If Detroit Cares About Its Future - and Art - It Will Sell its Museum's Masterpieces

This story originally appeared at The Daily Beast on December 11. Read it there.

If you really want to make jaws drop in polite conversation, don’t waste your time suggesting that bankrupt Detroit merely stiff its pensioners and creditors harder than John Holmes did his costars in 1976’s Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here. Instead, suggest that the city unload its little-seen yet high-valued art collection hiding in plain sight at The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

Don’t get me wrong: In its attempts to deal with an estimated $18 billion in debt, Motown will absolutely be giving out buzzcuts worthy of an Army barber to everyone who has ever drawn a paycheck from City Hall or was stupid enough to lend it money. But with a collection valued at somewhere between $452 million and $866 million, the DIA’s collection—featuring pieces by Picasso, van Gogh, Matisse, and other masters—should absolutely be on the market.

Critics of the idea consider such an option not only “delusional” but reminiscent of Stalinist art sell-offs during the 1930s. “Michiganders might remember that in the 1920s and ’30s, the cash-hungry Soviet government sold off Russia’s art treasures, dispersing them to other countries,” sniffs Judith H. Dobrzynski in TheWall Street Journal. “Today, that episode is viewed as a national tragedy.” That may well be true, but if so, it’s among the least objectionable crimes against humanity perpetrated by the USSR. After all, they didn’t destroy the art—they merely sent it to places where it could be appreciated without fear of execution.

Let’s get real: What sort of message would it send to current and future residents—not to mention current and future bondholders—if Detroit refuses to put everything on the table? You can’t eat the DIA’s “Still Life With Fruit, Vegatables, and Dead Game,” no matter how well-rendered, and for most of the past 80 years, the city has been subsidizing not just the day-to-day running of the museum but also its acquisitions. Such spendthrift priorities are one small reason why the burg is in such bad shape to begin with (and also why the city has relatively clear title to the artworks under consideration).

Building a future around a slogan like Detroit: Come for the Bankruptcy but Stay for the Bruegel is no way to resurrect a city whose population peaked back in 1950. As urban theorist Joel Kotkin has put it, “We get it wrong. We think the cultural amenities drives the prosperity [in cities], when it’s really the prosperity that drives the cultural amenities.” Artifacts from past periods of wealth—especially publicly funded museums, sports stadiums, orchestras, and the like—are luxury goods that never pay for themselves, either directly or indirectly. Detroit can rebuild its municipally owned art collection if and when it can afford to cover expenses related to activities beyond the core functions of government. Until then, let the bidding begin!

Indeed, the case for selling off the collection is arguably even stronger from an art lover’s perspective. If art exists to be seen, Detroit is a terrible location for any piece worth a damn. As Virginia Postrel has written, in fiscal 2012, the DIA drew just 498,000 visits, or “barely 1,000 more than it drew in 1928.” The numbers were up in fiscal 2013, which ended in June, partly because the DIA no longer charges an admission fee to residents of the surrounding area. (That’s because they are paying higher property taxes to fund the museum.)

Postrel notes that various galleries and museums in cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and elsewhere have seen huge booms in population and have recently ponied up millions of dollars to buy coveted works. Last year, she writes, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which has shown interest in buying major pieces, pulled 1.2 million patrons “to a collection whose most impressive asset is the building in which it is housed.”

Selling off Detroit’s enviable art collection thus represents a truly rare win-win on public policy: The city will get much-needed cash that might help it reboot itself, and museums in places that are thriving will be able to add to their offerings. Nobody in their right mind would think of denying Motown residents the right to flee the city in search of a brighter future. It shouldn’t really be any different for works by Rodin, Bernini, or Whistler.

This story originally appeared at The Daily Beast on December 11. Read it there.

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  • Sevo||

    They should sell the damn street signs if it'll bring in money.

  • Libertarius||

    But there's that part about "If Detroit cares about it's future..."

    I'm thinkin' that dog just ain't gonna hunt.

  • Warrren||

    It makes sense only if the money completely bypasses the mayor and city council. Can you imagine what kind of damage those idiots could do if they got their hands on nearly a billion dollars?

  • Sevo||

    I believe the money goes to the trustee(s) and presumably most goes to existing creditors.

  • Warrren||

    Good.

  • Paul.||

    GM is headquartered in detroit? If so, I'm a creditor.

  • SweatingGin||

    The new mayor hasn't had a chance to do any damage yet (takes office next month).

