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Oh my: Sinclair making a play for Hannity?

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I say this no more than half-jokingly: The only proper replacement for Hannity at 9 p.m. on Fox would be Trump broadcasting live from the White House for an hour, riffing on whatever he wants to riff on. A nightly national rally, five nights a week.

Well, four nights. Hosts often get Fridays off, especially during the summer. Jared could sit in for him.

Hannity is supposedly signed at Fox through 2020, which means one of two things is true. It could be that Sinclair is thinking long-term here. They’re plotting to build a national competitor to Fox but it won’t be ready tomorrow. It might not be ready at all, in fact, if their merger with Tribune Media isn’t approved by the feds. Maybe they’re not expecting to launch until 2020 at the earliest anyway and are approaching Hannity now because it’s never too early to start pitching him on a career-changing idea.

The other possibility is that Hannity has an out clause in his contract, possibly a “key man” provision tied to Roger Ailes, and Sinclair is aiming to swipe him right out from under Fox later this year or next. Hmmmm.

As its executive chairman David Smith prepares to launch a competitor to Fox News, he has met in the last few months with the executive producer of Hannity’s top-rated show on Fox, Porter Berry, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

Berry is not the only person connected to Hannity who Smith has gone after. The Sinclair boss has also been wooing Sean Compton, a Tribune Media programming executive who is close friends with the Fox host…

Smith has yet to settle firmly on his plans for a Fox News rival, which are contingent on Sinclair’s $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media being approved by the Federal Communications Commission, but he has been laying out a vision for a three-to-six hour primetime conservative cable news block.

Third possibility: Sinclair would like to sign Hannity but more than anything they want it known to Trump that they’d like to sign Hannity (and Jeanine Pirro, whom they’ve also been sniffing around), whether they actually do or not. If you’re a conservative media company awaiting merger approval from Trump’s FCC, it can only help your chances if the president knows you’re a fan of his favorite TV host — and “shadow” chief of staff — and are eager to amplify his message if approval is granted.

The benefits to Sinclair of landing Hannity are obvious. It would put them on the conservative media map instantly, announcing their arrival as a rival to Fox with fanfare. And Hannity’s the one host at Fox who might be capable of taking his audience with him if he left. Other big-name Foxies like O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly have either dived overboard or been tossed and the FNC juggernaut has sailed on, assured that their viewers will stay put because in the end they’re the only right-wing game in town on cable news. (Sorry, OANN.) If Sinclair touches down and Hannity climbs aboard, though, that changes in the biggest possible way. Hannity also occupies a niche that literally no one else in television shares, including Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham: His nightly message is invariably in sync on every point with that of his close personal friend, the president. If you’re a Trump junkie, you simply will not find a hit as potent anywhere else on television. And needless to say, if Sinclair landed him it would immediately raise their stock in the eyes of Trump himself, which might lead to some presidential plugs on Twitter or an exclusive interview or two. Gaining Trump’s public approval would be important to the network as de facto “permission” for longtime Fox fans to give the new network a try. Hannity could deliver it.

What does Hannity get out of the deal, though? He’d be taking a major professional risk, and for what? He doesn’t need the money. Sinclair could promise to make him the face of the network but he’s already the biggest name at Fox and seems to operate with complete freedom in his 9 p.m. enclave. (I remind you that he wasn’t so much as wrist-slapped by Fox for covering Michael Cohen on his show without ever mentioning that Cohen considers him a client.) The lure, I assume, would be the pure challenge of trying to launch a fledgling Fox competitor to the top of the ratings, but that might end up with him having a smaller audience in perpetuity than he ever had at Fox. Not all of his viewers will follow him, after all; depending upon who replaces him at 9, Fox fans might conclude that the new guy delivers the daily talking points about as well as Hannity does and therefore there’s no need to change the channel. Hannity jumping ship would essentially be a test of whether his brand or the Fox brand is chiefly responsible for the size of his audience at 9. Literally every time that test has been taken by other hosts, the Fox brand has won. It could be different with him, but how much of his stature would he want to bet on it?

As for Fox, who could they conceivably get to replace him? I don’t think you could sub in a generic talking-points machine like Tomi Lahren at 9 p.m. to replace the biggest name on the network. They’d either need to get someone who already has a big following (Mark Levin, maybe? Would he be willing to compete with Hannity?) or, more likely, they’d move Ingraham to 9 and give someone less tested like Lahren the 10 p.m. slot to see what she could do with it.

Here’s Hannity yesterday congratulating Ingraham on how rockin’ Fox’s primetime ratings have remained despite losing three-quarters of the line-up in the past few years. Maybe four quarters soon!

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Previously Deported Illegal Alien Charged with Brutal Murder of Shakopee, MN Woman

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Minnesota officials charged Fraider Diaz-Carbajal from Mexico with the brutal murder of his former girlfriend in Shakopee, Minnesota earlier this month.

Fraider Diaz-Carbajal had been previously deported but told the court he has lived in the are for 18 years.
Fraider does not speak English and needed a translator.

He stabbed his former girlfriend several times before cutting his own neck.

SW News Media reported:

A 27-year-old woman who was killed in Shakopee on Aug. 12 has been identified as Enedelia Perez Garcia, 27, and today prosecutors charged Fraider Diaz-Carbajal, 35, 1279 Taylor St. Unit 6, with second-degree murder (not premeditated) in her death. Police say he was in the country illegally after being deported in 2014.

