5/28/2017

Sometimes F is just a letter





Midway through the film, after we've listened to stories that may or may not be true about Mr. de Hory's success in supplying the art world with fake Matisses, Picassos and Modigilianis, Mr. Welles reminds us that there are no signatures on the cathedral at Chartres. Chartres needs no “experts” to authenticate its grandeur, he says. “Experts” are the villains of “F for Fake'—people who must tell us whether we should swoon when looking at a particular painting or turn up our noses in disgust.









Video game titles created by a neural network trained on 146,000

games:

  • Conquestress (1981, Data East) (Arcade)
  • Deep Golf (1985, Siny Computer Entertainment) (MS-DOS)
  • Brain Robot Slam (1984, Gremlin Graphics) (Apple IIe)
  • King of Death 2: The Search of the Dog Space (2010, Capcom;Br�derbund Studios) (Windows)
  • Babble Imperium (1984, Paradox Interactive) (ZX Spectrum)
  • High Episode 2: Ghost Band (1984, Melbourne Team) (Apple IIe)
  • Spork Demo (?, ?) (VIC-20)
  • Alien Pro Baseball (1989, Square Enix) (Arcade)
  • Black Mario (1983, Softsice) (Linux/Unix)
  • Jort: The Shorching (1991, Destomat) (NES)
  • Battle for the Art of the Coast (1997, Jaleco) (GBC)
  • Soccer Dragon (1987, Ange Software) (Amstrad CPC)
  • Mutant Tycoon (2000, Konami) (GBC)
  • Bishoujo no Manager (2003, author) (Linux/Unix)
  • Macross Army (Defenders Ball House 2: League Alien) (1991, Bandai) (NES)
  • The Lost of the Sand Trades 2000 (1990, Sega) (SNES)
  • Pal Defense (1987, author) (Mac)

5/19/2017

5/14/2017






5/11/2017

Follow the resources


Days Before Firing, Comey Asked for More Resources for Russia Inquiry

This NYT article has been expanded bigly since it first appeared yesterday. With so many (necessary) descriptions of procedure and bureaucratic hierarchy it's going to be challenging to keep track of any meaningful information these "Russia Inquiries" produce (assuming there are any). With that in mind, let's not underestimate the importance of entertainment value. Without that there would be no history at all. So it was, I admit, a slight sense of relief  that I felt upon learning of little-known bureau which operates out of a toilet bowl-shaped building in the suburbs of Washington
...Two separate congressional inquiries into Russian meddling are relying on evidence and intelligence being amassed by the F.B.I., and if the bureau’s investigation falters, the congressional inquiries are likely to be hobbled. Perhaps for this reason, Mr. Comey’s firing appears to have imbued the Senate Intelligence Committee with a renewed sense of urgency.
The committee issued its first subpoena in the Russia investigation on Wednesday, ordering Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, to hand over records of any emails, phone calls, meetings and financial dealings with Russians.
It was an aggressive new tack in what had been a slowly unfolding inquiry. A day earlier, the Senate panel began pressing a little-known government bureau that tracks money laundering and terrorism financing for leads in the Russian investigation...
{...}

...Wednesday, Mr. Burr and Mr. Warner asked the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for financial information on Mr. Trump and some of his associates that was relevant to the Russia investigation.
Both Mr. Warner and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon — the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee with jurisdiction over the Treasury Department and also a member of the Intelligence Committee — have said they will block the confirmation of Sigal Mandelker, Mr. Trump’s nominee to be the top Treasury official for terrorism and financial crimes, until the network delivers the information.
“I have stated repeatedly that we have to follow the money if we are going to get to the bottom of how Russia has attacked our democracy,” Mr. Wyden said on Wednesday. “That means thoroughly review any information that relates to financial connections between Russia and President Trump and his associates, whether direct or laundered through hidden or illicit transactions.”
The little-known bureau, which operates out of a toilet bowl-shaped building in the suburbs of Washington, serves as the financial intelligence network of the United States, gathering and maintaining a vast collection of data on transactions and suspicious financial activity that can yield valuable leads and help expose hard-to-find networks.
The financial crimes network would not confirm its participation in the inquiry, in line with its policy not to comment on investigations or even confirm that they exist, said Steve Hudak, a spokesman.
But financial intelligence experts, including several former employees of the bureau, said its database, which contains more than 200 million records, can be a treasure trove of information about financial ties between individuals and companies for law enforcement agencies pursuing complex investigations.