    New city council has a few less wackos, but I don't know that they'll be able to do anything positive.

    I mention it on Detroit threads usually -- in the 2012 election, they got a tax on residents of the 3 metro-Detroit counties to pay for the DIA. So, I get "free" admission that I pay for whether I go or not (better go while there's still something there!)

    I believe (but wouldn't be shocked if this wasn't true) that if there is some major sale of art or major drop in what is displayed, the tax gets repealed or cancelled, automatically. Would not be surprised if that wasn't the case, though.

    The DIA should have been spun off to a private foundation years ago, so it wouldn't be an issue.

  • Agammamon||

    . . . that if there is some major sale of art or major drop in what is displayed, the tax gets repealed or cancelled

    This country instituted an excise tax on telecoms to pay for the Spanish-American War. That tax didn't go away until something like 2006.

  • Warrren||

    To be fair those Spaniards were some tough motherfuckers.

  • SweatingGin||

    .... 3 years after the law allowing it expired, IIRC.

  • andarm16||

    Light rail for all!

  • Sevo||

    100% pensions after 5 days on the job!
    Lifetime medical for you, your family, your gardener and your dog!

  • fish_remote||

    I accept your generous employment offer.

  • GPZsug||

    Better idea: Detroit gives away its art, defaults on all of its "obligations" and ceases to exist.

  • LIFE.time.opertunity||

  • Agammamon||

    Obviously *this* is the solution to Detroit's financial woes.

  • InfiniteRecursion||

    ITS A LIFE TIME OPERTUNITY! haha clearly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If they were to do this though why would anyone give a piece of art to the museum ever again?

  • ||

    I think the obvious solution is to spin-off the museum from the city into a private non-profit.

    The municipality itself has no business being in the art business. Surely they can get some private donors to fund this and allow the city to get a reasonable amount for the divestiture.

  • SweatingGin||

    Yes, but it should have been done before the city hit bankruptcy. Now there's people who want to be paid looking for any assets. If it had been spun off in, say, '95, or 2000, or 2005, or even 2010, this wouldn't be an issue.

    This goes for a lot of Detroit assets -- Cobo Hall (the convention center where the auto show is), the water department, etc. -- they should be sold off, but the city council throws a fit and says it's "the suburbs trying to steal Detroit's jewels"

    (We stole Belle Isle to make it a state park with free admission for Detroit residents, because it was in really bad shape.)

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I wholeheartedly agree with both of these statements:

    " think the obvious solution is to spin-off the museum from the city into a private non-profit. The municipality itself has no business being in the art business."

    and

    "Yes, but it should have been done before the city hit bankruptcy. "

  • Lord at War||

    They should consider it a "moral obligation"... 'cause Jesus, or something.

  • Sevo||

    Bo Cara Esq.|12.15.13 @ 5:14PM|#
    "If they were to do this though why would anyone give a piece of art to the museum ever again?"

    Because they want to? For tax purposes?
    Museums sell parts of their collections all the time, and have been doing so as long as there have been museums.

  • Agammamon||

    If they were to do this though why would anyone give a piece of art to the museum ever again?

    Why would they no matter what is done - Old Detroit's basically dead, even if they can clean up the town's politics it'll take *decades* before its a 'world-class' city again.

  • ||

    Why would the city need to have a government-run museum?

  • Paul.||

    If they were to do this though why would anyone give a piece of art to the museum ever again?

    Lessons learned... stop giving your art to corrupt municipalities that are essentially ongoing criminal enterprises.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Just to get everyone in a festive mood.

  • SusanM||

    "cash-hungry Soviet government sold off Russia’s art treasures"

    Well, shit, I wonder why?

  • Irish||

  • Bam!||

    Weird how the repeated failures of that family don't stop them from maintaining their power.

  • Agammamon||

    Uhm, what *repeated* failures?

  • Bam!||

    H.W. and W.

  • Agammamon||

    What, exactly, did HW Bush fail at?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Getting reelected?

  • Agammamon||

    I mean, what notable failures did he achieve that should be held against the family?

    From my perspective - he was a run of the mill president, worse than some, better than others and certainly not as much a 'failure' as GWB or BHO.

    If I were going to point out a political family that has multiple failures and embarrassments, the Kennedys would top a very short list.

  • ||

    ADA (aka "Lawyers' Full Employment Act")
    Tax hikes
    Government expansion
    Iraq War

    Yes, the Kennedys are awful, but at least only one of them got to be president, and for a shorter time than HW.

