America Is Addicted to Outrage. Is There a Cure?

“Outrage often emerges when an anecdote about a particular drama becomes generalized into a hashtag, as when that masterpiece of unshaven phallocratic beastliness Harvey Weinstein was dragged before the public gaze, and, in an instant, the #MeToo movement arose, drawing forth the squalid secrets of other famous men. After many a summer dies the swine. But the greatest casualty of outrage may be judgment itself. It’s dangerous when indignation abstracts itself, as when charges of sexual misconduct become generalized in phrases like “toxic masculinity,” which may condemn all men regardless of facts. They are guilty one way or another. If you cannot convict a man of rape, then you may get him for “mansplaining.”

Pretty soon absolutely everything becomes an outrage. Anything that isn’t an outrage is Jeb Bush. Complex interactions of outrage from both parties’ bases conjured up the presidency of Donald Trump, who is the mighty Wurlitzer of the art form.

Outrage seems strenuous enough, but in truth it is a lazy habit—spontaneous, fatuous and naive. Organizing a lynch mob is easier—with a surer, immediate and dramatic reward—than conducting a fair trial, which requires the brains and patience of an adult. (The inner terror of Trumpians is that Robert Mueller is a grown-up with brains and patience.) Outrage presents itself as an assertion of conscience, but in practice it mostly bypasses conscience and judgment, and goes straight to self-righteous rage, by way of self-pity.

Outrage may be justified, of course, and redress long overdue. Just as a dose of morphine may be appropriate to help a patient in extreme pain, so with outrage. But like morphine, outrage is widely abused—and addictive. It may wind up becoming frivolous or fraudulent, as in all those “triggers” and “microaggressions.”

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Teachers Want a Raise

BY CHUCK WARREN APRIL 3, 2018

In case you missed it, there is a teacher revolt occurring in your state, or a state near you. Teachers want raises, big ones, and they want them now.

It started with a nearly two week teacher walk out in West Virginia for a 5% pay increase and now has emboldened public school teachers in other states like Oklahoma, where teachers continue to threaten to strike even after being given a $6,000 a year bump, to Arizona, where they are asking for an immediate, whopping 20 percent pay increase.

Many Americans, including me and other parents of school age children, want to see public school teachers paid fairly. They should be. That is not what this column is about. As they have shown in Oklahoma, teachers – led by their unions – will keep coming back to the table demanding more, even if they are given a 20 percent raise; because these movements are as much about elections as teacher pay. Regardless, teachers deserve a fair process, with a seat at the table alongside each state’s citizenry, elected representatives and school boards in determining current or future pay raises.

When that happens, or as various states look at teacher pay, here are five suggestions which are appropriate, responsible, and bring transparency to the use of finite tax payer dollars. First, what is their total benefit package? Negotiations on pay increases should always include the costs of benefits attached to a teacher. These include things like sick leave, health insurance, pensions, etc. For example, many public educators have excellent health insurance plans. According to a Henry Kaiser Family Foundation study in September 2017, the “average family premiums for employer sponsored health insurance plans … averaged $18,764” in 2017.  Due to the number of public school teachers in your state, they may get a sweeter deal on annual costs. That being said, how does it compare to your health insurance package? We have not even touched upon pensions that are owed teachers. These benefits cost money and should be transparent to taxpayers.

Second, what is their hourly wage?  When you take out the summer months off, what is their real hourly wage? Like the private sector, some teachers put in tremendous hours, others, do not go above and beyond.  So, what is the right average hourly wage? It should be appropriate to a professional, but must take into account total benefits.

Third, what percentage of public education dollars actually goes to teachers? How much gets to the classroom, and how much goes elsewhere? The U.S. Department of Education estimates that in most states over 40 percent of public education dollars do not go to teacher’s salaries or into the classrooms. Teachers need to be the priority, and schools need to consider cutting anything and everything else in pursuit of the best teachers.

Fourth, what are the sources of revenue for pay increases? Teachers should be part of the budgetary process. Teacher’s unions will yell “that is why we elected people to the legislature,” that is their job. Well, yes, and no. It is their job, but taxpayer money is finite so any raises have to come either through a tax increase, budget cuts, or combination of both. Someone has to sacrifice for their wage increase. The average American pays an effective federal income tax rate of 13.5% and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Americans pay an average rate of 9.9% in state and local taxes annually. That is combined 23.5%. tax rate – and that’s before we pay social security taxes, Medicare tax, and sales taxes.

