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PASPA part two? Hatch pushes for federal control over sports gambling after SCOTUS loss

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down the law Congress passed 26 years ago that forbade 49 state legislatures from allowing sports gambling. That doesn’t make the issue dead in the water, at least not for one of the original authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Sen. Orrin Hatch plans to use his last year in office creating new legislation that will allow Congress to impose federal regulation of any interstate sports gambling, especially in the online arena, so to speak:

“The problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago,”Hatch said. “But the rapid rise of the Internet means that sports betting across state lines is now just a click away. We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena. I invite stakeholders and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in addressing this important issue.”

Note that this is quite a bit different than PASPA. The law overturned by the Supreme Court in Murphy v NCAA flat-out prohibited states other than Nevada from legalizing sports gambling — but didn’t ban it, either. That ran afoul of the anti-commandeering principle embodied in the Tenth Amendment, Justice Samuel Alito ruled in his majority opinion. If the federal government wants to ban sports gambling or regulate it directly, Alito suggested, it has the authority to do so, but not to tell state legislatures that it must act in a certain manner absent that federal action.

Can Hatch make the sale on federal control over sports gambling? He will have some powerful allies on his side:

The National Basketball Association and National Football League called for a federal framework that would apply to all states moving forward with sports gambling legislation.

“We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”

The NFL said in a statement that it would ask Congress to “enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting.”

Major League Baseball said it would “continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”

The question ahead for members of Congress, and especially for Republicans and conservatives, will be just how much federal control they’re willing to impose. The party and the movement has changed since 1992, I write in my column at The Week, growing more libertarian. There may not be as much appetite for expanding federal control over sporting issues as there was 26 years ago:

In one sense, this ruling should please conservatives. The Supreme Court has not often gone out of its way to strengthen the Tenth Amendment, a key constitutional touchstone for small-government activistsMurphy v. NCAA had already been cited as a potential game-changer for limiting Washington’s power — an antidote to previous expansive precedent on the Commerce Clause, starting with Wickard v. Filburn.

Justice Samuel Alito didn’t upend Wickard or limit the Commerce Clause in his governing opinion. However, he did set a hard limit on Congress’ ability to dictate what state legislatures can and cannot do without enacting a full federal prohibition on an activity, which PASPA avoided. The Constitution allots limited authority to Congress, Alito wrote, but “all other legislative power is reserved for the states, as the Tenth Amendment confirms.” Alito added: “And conspicuously absent from the list of powers given to Congress is the power to issue direct orders to the governments of the states.” …

When he co-wrote PASPA in 1992, Hatch was one of the stronger conservative voices in the upper chamber. At that time, the three-legged stool of the right still prevailed: social conservatism, fiscal discipline, and a strong military. Hatch’s PASPA fell clearly into the first leg, a moral stricture against vice that has the potential to corrupt not just governments but souls.

The world has changed since those days, and so has conservatism. While abortion still occupies its own place in the conservative agenda, the prominence of other social issues has fallen in favor of a more libertarian approach. Younger voters see issues like gambling and recreational use of marijuana as personal choices more than moral or public policy issues. In March, for the first time ever, Gallup found a majority of Republicans in favor of marijuana legalization, noting that “the trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades.”

In those areas, Republicans have often argued that these issues are best left to the states, not to the federal government. That may be tougher to argue when dealing with online gambling, but states can and do regulate online commerce within their own sovereignties, as tax collections demonstrate. The question will be this: do we really want to expand federal government into more areas of personal choice and/or to act as the guarantor of private industry? The sports leagues seem to have survived for decades well enough with Nevada’s legalized sports betting and lots of illegal sports betting taking place everywhere else, enabled by online communications.

If nothing else, this will set up an interesting debate on the Right over the principles of smaller government, states’ rights, and moral signaling.

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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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