  • mnarayan||

    Not creating new taxes?

  • db||

    Respecting the Second Amendment?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Being Hitler?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Being a decent human being?

  • ||

    Meh, I wouldn't care what his name is as long as he had wanted to, you know, kill the Leviathan.

    I realize that that is not possible, but one can dream.

  • DRM||

    I kept waiting in the early part of the millennium to hear about a marriage between one of the Bush Twins and one of Sonia Gandhi's boys. Never happened, but . . .

  • Cdr Lytton||

    In 2010, he served an eight-month tour in Afghanistan with naval intelligence under an assumed name for security reasons.

    Just like the Limey prince.

    Seriously, what's the threat to a out of office president's nephew? Who would even know the relation? Does everyone with the last name Bush get assumed names when deployed or just the special people?

  • Paul.||

    He'd be a high-value kidnap target.

    Who would even know the relation?

    Most jihadis would probably be too dimwitted to make the connection, this is true. But if the higher ups ever found out, all they have to do is put out the word to the field-level jihadis and it would be very dangerous to be Bush in Afghanistan.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    But if the higher ups ever found out

    How? Someone that knows him (which would be just one of his fellow reservists unless they made a big fucking to do about who he was) letting it slip? A name change offers very little protection from that. If the risk is that great, don't deploy him.

    I doubt SPC Jerry Bush (no relation), who goes on foot patrols every day, would be getting the same special treatment even though some Jihadi is just as likely to get it into his head that SPC Bush is part of the George W. Bush family.

  • ||

    Detroit was a lot better when Van Gogh painted Postes.

  • juris imprudent||

    Hay-yo! [since we're being all retro]

  • Irish||

    House of Cards returns in February!

    I love how viciously cynical this show is about American politics.

    "There are two kinds of pain. The kind of pain that makes you strong, and useless pain, the kind that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things."

    "The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties."

    "For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy."

    The only problem is that no one in politics is as competent as Frank Underwood.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Eh. I liked it better when he was named Francis Urquhart.

  • ||

    Favorite show of last year. Hope they can keep it up without descending into melodrama, which is always tough.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And Frank Underwood is only a pale reflection of Francis Urquhart

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz8RjPAD2Jk

  • ||

    I still don't know why I have yet to watch that. Then again I didn't start watching Breaking Bad until a month before the last season premiered.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Anyone watch Season 2 of Lillyhammer?

  • ||

    I've watched episodes 1 & 2. It took me about the first three episodes to warm to that show but once it hit its stride I loved it.

    I'll watch Netflix's version of HofC but I still prefer the original. I keep meaning to read the books they were based on.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    So I forget who it was last week who joked (?) about putting Earl Grey in vodka and passing it off as scotch, but I wound up trying it in its own right by dropping two bags in 12 oz of vodka for a while. On a whim I mixed some with a bit of a milk liqueur we had previously made and it has the makings of a pretty nice cocktail.

  • SweatingGin||

    Interesting. Figure depending on the types of tea you choose, it's not that far from gin. One like Beefeater 24 explicitly uses tea as one of the ingredients.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    I hadn't thought of that. We're just on a minor infusion kick these days and I realized I literally had the makings of your basic tea time - tea, milk, and sugar - in alcoholic form.

  • SweatingGin||

    I have some kind of infusion kit thing my mom got me that I need to make, with some kind of blue crystals. Meth Vodka? Maybe.

    I don't do a whole lot with vodka. Gin (obviously), bourbon, and rye are my usual choices.

    If you swap out the tea infused liquor with a stronger herb infused liquor, and the milk with water, you can do absinthe... which turns milky looking when you add the water.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Indeed, we need to get to that. Local homebrew shop sells wormwood. We've done a star anise one, which is quite nice but for some reason doesn't produce the cloudy effect of a pastis or one of its relatives.

  • SweatingGin||

    I did a bit of looking on the wormwood kits in the homebrew store -- a lot of not impressed people. Buy a bottle of swiss or french, if you really want to mess with it.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Good to know, thanks.

  • General Butt Naked||

    When they used to sell dried poppy pods online, I'd make an infusion in 100 proof vodka.

    I'd grind them up fine, then pour enough over to give an extra inch, and put it somewhere cool and dark for a couple of weeks. I'd repeat this process 3 times.

