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SCOTUS: California county can regulate gun stores out of existence

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This actually happened on Monday evening but we didn’t get around to tagging it until today. SCOTUS had been petitioned to review the case of Teixeira vs. Alameda County, a California suit brought by prospective gun shop owners who were blocked from setting up their new store by a county ordinance. Challenging the state law (which banned the establishment of new gun shops in unincorporated areas within a certain distance of residences, schools or daycare facilities), the plaintiffs had a seesaw battle in the lower courts, finally having to appeal it all the way to the top after losing out in the 9th Circuit.

Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, on Monday evening the Supreme Court announced without further comment or dissent that they would not be accepting the case and would allow the 9th Circuit ruling to stand. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge by would-be gun dealers and a firearms organization to an Alameda County ordinance that bans new gun stores in unincorporated areas within 500 feet of a residential neighborhood, school or day care center.

The justices left intact a federal appeals court ruling that said the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects only the right to keep and bear arms, not the right to sell them. Lawyers for the county said similar buffer-zone ordinances are in effect in 17 other cities and counties in California, including San Francisco, Oakland and Contra Costa County.

The 1998 Alameda County ordinance was challenged by three businessmen who wanted to open a gun shop in an unincorporated area near San Leandro, 446 feet away from the nearest home on the other side of Interstate 880.

As much as it may surprise you to read it here and as much as it pains me to say it, I think the Supremes may have gotten this one right. It’s true that the Second Amendment makes no mention of the right to sell arms, simply to keep and bear them. Granted, if the state can be shown to be making it impossible (or at least presenting a significant obstacle) for people to acquire firearms then you might have a case to argue. But in this instance, there were already ten gun shops in the county and one of them was in operation literally 600 feet from the proposed location of the new shop.

Rather than fighting this battle as a Second Amendment case, perhaps the plaintiffs could have made an argument based on suppression of trade or something along those lines But even then we’ve seen the courts be fairly generous toward state and local governments when it comes to zoning issues.

None of that detracts from the obvious intent of the law, which was precisely crafted to thwart the sale of guns since they can’t overturn the Second Amendment entirely. One of the anti-gun group spokespeople was quoted as calling the ruling, “an important victory for local governments seeking to keep the sale and spread of guns away from kids and residential areas.” This is, of course, nonsense. Stopping a new gun shop from opening up within walking distance of an existing one does nothing of the kind. And even if there wasn’t a gun shop within twenty miles, anyone with enough money to purchase a decent firearm can probably afford a car or at least a cab ride to go buy one elsewhere and bring it back home.

Still, the anti-gun crowd will be able to chalk this one up as yet another backdoor method of harassing gun shop owners and inflicting additional damage to the industry. And that was obviously their goal all along.

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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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