nations a revised bid for vast territories in the Arctic. It claimed 1.2 million square kilometers (over 463,000 square miles) of Arctic sea shelf, extending more than 350 nautical miles (about 650 kilometers) from the shore.

As part of a multi-pronged effort to stake Russia’s claims on the Arctic region, the Kremlin has poured massive resources into modernizing Soviet-era installations there.

The military outpost on Kotelny Island fell into neglect after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but a massive effort to build a new base began in 2014 and took several years.

A group of reporters brought to the island by the Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday were shown Bastion anti-ship missile launchers positioned for a drill near the shore and Pantsyr-S1 air defense systems firing shots at a practice target.

Russian Arctic soldiers and Missile Launcher
Russian troops conduct training with a Bastion missile launcher on Kotelny Island, part of the New Siberian Islands archipelago located between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea, Russia. (AP Photo/Vladimir Isachenkov)
Russian Arctic vehicle.jpg
A Russian military’s Pansyr-S1 air defense system fires at a practice target during a military drill on Kotelny Island, part of the New Siberian Islands archipelago located between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea, Russia. (AP Photo/Vladimir Isachenkov)

The Russian military has kept Western media from visiting its Arctic facilities, so the trip offered a unique opportunity to watch the Russian expansion up close.

A big radar dome looms on a hill overlooking the coast, underlining the base’s main mission of monitoring the strategic area.

In contrast with drab, Soviet-era facilities, the pristine new base features spacious living quarters, a gym and a sauna. Putin’s words about the importance of the Arctic for Russia dot the base’s walls and a symbolic border post sits in a hallway.

Soldiers at the base say they are proud of their mission despite the challenging Arctic environment.

“Proving to myself that I can do it raises my self-esteem,” said one of the soldiers, Sergei Belogov. “Weather is our enemy here, so we need to protect ourselves from it to serve the Motherland.”

Extreme cold and fierce winds often make it hard to venture outside, and even winterized vehicles may have trouble operating when temperatures plunge to extreme lows and even special lubricants freeze.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin in December that the military has rebuilt or expanded numerous facilities across the polar region, revamping runways and deploying air defense assets. He said renovation works were conducted on a long string of Arctic territories.

The expanded infrastructure has allowed the Russian military to restore full radar coverage of the nation’s 22,600-kilometer (14,000-mile) Arctic frontier and deploy fighter jets to protect its airspace.

The military also has undertaken a cleanup effort across the region, working to remove tens of thousands of tons of waste from the Arctic territories, most of it rusty fuel tanks left behind by the Soviet military.

The Russian soldiers share the island with polar bears, arctic foxes and wolves.

Officers said that, soon after the base opened, curious bears regularly prowled near its walls, sometimes even peering into its windows. On some occasions, soldiers had to use a truck to spook away a particularly curious bear wandering nearby.

Soldiers interviewed at the base said they marveled at the area’s wildlife and its majestic Arctic landscapes.

“The nature here is extremely beautiful,” said Navy Lt. Umar Erkenov, who came from southern Russia. “Meeting a polar bear is an experience that fills you with emotions. We have established friendly ties with them from the start. We don’t touch them, they don’t touch us.”

He said he’s missing his wife and daughter, whom he can only see during his leave period once a year, but is proud of his mission.

“Few people do their job under such conditions,” he said. “I feel proud that I’m here with my unit, doing my duty and protecting the Motherland.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Minor leaguers seek investors, donations to make ends meet

PHOENIX – Jeremy Wolf loved being a professional baseball player. The New York Mets were his favorite team as a child, and it was a dream fulfilled when they selected him in the 31st round in 2016.

The reality was something else. From first pitch to the final out was a blast, but the time between games was filled with anxiety. His meager signing bonus wasn’t delivered until after his first season ended. In the meantime, he needed money for rent, cleats, bats, car payments, food and more—an impossible amount to cover on his $1,100 per month salary. Then he hurt his back, was cut 16 months after he signed, and left baseball with a couple thousand dollars in credit card debt.

“It’s really great to play minor league baseball,” Wolf said. “It’s an honor and a privilege. But I can’t eat privilege.”

He and others are trying to do something about that.

MLB generates billions in revenue each season, yet players throughout its minor leagues are sleeping on air mattresses, skipping meals and purchasing equipment on the cheap while making as little as $3,300 per season. The inequity of baseball’s pay system is attracting private companies eager to invest in players in exchange for a cut of potential big league paydays—one is even organizing direct investments by MLB and NFL players. Meanwhile, Wolf is helping minor league players use online crowdfunding to ask fans to provide money for meals, rent, cleats and other essentials.

Minor leaguers at the lowest levels can make as little as $1,100 per month despite spending 50-to-70 hours per week at the ballpark. A lawsuit alleging MLB violated minimum wage and overtime requirements was pre-empted last year when congress passed the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” which stripped minor leaguers of the protection of federal minimum wage laws.

MLB is also pushing Arizona lawmakers to exempt minor league players from minimum wage laws there, a move that would affect hundreds of players who are not paid during spring training.