    It was the best shit ever. Don't get me wrong, it tasted like rotten corpse ass, but, you know, it's fucking laudnum.

  • gaoxiaen||

    So you've tasted rotten corpse ass?

  • General Butt Naked||

    You haven't?

  • Doctor Whom||

    I've eaten lunch in public schools.

  • SweatingGin||

    Your ideas intrigue me, and damn, I would like to make some laudenum.

    So I need a source for poppy seed pods now, eh?

  • General Butt Naked||

    You can still find them in obscure places. They're washington grown, weak as hell and are very expensive.

    They used to be from arizona, strong and cheap. I'd get a big ass box of 'em for $100 on ebay a few years ago.

    That vodka stuff was amazing. First you'd feel the burn of the alcohol which would then send waves of warmth concentrically spreading out from you torso as the morphine entered your bloodstream. This would increase until you were hot with flushing. Then you'd feel like you were gonna puke, but it'd pass. When it passes it's time to settle in for a glass of wine and some itchee scratching.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Ohhh, forgot...

    Word on the tubez about the availability issue was that there was a few media "OMG NEW EVAL DROOG!" stories and the DEA cracked down on the few big AZ farms that grew them. Smaller growers have cropped up (harhar) in less ideal locations. Their products are more expensive and of inferior quality.

  • ||

    I don't see why it need to be so complicated.

    Just put a smidgen of heroin in your drink.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Cruel truth

    Apart from politics, dispassionate observers must question the simplistic liberal slogan that more guns equals more crime. The U.S. has seen a two-decade period during which private gun ownership has continued to soar (some 300 million firearms are now in civilian hands), while crime has diminished.

    ---------

    Finally, the strategy adopted by well-meaning activists post-Newtown may undermine their cause. Consider Moms Demand Action, which is allied with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg Businessweek parent Bloomberg LP). Watts, the Moms leader, describes her campaign as “a war for the culture.” She talks about firearms as a symbol of an America she doesn’t “recognize.”

  • Sevo||

    "She talks about firearms as a symbol of an America she doesn’t “recognize.”"

    I have no doubt that is true, and further, no doubt she is quite proud of her ignorance.
    And, finally, no doubt she is willing to lecture those about that 'culture' of which she is totally ignorant.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, first of all, as far as I can tell, Watts is a shill for a cause. Her background is that she worked in PR/communications. And donates regularly to various Democrats (and did so before starting her group). She's most heavily affiliated with a company called VoxPop Communications.

    Why am I not surprised that Bloomberg didn't feel the need to mention any of this?

  • Ted S.||

    Finally, the strategy adopted by well-meaning activists post-Newtown may undermine their cause.

    They're not well-meaning.

  • Bam!||

    NSA getting a soft ball interview on 60 Minutes.

  • Bam!||

    NSA: "We're not spying on Americans. We're just collecting all the telephone records Americans make. Totally different."

  • Sevo||

    'It's not spying - spying! It's only sort of spying.'

  • Kid Xenocles||

    None of that information is useful. We just collect as much of it as we possibly can and store it for analysis.

  • MJGreen||

    That felt like full-on propaganda. They get a guy that previously worked for one of the intelligence agencies, and he practically does the interview for everyone.

    Interviewer: "Here are all the reasons critics are wrong. [...] Is that right?"

    Interviewee: "Yes, that's right."

    Top-notch journalism!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Driver hits homeless pedestrian, drives away without contacting authorities. No criminal charges though his employer suspends him for a grief time.

    Can you guess the punch line?

    (From station WFTV in Orlando)

    http://shar.es/O5ve8

    h/t Lucy Stag

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    suspends him for a *brief* time

  • db||

    Yes, I'm sure the driver here neither experienced nor received "grief."

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Nothing else happened?

  • db||

    Fiorentino-Tyburski said his hood was only scuffed and he did not think Nunn had been injured.

    Our selfless First Responder Heroes at work!

  • Agammamon||

    Why would he contact the authorities? He *is* an 'authority' and has been fully briefed on the situation and deemed that no action need be taken.

  • Warrren||

    Niiiiiice.

  • Paul.||

    employer suspends him for a grief time.

    It's like lucy wrote the piece.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What, exactly, did HW Bush fail at?

    "Read my lips."

  • Sevo||

    Ah, let's see:
    'No' (did I get that one?) 'knew' or maybe 'new', ok?
    'Texas', right? Oh, 'taxes'!

