Saturday, October 21, 2017

Legal Fees

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U.S. District Judge John Tunheim oversaw the case of Stephanie Jenkins vs. Ted Swem. Jenkins was suing Swem for an incident of sexual harassment that had occured in 2011. This article tells us what happened. After a jury verdict found Swem guilty, Justice Tunheim awarded Jenkins a symbolic $1 and ordered Swem to pay court costs of $18,900 and $305,000 in legal fees to Jenkins' attorneys, who had presented a bill for $802,000 for their work on the case.


Stephanie Jenkins in 2011.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

150 Years Ago Alaska Becomes Part Of The US

From the Fairbanks News-Miner:

It was in August 1867, for example, that Secretary of State William H. Seward, who secured the purchase of Alaska from Russia at a price of $7.2 million, issued his instructions to the man who would become the first overseer of the new U.S. possession, Brig. Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau.
Secretary Seward began his Aug. 7, 1867 dispatch to Gen. Rousseau as follows:
“General: You will herewith receive the warrant of the president, under the great seal of the United States, appointing you commissioner on behalf of this government, to receive from a similar officer appointed on behalf of the imperial government of Russia, the territory ceded by that government to the United States, pursuant to the treaty of the 30th of March last.
“On arriving at Sitka, the principal town in the ceded territory, you will receive from the Russian commissioner the formal transfer of that territory, under mutual salutes from artillery, in which the United States will take the lead….”
The secretary continued with detailed instructions on what types of property would come into U.S. possession and what would remain private. He wrote of the holdings of the Greco-Russian church and what the Russian-American Co. would be allowed to do to wind down its operations.
And he concluded with a comment about relations between the U.S. and Russia.
“It is expected that, in the transaction of the important business hereby entrusted to you, it will be borne in mind that, in making the cession of the territory referred to, his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias has been actuated by a desire of giving a signal proof of that friendship for the United States which has characterized his own reign and that of his illustrious predecessors. It is hoped, therefore, that all your intercourse with the Russian commissioner will be friendly, courteous and frank. This department understands from the president that, upon the conclusion of the business with the Russian commissioner, you will have command in the territory, to be exercised under the orders of the war department.”
Gen. Rousseau supplied a quite lengthy report to Secretary Seward dated Dec. 5, 1867, detailing the transfer ceremony — as well as some of his difficulty in reaching Sitka, known as New Archangel, or Novo-Arkhangelsk, under Russian rule, and the bureaucratic work of the transfer itself, such as taking inventory of the holdings in Sitka.
“...We cast anchor in the harbor of New Archangel on the 18th of October, at eleven o’clock a m., where we found the troops and supplies had preceded us several days. The day was bright and beautiful. We landed immediately, and fixed the hour of three and a half o’clock that day for the transfer...
“The command of General Davis, about two hundred and fifty strong, in full uniform, armed and handsomely equipped, were landed about three o’clock, and marched up to the top of the eminence on which stands the governor’s house, where the transfer was to be made. At the same time a company of Russian soldiers were marched to the ground, and took their place upon the left of the flag-staff, from which the Russian flag was then floating. The command of General Davis was formed under his direction on the right. The United States flag to be raised on the occasion was in care of a color guard — a lieutenant, a sergeant and ten men of General Davis’ command...
“...the ceremony was begun by lowering the Russian flag. As it began its descent down the flag staff the battery of the Ossipee, with large nine-inch guns, led off in the salute, peal after peal crashing and re-echoing in the gorges of the surrounding mountains, answered by the Russian water battery (a battery on the wharf) firing alternately...
“The United States flag (the one given to me for that purpose, by your direction, at Washington) was then properly attached and began its ascent, hoisted by my private secretary, George Lovell Rousseau, and again the salutes were fired as before, the Russian water battery leading off. The flag was so hoisted that in the instant it reached its place the report of the last big gun of the Ossipee reverberated from the mountains around. The salutes being completed, Captain Pestchouroff stepped up to me and said: ‘General Rousseau, by authority from his Majesty, the Emperor of Russia, I transfer to the United States the Territory of Alaska,’ and in as few words I acknowledged the acceptance of the transfer, and the ceremony was at an end.”
The U.S. issued a check to Russia on Aug. 1, 1868. The Russians cashed it two weeks later.
Today we celebrate Alaska Day, 150 years as a possession of the United States.
 Information and documents about the 150th anniversary of the Alaska purchase and transfer can be found at the Alaska Historical Society website at this shortened address: Here is the society’s main website:
Here is a shortened link to the Library of Congress website about the Alaska purchase:

 Alaska’s top destinations

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tesla Service Centers

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In the US there are currently 70 Tesla Service Centers in 25 states. If you live in Havre, Montana the closest service center to you will be in Salt Lake City, 683 miles away.

2017 National Sports Center Track Cycling All-Star Team

The state fair has come and gone, there's no more brats in the refrigerator and the wild turkey chicks are just as big as their mothers. Summer, and the track cycling season in the Twin Cities, has come to a close for another year. It's time for the subjective selection of the most impressive riders for 2017.

Nikki Munvez, has made steady progress as she's moved up the ranks of the ladies peloton. She not only outpointed most of the local competition but was also the winner of the lady's division of the National Cycle Courier contest in Milwaukee.