5/10/2017






NYT: Comey Asked for Money for Russia Investigation

NYT:

Days Before He Was Fired, Comey Asked for Money for Russia Investigation

Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in money and personnel for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to three officials with knowledge of his request.

Mr. Comey asked for the resources during a meeting last week with Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who wrote the Justice Department’s memo that was used to justify the firing of the F.B.I. director this week.

Mr. Comey then briefed members of Congress on the meeting in recent days.

UPDATE:

This NY Times article has been updated, adding additional sources and a quote from Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores denying Comey had asked for more funding.

Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to four congressional officials, including Senator Richard J. Durbin.

Mr. Comey made his appeal to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who also wrote the Justice Department’s memo that was used to justify the firing of Mr. Comey this week, the officials said.
“I’m told that as soon as Rosenstein arrived, there was a request for additional resources for the investigation and that a few days afterwards, he was sacked,” said Mr. Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois. “I think the Comey operation was breathing down the neck of the Trump campaign and their operatives, and this was an effort to slow down the investigation.”

{...}

...The F.B.I. declined to comment. But Sarah Isgur Flores, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said “the idea that he asked for more funding” for the Russia investigation was “totally false.” She did not elaborate.

In his briefing with members of Congress, Mr. Comey said he had been frustrated with the amount of resources being dedicated to the Russia investigation, according to two of the officials.




Following the trail of tweets for clues



Josh Marshall

Without the need of an argument or storyline, I want to put together some key facts tied to last night’s events...
{...}


...Five:There have been various press reports about how long Trump had been planning to fire Comey or considering firing him. But most settle on the importance of one week. Sometimes it’s about a week, or at least a week, or a week – but one week comes up in almost every account. What happened one week before yesterday, May 9th? Notably, exactly 7 days earlier Trump launched what was then his most recent tweetstorm against Comey. This was the first of two tweets on May 2nd.
That tweet was from late on the evening before what proved to be Comey’s final testimony to Congress as FBI Director. In the event, the headlines from the May 3rd testimony turned mainly on Comey’s defense of his oversight of the Clinton probe. But his earlier testimony on March 20th was the first official confirmation that the FBI was probing collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. That must have been emblazoned in Trump’s memory.






5/08/2017

NYT: Ms. Le Pen failed to “undemonize,” spectacularly.




Mr. Brown was probably trying to make the point that video games are held to a different, higher standard than books. That is true, but it brings to mind the fact that “All Quiet,” both as a book and as a film, was quite important in helping to undemonize Germany in the interwar period. “All Quiet” helped establish the idea among Americans that the Germans were an essentially honorable foe and that all men at arms ultimately have more in common than politicians would have us believe.


October 17, 2015 Daniel Kreps Rolling Stone

Just days after the first Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders visited Real Time With Bill Maher Friday, where the host, a Sanders supporter, hoped to "un-demonize" the word "socialist," a term that scares off 53-percent of voters.


Apr 27, 2017
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s success in the first round of elections was widely attributed to her hard-fought effort to “detoxify” her far-right National Front party of the anti-Semitism that marked its past, and to root out Holocaust minimizers from its leadership. There was even a French word coined for the effort, d√©diabolisationliterally, “undemonization.”



In the end Ms. Le Pen failed to “undemonize,” spectacularly. She failed during the course of the campaign, when her angry rallies drew the Front inexorably back into the swamp from which it had emerged. And then she failed decisively in one of the campaign’s critical moments, last week’s debate with Mr. Macron, when she effectively “redemonized” herself and the party, as many French commentators noted.