  • Agammamon||

    Well, its still not as bad as "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period"

  • Sevo||

    Not sure I can pick a loser there. Now if Obo's accomplices get plastered as a result, both lies could have the same result!

  • gaoxiaen||

    Keeping crack dealers away from the White House.

  • db||

    I had forgotten about this, but came across it when reading about Cessna Skymasters.

    Remember when Cuba shot down two U.S. civilian airplanes in international airspace and President Clinton didn't do anyting meaningful about it? Yeah, probably most people don't (even I forgot).

    http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/cases/86-99.html

    http://archives.nbclearn.com/p.....card=45790

  • Paul.||

    I do.

  • ||

    I feel bad for my brother: he flies himself and his girlfriend out to Dallas to see this game and the Cowgirls are letting him down one more time.

  • Ted S.||

    Serves him right for being a Cowboy fan.

  • DblEagle||

    As a Packers fan since the mid-1960's I am enjoying the salty sweet taste on Cowboy fans tears. A extra few puntos for Flynn beating Dallas at home when Favre couldn't.

  • ||

    GB awarded the game ball to Romo.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No pressure, *Reason,* but the Cato Institute is ahead of you in celebrating the Bill of Rights' 222nd birthday.

    http://j.mp/1fewAVa

    (Jumps out of cake)

    Happy birthday to you...happy birthday to youuuuuu...happy biiiirthday, Bill of Rights...Happy Birthday to youuuu...

  • SweatingGin||

    Let's fire guns in the air in celebration of the 2nd!

    It's speech! They can't stop us!

  • db||

    Wait, what? I fire guns in the air all the time in celebration. What's wrong with that?

  • An Innocent Man||

    The FBI's Intellectual Property Task Force would like a word with you...

  • ||

    S- "The preparations for your birthday have begun."
    B-"I won't get what I really want."
    S- "No one does."

  • ||

    WE ASKED A MILITARY EXPERT IF ALL THE WORLD'S ARMIES COULD SHUT DOWN THE US

    The actual interview is somewhat interesting; the opening is retarded.

    The thing about the Republicans is that when they have a tantrum, they really have a tantrum. Right now, somewhere in Washington, DC, there are a bunch of rich men with white hair, white skin, and black hearts screaming and stomping around in their suits because they don't want poor people to have affordable healthcare...

    God. Deep, dark recession. Didn’t the planet just come out of one of those? Maybe it's time the rest of the world said enough is enough. The rest of the world let these stars-and-stripes bastards walk over us for too long. Let them goose-step around the world, killing millions and stealing resources. Let them go on and on about the land of the free and the home of the brave while they systematically take away the freedom and the bravery of others. Fuck these flag-waving, God-loving psychopaths. It’s time for the rest of the world to get a great, big army together and attack the US. We need boots on the ground on the White House lawns. If they can’t look after their own economy, we need to invade and look after it for them. So let’s fucking get them!
  • db||

    That seems way to fucked up to actually go and read.

  • ||

    I dunno, the interview is more interesting, and it's funny to see how disappointed he is by the answers he gets.

  • Agammamon||

    The rest isn't much better.

    The 'consultant' flat out tells the interviewer that an amphibious assault is out of the question and that an invasion would have to be built up in Mexico and/or Canada and the next question is 'which coastal city is the most vulnerable to invasion?'

    Then there's the whole 'I don't know how the US nuclear arsenal is controlled' bit where he just handwaves nukes away - I guess because social justice isn't strong enough to absorb a retaliatory strike.

  • Sevo||

    ..."I guess because social justice isn't strong enough to absorb a retaliatory strike."

    No, it's 'cause the poor wouldn't get affordable health care.

  • Warrren||

    But what if they had NAZI dinosaurs?

  • Agammamon||

    All the countries in the world who 'can't look after their own economy' and they want to fuck with *us* over it?

  • Kid Xenocles||

    I agree with the expert. First you have to get here, which is a significant challenge if you get the drop on us and extremely challenging if we know you're coming. Then you have to sustain your forces half a world away, and I don't think any other militaries have that institutional knowledge these days - at least not for the sort of effort we're talking about. Then there's simply too much space to hold, and too many loose arms in that space to allow you to free up your forces to clear the next area.

    And then what do you do if you win? What is the objective that unifies the world to invade, and how long can it motivate them to suppress their competing interests?

