Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bad Guns

Image result for FN America FNS-40 pistol
This is the FN America FNS-40 pistol, manufactured by FN America in McLean, Virginia. It's a common firearm in use by law enforcement in the US and the US military. A number of incidents have occurred that bring its reliability into question. Thus 2000 of the pistols used in Baltimore County, Maryland will be replaced by new Atlantic Tactical  Glock 17 Gen5 pistols.

Image result for glock 17 gen 5
The FN-40 had a magazine capacity of 10 or 14 rounds, its replacement 17+1.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

New Fish Torture Record

On October 29 a northern pike caught in May that measured 45 1/4 in length was certified as the largest of its species caught and released in Minnesota.
The big fish was caught, tortured and then released on the Rainy River, a part of the US border with Canada, according to this story. The aquatic predator remains alive so a continued diet of minnows, ducklings and muskrats is likely to allow it to grow even longer and some wily future fisherman will be able to catch it. The very same fish could conceivably eclipse itself in the state record books.

While technology has had a major effect on some aspects of outdoor sports, notably fishing, with its electronic depth finders and sonar, oddly the same has yet to occur in large and small game hunting.

Unlike fishermen, hunters can't successfully release their quarry alive after bagging and measuring them. A 65 inch bull moose must be dead to be authenticated by the Boone and Crockett Club. Hopefully, the same science that has brought us Grand Theft Auto and Facebook will soon develop equipment and techniques that will enable sportsmen to terrify deer, rabbits, ducks and turkeys yet not damage them extensively. Released, they will serve as quarry for other outdoorsmen.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tamara de Lempicka's "The Musician" Auctioned For $9,087,500

Tamara de Lempicka, The Musician    Tamara de Lempicka's 1929 painting  La Musicienne was auctioned off at Christie's for $9.09 million on the evening of Nov. 11, a new auction world record for the artist.

The work was  stolen from the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in Spanbroek, North Holland, 1 May 2009, along with a painting by Salvador Dali, in an audacious day-time armed robbery. Shortly after the theft the remaining paintings in the museum were seized by ABN Amro when Scheringa's DSB bank failed.
by ABN Amro when Scheringa’s DSB bank went bankrupt in November

by ABN Amro when Scheringa’s DSB bank went bankrupt in November


Missing for seven years the pieces were recovered in 2016 by art detective Arthur Brand. Art theft has become a focus for European and perhaps Chinese organized crime. Authorities speculate that valuable art objects might have become a medium of exchange in the criminal underworld, since it's difficult to sell them for cash.

The work of de Lempicka, who died in 1980 in Mexico after spending the last years of her life in Houston, Texas, is a favorite of entertainment glitterati. Jack Nicholson and Madonna are known to be collectors.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mystery White House Intern

White House pushes ridiculous ‘assault’ video to defend ...
In the generally teapot tempest that is the White House press room self-aggrandizing pseudo-journalist Jim Acosta attempted to keep control of a microphone that was being demanded by an unnamed "White House intern" who had apparently been ordered to confiscate it.

There are some questions here that need to be asked. Numero uno, of course, is who is this "White House intern"? What's her life story? Does she have a history of snatching microphones from passive journalists bent on informing the populace of the nefarious activities of the Trump regime? Is she the daughter or wife of a significant figure in US government, politics or business? In the incestuous world of DC, is she the wife or steady of a media operative? What Greek letter sorority at which one of the Seven Sisters claims her as an alumnus? Where did she buy her dress and how much did it cost? Who is she?

Second, what's the chain of command in the White House press room for a microphone confiscation? Who gives the order and what type of situation demands it? What would have been the outcome if the unknown intern had failed in her mission?

Third, why do reporters even need a microphone to ask a question in the press briefing room? Perhaps you might say that possession of the microphone is just a signal that the possessor has the exclusive right to speak. After all, it's not an auditorium. Speakers can be heard from one end to the other without shouting. Or that the questions are being recorded for posterity, as if that microphone was the only one in the room.