The Toronto Blue Jays decided last month to boost minor league salaries by 50 percent, making them an outlier among the major league’s 30 clubs.

For players elsewhere, addressing short-term needs can be a dire matter. Most get signing bonuses of just a few thousand dollars, and they only pull in a salary during the season, which is either three or five months long, depending on the league.

Expenses in-season vary by organization, but players usually have to find their own equipment, at least one meal per day, and pay clubhouse dues. Housing is tricky, especially this time of year. Thursday is opening day across most of the minor leagues, and that means many players have been scrambling this week to arrange apartments across the country. It’s a tough task, made all the trickier because those players’ employers haven’t written them a check since September.

Wolf founded More Than Baseball to help address those needs. The group uses online donations—it’s raised over $2,000 so far this spring—to help fund meals, rent and other necessities. It sets players up for group discounts with landlords and baseball equipment companies, finds offseason jobs and internships for players, arranges host families, and provides career services so players have options when they’re playing days end.

“In a way we’re mitigating stress,” Wolf said. “And if we mitigate stress, we’re going to allow the kids to just enjoy playing minor league baseball.”

More Than Baseball’s staff includes a few retired players, including former Yankees outfielder Slade Heathcott. It also has labor lawyers, marketing professionals and economists as advisers.

Other professionals from outside baseball have stepped in, too, to offer resources as investors. Some companies, like Big League Advance, propose minor leaguers cash to cover costs now, then take a cut of their future earnings if they make the majors.

Another option is Pando Pooling, a private company that allows players to pool their future earnings, increasing the chance of a life-changing pay day in a career where many top prospects never cash a million-dollar paycheck. For instance, a group of five third-round draft picks could agree to enter a pool together. If four players wash out due to injury or poor performance but one player becomes a star worth hundreds of millions of dollars, each of those players get a share of those earnings.

“We want players to be more comfortable with their decision to be a baseball player and to feel secure in their financial outcome,” co-founder Charlie Olson said.

There are stipulations. Pool contributions from a single player are capped at $20 million, and players don’t begin to contribute until they’ve earned at least $1.6 million in their career—roughly the amount a player would make via the major league minimum in his first three seasons before becoming eligible for arbitration.

“I think Pando presents an opportunity that hasn’t been presented in the past,” said Indians minor leaguer Logan Ice, a second-round pick in 2016 who leads his Pando pool. “It gives players a way to diversify the risk in baseball, which is a risky profession.”

Pando has more than 200 players on board, and it’s eyeing expansion. It has launched a similar operation with football players, who also face long-term uncertainty because NFL contracts are not guaranteed.

It also is considering a new model: pairing successful pro athletes with aspiring prospects. Olson says both MLB and NFL players have expressed interest in backing minor league baseball players, offering cash and other resources like access to trainers and nutritionists in exchange for a percentage of future earnings.

“We’re trying to find as many ways as possible to help improve the lives for professional baseball players,” Olson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cast says goodbye to groundbreaking HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’

NEW YORK CITY – Sophie Turner wore her waterproof mascara. The actress knew there would be a lot of crying.

She and the rest of the cast of “Game of Thrones” descended on Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday to bid farewell to the HBO hit show after eight seasons.

“It’s very exciting because there’s a whole new chapter of our lives we’re embarking on, but it’s also really sad because this other chapter is closing, and we won’t be able to play these amazing characters anymore,” said Turner, who plays Sansa Stark. “I’ve got my waterproof mascara on tonight because I know there’ll be a lot of crying.”

The groundbreaking HBO series, based on the popular book series by George R.R. Martin, has had crazy twists, eye-popping turns and a measure of fearlessness, like killing off main characters. It also has one of the most dynamic battle scenes ever filmed in an episode called, “Battle of the Bastards.”

Pilou Asbaek, who plays Euron Greyjoy, said fans can expect even more of those moments in the last few shows. The last season premieres April 17.

“There’s going to be a couple of episodes in season 8 which is going to be madness, which is going to be epic, which is going to be the biggest ever seen on TV,” Asbaek said.

Jason Momoa came back from the dead to attend Wednesday’s event. His character was killed off in the first season.

“It’s the greatest show on Earth and nine years ago I didn’t think I’d be here right now. It’s just beautiful to see my friends off, wish them luck and show the world that it’s the greatest show,” Momoa said.

Kristian Nairn, who portrays the simple-minded Hodor in the series, was the subject of a full-frontal nude scene that made him proud because it shows the inclusion the creators have for the world they created.

“I’m not your average Hollywood actor and to be able to take your clothes off onscreen, I think that just shows what ‘Game of Thrones’ is all about. It’s inclusive,” he said. “You don’t have to look like a Hollywood A-lister to be in ‘Game of Thrones.’ I think that’s the way the acting culture should move. It’s supposed to be inclusive these days. We all look different so that’s why I took the chance to appear naked.”

Kristofer Hivju, who played the role of Tormund Giantsbane, pointed to the show’s unpredictability as part of its strength.

“It doesn’t follow the rules of storytelling. It follows the rules of life and the rules of death. And it’s unpredictable. It’s like a sports event. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Boom! Something happens. Boom! Always something,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.