    I only see it working if you start up front with annihilation as your goal and act accordingly. Anything less doesn't have a chance - there's simply too much to digest. Look at what happened to us in Afghanistan, and multiply that by something on the order of ten (for the population) times ten (for the area) times a thousand (for the initial difficulty of the invasion).

  • Sevo||

    At one point toward the end of WWII, the Japs planned to transport a force of several hundred (in large subs, which they did have) to the Ventura area, and they were to fight their way to Anaheim and destroy the Lockheed plant.
    It's an understatement to say that quite of few of the Jap Top Men really had no understanding of the US geography, nor its culture.
    Conquering the US will be done by internal collapse or not at all.

  • Warrren||

    That would make a Hell of a movie.

  • Sevo||

    Not sure. It might well have ended with the Battle of Camarillo.

  • Warrren||

    Hmmm, I'll take it.

  • DblEagle||

    I would have bet on the Battle of the Oxnard Plain killing their task force. A battle of such stunning significance only serious students of the war or teenagers who read the historical plaque next to their car as they were trying to fuck in the rest area next to the 101 would have ever read anything about.

  • Sevo||

    DblEagle|12.15.13 @ 11:31PM|#
    ..."the Battle of the Oxnard Plain"...
    I was guessing it would take the hills south of Camarillo, but, hey, the area was filled with small farmers at the time, all armed to deal with the varmints. They might have had to retreat to the high ground, or they might well have just flattened the Japanese on the plain.
    The presumption that a couple of hundred soldiers could get anywhere NEAR Anaheim was laughable, and the result (if tried) would have been just one more suicide mission.

  • Paul.||

    It's an understatement to say that quite of few of the Jap Top Men really had no understanding of the US geography, nor its culture.

    No one in modern day Europe does either, or the middle east... or few other countries/continents of the world.

  • Irish||

    You would also have to maintain control of a country with hundreds of millions of privately owned firearms.

    That should be fun.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Yes, that's what I meant in the "clear and hold" comments.

  • Sevo||

    Irish|12.15.13 @ 8:45PM|#
    "You would also have to maintain control of a country with hundreds of millions of privately owned firearms."

    This was also the point to the post re: the Jap 'invasion'.

  • Whahappan?||

    My boss's brother is a helicopter pilot in the Marines. A few years ago my boss tells me his brother said the Chinese have millions of soldiers who could be transported by troop ship to invade the US. I literally laughed in his face. I pointed out they don't even have enough transport ships, they'd take years to build, and of course we'd know about it. Even if they did, it would take weeks to make the crossing, and not a single ship would make it 1000 miles from the Chinese coast. The idea was ludicrous.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    All of which just drives home the point that, militarily speaking, the U.S. doesn't really need a whole lot of land power. A strong navy would really suffice. Even the advocates of U.S. hegemony can't really summon up much justification for the U.S. as a land power versus a naval power.

  • Texann||

    Naval combined with massive air power gives us all the leverage we need. Then you add into the mix the number of combat vets and hunters in this country who have weapons and know how to use them plus National Guard, state and local sheriffs, police etc. America is an armed camp. And that leaves all of us Mama Grizzlies and our kids to take up any slack. Plus Americans adapted guerrilla warfare from the native Americans...

  • Texann||

    Dang it, left out our missile capabilities. And our allies in Asia. Plus our satallite networks would let us know what people are planning before they get close. But that means we must keep our eyes on South America. It is the premise from the original Red Dawn where the Russians swept up through Mexico and split the country in half...

  • juris imprudent||

    So Vice is publishing 14 year olds these days.

  • Paul.||

    Looks like it.

  • An Innocent Man||

    I know a bunch of rednecks who would tell the US military, " Take a break, we got this."

  • SusanM||

    This is a guy who whined "treason" during the so-called shut down..?

  • Paul.||

    So Bill Maher is writing for Vice again.

  • Bardas Phocas||

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    So did Lou Reed.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Forgot to add smarmy anti-war song and face kickin'.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qswm7lHp7oY

  • Francisco d Anconia||

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Poor Mr. Kraft.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Had to google it. It frightens me that you'd know about this.

  • Agammamon||

    So did Morgan Freeman.

  • db||

    Really? Man, it would have been nice if he had maybe done something respectable with his later career.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    He was a really good...hey, wait a minute.

  • Almanian!||

    One tin soldier rides away...

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Never change, Dallas Cowboys

  • ||

    Anyone have the stomach to watch 60 Minutes fellate the NSA tonight?