Junior rider Peter Moore made his presence felt on multiple fronts. Generally a winner at the NSC Velodrome he was also a star at the 2017 USA Cycling Elite Juniors Track Nationals in Carson, CA , July 31-Aug 5, winning gold in Jr. Men's Individual Pursuit, Sprint and Points race as well as a silver in the time trial.

Minneapolis firefighter Dan Casper is a familiar sight leading the pack across the finish line at NSC Velodrome endurance events and this year was no exception. A consistent performer at both the national and international master's competitions, Dan is a reigning world's masters champion in the individual pursuit, scratch race and team pursuit along with NSC Velodrome rider Tim Mulrooney.

Fuerza rider Anna Schmitz has determinedly worked her way up through the competition and is now a leader in the women's peloton.

Erin Porter grinds her way to victory on a regular basis in the Cat. 4 women's contests. She won't be Cat. 4 for long.

Fan favorite Cat. 3 racer Lionel Space annually makes his way to the NSC Velodrome from Phoenix and teaches some lessons to the kids for a couple of weeks.

 Swaziland native, Macalester College alum and Medtronic employee Mandla Shongwe has quickly taken to track cycling and become a force in the Cat 4 ranks.

Category 3 Tacocat rider Risa Hustad races sled dogs around Ely, MN when there's too much snow for track cycling.

Lady's track rider of the year for 2016 and 2017 Anya Malarski sits down to a big meal after a race like all competitive cyclists.

Strong man Andy Keough moved up to Cat 1/2 this season and put serious pressure on the men's peloton.

Men's track rider of the year is all-around riding star Brandon Krawcyzk.

Clayton Shepard put the hurt on the competition both locally and at the 2017 Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles, winning two gold medals in his division.

Sprinter Linsey Hamilton has been an all-star for a long time and remains one to this day.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Guy That Caught The Homer

Sunday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum the division play-off game between the Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs ended with a walk-off three run home run by Dodger third baseman Justin Turner. As explained in this account the ball was caught by a fan who has made a habit of snaring consequential long fly balls. Keith Hupp's hobby is attending Dodger games with his baseball glove in hopes of catching dingers.

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There might be a certain amount of human interest in this story but more significant are the circumstances of Mr. Hupp himself.

 "Hupp, 54, retired from the South Gate Police Department in 2013 after attaining the rank of captain. He lives in San Gabriel, the city where he was born and raised."

This well-fed former public employee retired at age 50. No doubt he has more profitable things to do than watch soap operas during normal working hours but we don't how he actually spends his time. We do know, however, that if things work out the taxpayers of some region of California are going to be on the hook for his retirement benefits for perhaps 30 years or more. It's obvious why California has fiscal problems. According to this site the lucky Mr. Hupp's annual pension is $152,625.72. For you blue collar folks that translates to $73.38 per hour, based on a 40 hour week. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Exploring the Harvey Weinstein Mess

Most of the commentary on the revelation that hugely successful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is a lecher has dwelt on that simple fact. He was able to engage in his swinish conduct because he was a rich and powerful figure in not only the movie industry but also in progressive politics, able to dole out career-enhancing roles and contribute money to favored politicians. He had power over the power-less and the ostensibly powerful both. He delighted in making use of this power in disgusting ways. That's only a part of the story, however. The repulsive wretch could indulge his vices only because others wanted what he had to offer.

Obese, obnoxious, unattractive Harvey Weinstein is 65 years old. His attractive actress and fashion designer wife Georgina Chapman is 41, an age difference of 24 years and not an unusual match in the elevated society of finance and entertainment. It's difficult to believe that if Weinstein had been limo driver for Miramax or a janitor at some sound stage that he and Miss Chapman would have become a couple. The chemistry that brought these two together is obvious to even the slightly cynical. Weinstein acquired a trophy wife and Chapman found access to funding and influence that would advance the interests of her clothing label.

Not to say that there's anything wrong with this. Relationships have been based on those kind of considerations for as long as humans have existed. At the same time, we should realize that women are willing to engage in a relationship with a slob if there's a reward down the line.  See Mrs. Bill Clinton, Huma Abedin, and many others. We don't know what innocent females expected when entering the presence of the bloated cinema genius but we can guess.

Of note is the fact that the reporter who wrote the expose' of Weinstein's misogyny is Ronan Farrow, son of Mia Farrow. Mia Farrow married singing and acting legend Frank Sinatra when she was 21. Sinatra was a handsome, talented and wealthy man but he was also 61 years old at the time.

Another aspect of the Weinstein crisis is the rejection of his $5 million donation for  an endowment for women filmmakers at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Chances are that if Weinstein, probably having well-clogged arteries, had left this mortal coil a couple of months ago his donation would have been cheerfully accepted by the feminine auteurs. Maybe a chair at the university would have been established in his name or, even better, his name might have been emblazoned over the doors of a campus theater. This is the danger of memorializing still-living financial benefactors. They sometimes turn out to be scoundrels.

Even those that seem to be worthy of remembrance at a particular time and place after their demise can sometimes undergo reconsideration in the future. We can't be too careful about whom we honor.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Worried About North Korean Missiles?

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Move into this before it's too late. Probably need some water storage and an electrical generator, too.