If they want these increases to come via tax increases, public school teachers should identify these sources or revenue, how they will be affected, and what changes are required to meet their wage demands. In the corporate world or small business people don’t get pay raises unless there is revenue growth. Barring economic growth, demanding a larger piece of a pre-determined pie means someone else eats less.

Fifth, all these points should be laid out in a mailer to every taxpayer and presented to taxpayers in public meetings with appropriate public notification.

Now some who do not understand the source of money will argue with these five points. So be it. They are wrong. Teachers should be paid well.  They should not only have strong base pay; great ones should have the opportunity to make a lot more. But when considering pay raises, transparency of public education dollars should be part of the process. This goes for all government agencies.

So as your state considers pay raises for public education, demand that real costs be brought to light.  Leadership is about priorities and it is difficult to define those priorities unless you know the real costs and sacrifices needed.

Chuck Warren is Senior Managing Director, September Group, LLC (www.septembergroupllc.com) and Managing Director, Monolith Registry, LLC (www.Get.Vote). You can read his other OpEds on ChuckWarren.co

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Is Steve Bannon Overrated?

Steve Bannon has declared war on the establishment, but why should we care?

President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist plans to support challengers against incumbent Republican senators in the 2018 midterms, a move that has received plenty of media attention and responses from both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Bannon fancies himself a kingmaker, but it’s unclear if he actually wields that power.

“When you want to talk about why there’s no repeal-and-replace, why there’s no tax cut, why there’s no tax reform, why there’s no infrastructure bill, you saw it right there,” Bannon said on Fox News’ “Hannity.” “McConnell and [Tennessee Sen. Bob] Corker and that entire clique — establishment, globalist clique — on Capitol Hill have to go.”

The senators in this “globalist clique” that Bannon is reportedly targeting are Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.

He is back as the “executive chairman” of Breitbart, which regularly promotes the notion Bannon wields massive power over the conservative movement.

Lead stories on the website Saturday included: “Sebastian Gorka: Steve Bannon Like Obi-Wan Kenobi — ‘If You Strike Me Down Now, I Will Be More Powerful,’” and “Steve Bannon Declares ‘Season of War’ Against GOP Establishment.”

Breitbart isn’t the only place quick to hype Bannon’s influence. Mainstream outlets, who Bannon has regularly referred to as the “opposition party,” enjoy casting Bannon as the man behind Trump’s curtain. And while he wouldn’t want to admit it, the former White House aide has a very friendly relationship with the press.

“Very heavy leaker,” one Washington political reporter told The Daily Caller. Bannon declined to comment.

Breitbart is a large conservative news outlet, but does that make Bannon a kingmaker? If that’s the case, Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh would be deciding primaries around the country.

Bannon isn’t like the Koch brothers, whom he frequently bashes, and won’t personally influence elections through spending money. Breitbart, however, is heavily funded by financier Robert Mercer, who Bannon reportedly met with to discuss the 2018 midterms. Notably, Bannon is not targeting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in his 2018 race, who enjoys the Mercers’ financial backing.

Mercer and his wife Diana have already donated $300,000 to a super PAC supporting Kelli Ward in her primary bid, backed by Bannon, against Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. Friendly Breitbart articles supported Ward in her 2016 primary run against Sen. John McCain.

She lost that race.

So did Breitbart-backed Paul Nehlen in his 2016 fight against House Speaker Paul Ryan.

So did Breitbart-backed Chris McDaniel in his 2014 race against Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

One Bannon-backed candidate, however, recently notched a win.

During much of August and September, Breitbart went on the warpath against Alabama Republican Sen. Luther Strange in his failed primary bid against Roy Moore.

Breitbart backed Moore — while Trump supported Strange — and the press eagerly credited Bannon with the victory.

But Moore is a well-known political figure in Alabama, whose victory hardly needed the support of a conservative news outlet.

“Bannon didn’t get into this until it was very clear that Strange was not going to win,” one longtime Alabama Republican political operative told The Daily Caller. “I thought Luther was going to lose from the beginning. The principle reason was that it was just a bad campaign.”

“The Strange loss was not a result of Bannon.”

Bannon’s battle against Republican incumbent senators, however, continues and Trump responded to two questions before a cabinet meeting Monday about it.

“I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from,” Trump said, adding that Republicans have failed to repeal Obamacare.

Later that day, while standing next to Trump in the White House Rose Garden, McConnell was also asked about Bannon’s efforts.