    60 Minutes is now way over the self-parody line RT @attackerman NSA tells 60 Mins that Snowden cheated on tests, etc, beating NSA vetting.

    — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 16, 2013


    [removed][removed]

    It's apparently a mixture of Snowden-bashing and chest thumping about how they are protecting your children from cyberterrorism.

  • SweatingGin||

    I skipped it, and let twitter/H&R fill me in on it.

    I'd just like to add:

    @attackerman NSA tells 60 Mins that Snowden cheated on tests, etc, beating NSA vetting.

    ... and NSA was too stupid to catch it. So of course they won't be dumb enough to abuse all that data they surveil.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Official at Gun Owners of America describes gun-free zones as "murder zones." This lights up the politico comment section.

    http://politi.co/1k4aisT

  • Warrren||

    Anti-gunners don't matter.

    They don't have the votes, the troops, or the cops to get what they want.

    Engaging with them is pointless.

  • SweatingGin||

    It's awesome. They scream and scream, but when it comes down to it, they'll vote for a pro-gun (or squishy) dem, rather than stay home and let a republican win.

    So no great loss to ignore them.

  • Warrren||

    And even if they got the votes they would not like what happened next.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    This and the car accident post of yours seem strangely familiar...

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    My 8:14 PM post from the other thresd seems to have whooshed over your head. So I just figured people weren't paying attention to that thread.

  • SweatingGin||

    Off topic domestic advice:

    Microwave shit the bed, likely the magnetron or transformer. It's an over-the-range with vent/lights/etc. It's been good, but the lights don't work anymore (halogens, burned out shortly after replacing the last set). I'm about ready to be done with it. My range needs to be replaced eventually, to (it's an electric with the glass/ceramic top, with a nice crack in it making one burner not useful).

    looking at new microwaves, I see I can do similar to that for not *too* much. Or I can do one that also does convection oven things (for a lot). Or I can do a hood over the range, and switch to a gas range and just a simple microwave on the counter.

    I've been doing a lot of cooking on weekends lately, quite enjoyable.

    Anyone have a microwave that does convection? Is it worth cooking in? Anything you would use it for that you wouldn't use an oven for?

    I'm kind of tempted to switch things back to gas... I can see right where the gas line was, and it would be much nicer to cook on that.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    That's a new one for me. I thought the whole point of a microwave oven was that it doesn't heat the surrounding air - what's the point of convection?

  • SweatingGin||

    I don't really know much about them. Seems like it combines both, although that leads the question of "Does it do either one well?"

    like this

  • db||

    Go with the gas range. We're moving in a month or so, and I'll be glad to get back to a gas range. The electric glass top we have now is really nice but it doesn't work for shit with pans without flat bottoms.

    What hood microwave do you have? We have a great Frigidaire "Professional Series" unit in stainless steel that has worked very well for 7 years.

  • SweatingGin||

    It's a GE profile. Worked well, but we've had the house for almost 10 years, and I'm not sure how old it was before that. I replaced a few things in it last year, now just inclined to replace it entirely.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Have you looked at induction stovetops? We REALLY dig ours. Boils a quart of water in under a minute and will melt chocolate without a double boiler.

    We've got convection in one of our ovens so we elected not on the microwave. We don't use it much because you need to take the time to re-learn how to cook with it. I suppose we'll get around to it.

  • SweatingGin||

    I'll have to look closer at it. Not really planning to redo the kitchen, but it's sounding more likely. Fast heating sounds nice, and would save running a gas line. From the sounds of it, it's as adjustable as gas.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The only downside is your pots and pans need to be magnetic. No aluminum or copper.

  • DblEagle||

    True about the cooking ware. I was against getting a convection range (gas fan) but after spousal unit insisted on getting it I have come to appreciate it. It cooks very well and the fried eggs are fantastic.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Hey SG, if you go induction, I'd get one that will accommodate a rectangular griddle. Laying a rectangular griddle over two round elements creates uneven heating. My only regret.

  • Sevo||

    "Anyone have a microwave that does convection?"
    Yes, but whatever clearance you allow for the MW is 1/4 of the clearance for the convec; that's some heat you'll be putting out.

    "Is it worth cooking in? Anything you would use it for that you wouldn't use an oven for?"
    I've never seen one big enough for the T-giving bird, or a nice prime-rib, but if it was big enough, it'd do it.
    Cut your cooking times...
    But if the choice is MW-convec or a gas stove, I'd take the gas in a minute. Check used restaurant supply for a US range (the old Vikings wouldn't throttle down to a simmer).