At about 4:02 p.m. on Aug. 12, Shakopee police were dispatched to a fight call involving a knife at 1279 Taylor St., No. 6., and while on the way to the Taylor Ridge Towhomes, they were told a male had a knife and a female was possibly dead.

According to the charging documents, officers found a bloody scene in the upstairs bedroom: Diaz-Carbajal was lying with his head resting on the stomach and chest of a woman who was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall and did not appear to be breathing. Diaz-Carbajal’s throat was cut with a 6 to 8-inch-long laceration and there were several stab wounds in his abdomen. He was “taking occasional breaths and moving” and a large, bloody knife was at his left side.

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Can AI produce fine art?

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We don’t normally cover the fine art beat here for obvious reasons, but there was a sale of a painting to a French collector in February which drew some attention. Another work by the same artist is going on sale at Christie’s presently. They works are going for some impressive amounts of money, but that’s not what makes the story interesting. The artist is an Artificial Intelligence program from a company named Obvious. (Time)

Hanging inside a gold frame on a pristine white wall in Christie’s Central London Gallery is a dark, moody portrait of a man in Puritan-style black clothes—the work, it seems, of some Old Master. But scrawled in the bottom right corner, there’s an unexpected signature: a mathematical equation.

This is Edmond de Belamy by French art collective Obvious—or, more accurately, by an algorithm designed by Obvious.

“The whole process is about humans having as little input as possible in the finished piece,” says Gauthier Vernier, one of three 25 year-old French men who started Obvious in April 2017 out of their apartment in Paris. Since then, by teaching a computer about art history and showing it how to make its own work, Obvious have produced 11 artworks with the help of artificial intelligence.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the technical particulars behind this since you can read them all at the article and at the Obvious Art website if you wish. The short version is that they developed an algorithm that scanned a vast number of paintings taken from classical art. It uses something called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) which randomly generate images meeting certain criteria (a face has two eyes, one nose, one mouth, etc.) and the program “tests” each image itself to see if it can tell whether it’s original art or a computer generation. The results do indeed resemble portraits.

Here’s the real question: Is this art? Allow me to offer the definitive answers (plural) because it works both ways.

First… Yes. This is art.

But that answer comes with a caveat. Anything can be art because art is in the eye of the beholder. You can walk down the beach, find a particularly interesting looking piece of driftwood, take it home, clean it up and mount it on a wooden base. If you find it attractive, if it brings you pleasure, if your friends come over and compliment you on it… it’s art. And that’s only good art I’m talking about. Some of the crap put out by human beings as “modern art” is total garbage. If a crucifix in a jar of urine or three basketballs shoved into a broken fish tank (I actually saw that one in a gallery in New York City some years ago) qualify as art, then anything this robot spits out can certainly bear the name.

Second… No. This is definitely not art.

What they are presenting is a painting. But it didn’t come from an original thought or moment of inspiration in a mind, human or otherwise. They fed a bunch of examples into a program and had it randomly place zeros and ones corresponding to random colors until it generated something which matched certain test criteria that the programmers defined as being “art.” There was no feeling, no intent nor even any knowledge in the “mind” of the program of what it was doing. It was solving a math problem by randomly guessing combinations until it arrived at some solutions which met those design criteria.

It also wasn’t “painted” in any way that requires effort, training or involves risk of messing up a brush stroke. I had to search for a while to find out how the actual, physical paintings are created, but the AI only generates an image file. It’s then fed into a fancy laserjet printer which is set up to print on canvas instead of paper. Then a human being took it out and mounted it in a frame. An artist could never reproduce one of their painting precisely by hand. There would always be at least minute differences. Obvious could crank out the same portrait a thousand times and they would all be the same.

This isn’t even artificial intelligence as near as I can see. And it’s certainly not fine art. You could switch out the canvas for paper and it would be making interesting posters. If some rich collector wants to go to Christie’s and lay out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for one of these creations, that’s up to them. But save up your money, because Obvious can produce thousands more for you in no time at all.

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President Trump Responds to Manafort Conviction “Nothing to do With Russian Collusion” (VIDEO)

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“NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIAN COLLUSION” – President Trump

President Trump responded Tuesday afternoon after a jury found his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on 8 felony counts.

The President spoke to the press shortly after he landed in Charleston, West Virginia as he headed to his rally.

“It doesn’t involve me but I still feel really sad…you know it’s a very sad thing that happened. This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion…this has absolutely nothing to do…this is a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace,” Trump said.

President Trump also said that he feels very bad for Paul Manafort. “He worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Ronald Reagan…” Trump continued.

The President didn’t answer any questions about his former lawyer Michael Cohen who just pleaded guilty to 8 counts; his plea deal includes 3-5 years jail time.

VIDEO:


After four days of deliberations, the jury reached a verdict on 8 counts and could not make a decision on 10 counts in the tax evasion and bank fraud case against Paul Manafort.

Judge Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 counts. The jury found Manafort guilty on 8 counts.

Both Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort were hunted down by Mueller and his thugs because of their association with Donald Trump.

We currently have a two-tiered justice system because AG Sessions is AWOL.

One set of laws for Trump and his supporters and another set of laws for Democrats and Clinton-Deep State cronies.

H/T: Zero Hedge

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