Acosta's activities in the press room have been a subject for press coverage since the current president assumed office. During briefings the room is filled with media figures yet an ordinary citizen receives the impression that Acosta has an opportunity to engage more often with administration figures than anyone else. Why might this be? Are the other journalists willing to give up their opportunity to question the powers-that-be in order to observe Acosta's routine? Do administration representatives call on Acosta knowing that there will be an interesting confrontation? Is Acosta a symbiotic partner with the Trump media manipulation machine? How much time, as a percentage of press questioning, did Acosta receive, as opposed to other journalists?

The White House hasn't banned CNN from the press room, only Jim Acosta. It's hard to believe that a national media organization doesn't have a qualified replacement for this prima donna. Isn't there someone waiting in the wings that is at least as capable as he was? If the administration digs in its heels, who is most likely to replace him? Even more interesting, the press has made itself the center of a story. 

The answers to these questions are exactly what the press is supposed to supply to its reader and viewership. They're supposed to come across with the who, what, when, where and why. Eventually, perhaps, some British tabloid  will spill the beans. The US media doesn't seem to have the capability.

The ultimate question is: Why don't we already know all these things?


The White House intern class of spring 2018. Which one is her? By the way, the interns are unpaid.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Univ of Minnesota Women's Basketball

At 3 PM on Dec. 2, 2018 the University of Minnesota women's basketball team will play the US Air Force Academy women's team at Williams Arena on the Minneapolis campus. The Gopher ladies are a dozen of the almost 19,000 females in the student body. Only one of the team members is from the land of 10,000 lakes. 

On the other hand, the US Air Force Academy, which has about 1100 female cadets, has a roster of 20 players, two of whom are Minnesota residents.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Fuel For the Marxist Furnace

Tate Britain Announces Huge Hockney Retrospective, Let the ...

Per Barrons:

David Hockney’s masterpiece, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972, estimated at $80 million, then headlines Christie’s contemporary evening auction on Thursday, Nov. 15. If the 7-foot-by-10-foot painting by Hockney achieves its estimated value, it will be the highest price paid for a work by a living artist, Christie’s says.

“This is really one of the greatest works of the last 40 years,” says Evan Beard, national art services executive at U.S. Trust, the private bank unit of Bank of America. “It's one of the unique paintings that's become a celebrity in its own right.”

Postscript: The Hockney painting was sold for $90.3 million, a new record for a living artist. Keep in mind that Hockney himself didn't receive this sum. The work was owned and sold by British billionaire Joe Lewis.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Civil Asset Forfeiture

CBS News:

"Civil asset forfeiture is a key tool that helps law enforcement help defund organized crime, prevents new crime from committed and weakens the criminals and cartels," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Wednesday announcing the revived DOJ policy.
Sessions said these seizures help weaken criminal organizations by taking away their funding, returning property back to victims of crime, as well as give funds back to law enforcement officials by allocating the assets toward new vehicles, vests and police training.
"Funds being used to take lives are now being used to save lives," said Sessions.
CBS News' Paula Reid reports that 24 states have passed laws limiting the practice, but local law enforcement can get around those restrictions by giving seized assets to the federal government instead of returning them to their owners. This practice is called "adoption" and it's been used to seize almost $1 billion in assets over the last decade.
In an off-camera briefing on Wednesday with reporters, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the forfeiture practice as a way to empower law enforcement. This new policy allows local police to seize property even from people not charged with a crime. About 20 states have reformed the practice and said that assets can only be seized with an indictment or conviction.

As if the country with more people incarcerated than any other on earth needs its law enforcement to be more empowered. Now former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions will advance the cause of government theft from some other position.

His interim replacement, Mathew G. Whitaker:  While US Attorney, Whitaker served on the Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture Subcommittee of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, a group of 30 United States Attorneys across the country focusing on the Department of Justice's efforts against drug trafficking. Additionally, he was a member of the Violent and Organized Crime Subcommittee and the White Collar Crime Subcommittee of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee.

We don't know for sure but it's possible that Whitaker will also have an enthusiasm for confiscating the property of Americans without charging them with any crime.