“Our primary approach will be to support our incumbents and in open seats to seek to help nominate people who can actually win in November,” McConnell said. “That’s my approach. That’s the way you keep a governing majority.”

McConnell named four failed 2010 anti-establishment GOP candidates to make his case — including Todd Akin, who riffed on “legitimate rape” and Christine O’Donnell, whose past included witchcraft.

Moore has been leading Democratic candidate Doug Jones in the polls and Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992. A Fox News poll out Tuesday night brought bad news for Moore, showing him tied with Jones at 42 percent, with 11 percent of voters undecided.

Moore is having trouble winning over moderate Republicans, according to an operative in the Yellowhammer state, thanks in part to the former state Supreme Court chief justice’s history of making naughty comments.

Moore referred to “reds and yellows” in a recent campaign speech, and once said he “didn’t know” if sodomy should be punished by death.

Another candidate backed by Bannon is Michael Grimm, who is seeking to retake his congressional seat in New York from fellow Republican Dan Donovan. Grimm lost his spot in Congress after pleading guilty to tax evasion. The former congressman has also admitted to hiring illegal immigrants and threatened to break a reporter in “half … like a boy.”

And the Arizona candidate Bannon perpetually pushes, Kelli Ward, has “blind ambition,” according to a statement issued Tuesday by two former Breitbart staffers who worked for her campaign.

Whether or not Bannon has the power to pick Republican leaders, the establishment will fight back.

“Creating a civil war inside the Republican Party may feel good,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Sean Hannity last week, adding, “But I think as a strategy, it is stunningly stupid. I’m just being really honest.”

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Freedom Festival Speech 1997

At this season when we memorialize the arrival of our forbearers in these valleys of the west, it is fitting that we celebrate freedom, the reason for their coming here. Human liberty is such a precious and remarkable thing that it is worthy of a great festival.

We’ve heard this remarkable choir tonight. They sing with such tremendous power. This choir has become a great national treasure. Its roots reach back 150 years to the pioneer beginnings of these mountain communities. We have had a wonderful time listening to them. I wish they could go on all evening…I would wish particularly. At the conclusion of my remarks, they will sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which has stirred audiences throughout the world.

Mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on
He has sounded forth the trumpet that will never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat
O be swift my soul to answer Him, be jubilant my feet
Our God is marching on
In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free
While God is marching on

This great hymn of hope stirs us now as it did more than a century ago when it was first sung. I promise you, every one of you, that you will be moved in your hearts as you again hear these talented voices singing out these marvelous and eloquent words. These words speak of the theme of this meeting: that theme is recognition of, and trust in the Almighty, who has guided this nation since its inception. I salute Crystal Jolley for the excellent talk she has given.

A news magazine writer asked me the other day during an interview concerning my belief concerning the Constitution of our country. I replied that I felt it was inspired, that both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were brought forth under the inspiration of God to establish and sustain the freedom of the people of this nation. I told him I looked upon the Founding Fathers as men who believed in God, as men who prayed to God, as men who recognized God and wished to do His will. What a singular and remarkable group they were! As I look across the world today, I search in vain for such a group has walked together across the stage of history when this nation was born.

Charles Malek, Secretary General of the United States, once said on this campus, “I respect all men and it is from this respect for none that I say there are no great leaders in the world today. In fact, greatness itself is laughed to scorn. You should not be great today; you should sink yourself into the herd. You should not be distinguished from the crowd; you should simply be one of the many.” He continued, “The commanding voice is lacking, the voice which speaks little but which when it speaks, it speaks with compelling moral authority. This kind of voice is not congenial to this age. The age flattens and levels down every distinction into drab uniformity. Respect for the high, the noble, the great, the rare, the specimen that appears once every hundred or every thousand years is gone. Respect at all is gone. If you ask people whom and what people do respect, the answer is literally nobody and nothing. This is simply an unrespecting age; it is the age of utter mediocrity. To become a leader today, even a mediocre leader, is a most uphill struggle. You are constantly in every way and from every side pulled down. One wonders who of those living today will be remembered a thousand years from now, the way we remember with profound respect Plato and Aristotle, Christ and Paul and Augustine and Aquinas.” He concluded, “If you believe in prayer my friends, and I know that you do, then pray that God send great leaders, especially great leaders of the spirit.”

Just think of a moment of George Washington, of Franklin, of Madison, of the Adams’s, of Thomas Jefferson, and their associates who signed the Declaration of Independence, or participated in the Constitutional Convention. Where in all the world today can even one or two such men be found, let alone the great aggregation that participated in the birth of America?

Can anyone deny that they were raised up unto this very purpose, that working together, they brought forth on this continent an independent nation at the risk of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor? It is my conviction that while we’ve had a few great leaders since then, there has not been before or since, so large a group of talented, able, and dedicated men as those whom we call the Founding Fathers of this nation. For as long as they lived they acknowledged the hand of the Almighty in the affairs of this republic.

We have on our coinage and our currency a national motto. It simply says, In God We Trust. I know of no other nation with such a motto. Other nations use, By the Grace of God, but none other categorically states, In God We Trust. This is the foundation upon which this nation was established: an unequivocal trust in the power of the Almighty to guide and defend us. The hand of God was manifest when the United States of America came into being. It was evident even before then. Before disembarking from the Mayflower, our pilgrim fathers drafted and signed the compact which would become the instrument of their governance, the first such document drafted on this continent. It began with these words, “In the name of God, Amen.” It went on to say that the signers, “by these present, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic.”

When George Washington resigned his commission as General of the Army he wrote, “I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last act of my official life, but commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendents of them to His holy keeping.” As Crystal has reminded us tonight, in his first inaugural address in 1789 he stated, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and ignore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

We posted the colors tonight and stood and gave a pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands. We said, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. That phrase, one nation under God, essentially comes from Abraham Lincoln. In the great Gettysburg address he stated, “This nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom.” That phrase was not in the pledge of allegiance that was spoken when I was a boy. Back in those days, all of us in grade school, if the weather permitted, would form at the front steps of the school. The flag would be posted and we would recite together the pledge of allegiance before going into the building for our daily school work. I am grateful for the addition of the words, One Nation Under God. To me, it is tremendously meaningful.

There are those in this nation today who would delete all this reference to Deity. They would take it out of the pledge of allegiance. They would take it from our coinage. They would remove it from any mention in our national life. John Wesley Heele has written, “Gettysburg was the high water mark of the rebellion. It involved the destiny of the union. Realizing this, it was Lincoln who at while battle was being fought was driven to his knees to struggle like Jacob of old, alone with God, until in Lincoln’s own words, “God told me he would give me Gettysburg and I believed Him.” When the news of the victory reached him, he gave to God the glory and set aside a day of national thanksgiving.

When Mrs. Margaret Thatcher was on this campus and I was talking with her, she said, “I cannot understand it; you have the motto, In God We Trust on your coinage and yet you cannot mention the name of Deity in the classrooms of your schools. She wondered, and I wonder about our consistency.

At this meeting tonight, the first verse of our national anthem was sung. We seldom hear the third verse, which include these words,

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”

As boys who would grow to become citizens of this nation, we repeated the scout oath including these words; On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country. Now that is even being challenged in the courts of the land. According to the Wall Street Journal, the state of New Jersey last year passed a law banishing the mention of God from state courtroom oaths. Following this action by the legislature, a county just decided to ban Bibles for such oaths because, “You know who is mentioned inside.”

Without acknowledgement of deity, without recognition of the Almighty as the ruling power of the universe, the all important element of personal and national accountability shrinks and dies. Are we so arrogant as to believe that we can get along without Him? We see the manifestation of that arrogance in the great host of social problems with which we deal these days: teen pregnancy, abandoned families and broken homes, failure to recognize the property and rights of others, gangs of young people aimlessly cruising the streets of our cities, and many other problems like these have resulted in substantial part at least, from failure to recognize that there is a God to whom someday, each of us must give an accounting.

The wars in which this nation has been involved during this, the most bloody century of all time have resulted from the greed, the avarice, the arrogance, the conceit, and egotism of men in power who sought to enslave and exercise dominion over others. Their very attitude has been totally incompatible with recognition of the Almighty to whom each of us is accountable.

There can be no doubt of the sickness in our society today. We cannot build prisons fast enough to accommodate the need. Humanism has replaced worship in the lives of so many. We are forsaking the Almighty and I fear He is forsaking us. We are closing the door against the God, whose sons and daughters we are. We sang, “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty.” We need to sing again and again the fourth verse of that hymn:

Our Father’s God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing
Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by thy might, Great God our king

Going back to George Washington’s first inaugural speech, he voiced the hope, “that the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality.” He went on to say, “…there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.” The psalmist of old wrote, “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Paul the apostle declared, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

I believe we are paying a very high price for our increasing secularism. Jefferson said, “God who gave us life, gave us liberty.” Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God?

Lincoln declared, “What constituted the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts; our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirity which prized liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands everywhere.”

We go back to the prophetic words of Alexis de Tocqueville, who came here from France as a young man in the early 1800s. After traveling widely he said, “I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors, in her fertile fields and boundless forests, in her rich minds and vast commerce, in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic congress and in her matchless Constitution, but not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and her power. America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

I am convinced that if we are to continue to have the freedoms which came of the inspiration of the Almighty to our Founding Fathers, we must return to the God who is their true author. We need to worship him in spirit and in truth. We need to acknowledge his all powerful hand. We need to humble ourselves before him and seek his guidance in all that concerns matters of state. Do we believe in the separation of church and state? Of course we do, but that belief does not preclude a petition to the Almighty for wisdom and guidance as we walk through these perilous times.

We celebrate the freedom of our nation. We hold this festival in remembrance of this greatest of all boons and blessings. May we look to him as the author of our liberty. Is it too much to expect that prayer, public and private, be once again established in our national and private lives? Then with a general acknowledgement of the God in whom we put our trust, we may expect a diminution in our social problems, an increase in public and private morality, and a renewed sense of freedom and liberty. I realize that after the choir sings we shall have a benediction on this sacred service to be offered by Senator Bennett, but if you will bear with me, I wish to conclude my remarks with a few words of solemn prayer. I invite all of you to lower your heads and close your eyes.

Oh God, our Eternal Father, thou who presides over the nations and their people, we come unto thee in prayer. We thank thee for this great and sovereign nation of which we are citizens. Touch the minds of those of our Congress that they shall stand tall and independent in defense of the liberty of the people. Bless the chief executive. He is our president. Let thy spirit move upon him to bring to pass those measures which will lift the burdens of government from the backs of the people and keep this nation under God, a citadel of freedom standing as an example to all the world. Bless the Supreme Court of the United States which in recent days has declared unconstitutional a measure designed to secure the religious liberty of the people of this nation. May a way be found under thy divine inspiration to bring to pass another measure which will be sustained by the court. May thy peace rest upon this nation. May we as a people look to thee and live. May the benevolent hand of the almighty protect us from the evil forces of the world. May humanism and secularism bend to an increased knowledge of these our Father and our God. May a spirit of brotherhood spread throughout the land. As we pray to thee, we do so in our manner and respect the prayers of others who speak after their manner. That thou wilt hear us all as we lift our voices in behalf of our beloved nation. Almighty Father, hear us, guide us, protect us, make us both strong and benevolent before the world. Forgive our erring ways. May we turn back to thee in our search for wisdom, for guidance, for direction, we humbly ask in Jesus’ sacred name, Amen.

(Source: Freedom Festival, BYU Marriott Center, Provo, Utah 1997)

Source Article Found Here:

Will He or Won’t He? Hatch Keeps Utah in Suspense

Hatch’s 2012 victory in the face of a tea party challenge could discourage potential challengers, said Hansen, the senator’s former campaign manager.

“I think they look at it and say, ‘Look, if we try to challenge him, he’ll just beat us again,’” Hansen said.

Utah strategists say the anti-establishment environment from 2010 has fizzled with respect to Hatch. A spokesman for conservative group FreedomWorks, which supported Hatch’s 2012 challenger, said it was too early to determine whether the group would be involved in Utah.

“That momentum that claimed the position of Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah is not really there right now,” said Jason Perry, head of the Hinckley Institute that has conducted polls of the electorate. He said most Utahans approve of the job Hatch is doing, even if many believe he should step aside.

Chuck Warren, who worked on voter contact and grass-roots consulting on Hatch’s 2012 campaign, said he did not think outside groups would get involved against Hatch this time. He pointed out that those groups are focused defending more vulnerable Republican congressional seats.

“They have bigger problems,” Warren said.       Full Article Here….

 

ABC News Has Given Us the Word of the Week: PALTER

On Saturday, March 12, ABC News with its web edition emblazoned the headline: “Democrats, some Republicans, condemn Preet Bharara being ‘fired’.”

This, folks, is “paltering” and why the press continues to lose credibility with the public – especially conservatives.

Paltering is using truthful facts to deceive. This is what ABC News did sadly and the press we count on to be an honest check and balance and watch dog continually do now. Their motto: “Agenda Trumps Facts.”

If one was to only read the headline, which most people do, one would assume that there are national Republican elected officials upset by the firing of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.  This was not then or now the case.

Read the whole story