  • SweatingGin||

    Huh, yea, if I went convection, it would almost need to be on the counter rather than a hood.

    If I go gas, though, kind of tempted to do a hood rather than the microwave/hood combo.

    Not sure I'll replace the range yet, anyway. Gone 9 years with the crack, I can certainly make it more.

  • Sevo||

    "If I go gas, though, kind of tempted to do a hood rather than the microwave/hood combo."

    I didn't get it 'till now; it's a MW built into the hood!
    The only gripe I have with those is reaching over a (gas) stove to get to the MW.

  • SweatingGin||

    It's not a huge stove, doesn't stick out too far. I haven't run into a problem with the electric.

    Although, yea, could kind of see catching myself on fire.

  • Sevo||

    Or just getting 'steamed'; that stuff turns live lobsters into dinner.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    You know who else liked comparing things with Nazis?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Waters, 70, a well-known supporter of the Palestinian cause, has frequently defended himself against accusations that he is antisemitic, claiming he has a right to urge fellow artists to boycott Israel.

    This summer he was criticised for using a pig-shaped balloon adorned with Jewish symbols, including a Star of David, as one part of the stage effects at his concerts. Waters countered that it was just one of several religious and political symbols in the show and not an attempt to single out Judaism as an evil force.

    And yet, he had never festooned a pig balloon with the Star and Crescent Moon as part of his "art", nor has he ever displayed any Islamic symbol in any context that could not be construed in any other fashion than glowingly positive...AND WE ALL KNOW THE REASON WHY.

  • JeremyR||

    The Wall is pretty much the whiniest albums of all time.

    The second half is him whining about how hard it is being a rock star, but the first part seems to be him whining about WW2, even though he was what, 3 when it ended?

  • Gene||

    The Wall is pretty much the whiniest albums of all time.

    I see you've never listened to the Final Cut.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

  • Francisco d Anconia||

  • ||

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Thanks.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Thanks.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Thanks.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Okay, not only is there 3PM squirrel party, but one at 11.

    Nasty little rodents.

  • Sevo||

    De nada

  • SweatingGin||

    No, thank you!

  • DblEagle||

    RIP Peter O'Toole. In October 2003 Iraqi insurgents blew the tracks and derailed a train in front of my convoy. (Watching a train derail is impressive.) As we deployed to secure the scene, the locals swarmed the wreck to grab US supplies. The thought going through my head over and over (while working) was "It's like Lawerence of Arabia." Oh yeah- Also watch "Zulu Dawn" and "Club Paradise" to appreciate him.

  • Agammamon||

    http://kotaku.com/playstation-.....1483834976

    So, some idiot doesn't by the idea that the US boss of Sony doesn't have a PS4 (he said sell it, since demand is exceeding supply right nor).

    I guess the writer doesn't believe that the sort of person who rises to the top of a large corporation is probably not the sort of person who spends any amount of time playing videogames.

    I imagine the Tretton was not heartbroken in the slightest to come up with an excuse to keep from adding something else for his maid to dust to the living room.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Wow, yet another gun article from Slate.

    "Police investigators in the aftermath of the murders spent much time looking for an accomplice, anyone who had aided Adam Lanza in his plan. They missed the main accomplice, perhaps out of respect for the dead: the long-suffering, devoted mother, Nancy Lanza.

    I have argued previously that the most distinctive clue that someone is planning a rampage killing is that they lead a secret life of amassing weapons and scripting the massacre. The point is not that they acquire a lot of guns; many people do that. But mass killers keep them secret.

    The Sandy Hook shooting had all these traits, with a few additional twists. The would-be shooter kept the bedroom windows of his room taped over with black trash bags, and so were the windows of the nearby computer room where he spent most of his time. No one was allowed into his room, not even to clean, not even his mother. In fact, no one was allowed into the house; all workers and deliveries had to meet the mother outside in the yard or at the end of the driveway."

    http://www.slate.com/articles/....._look.html

  • Irish||

    As they lose on this issue more and more they seem to be writing about it more and more.

    It's bizarre. It's like they think that if they just repeat arguments that have already been rejected over and over again people will eventually concede and do what they want.

  • SweatingGin||

    Right now it's the anniversary "cry loudest so everyone knows how much I care" festival.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I thought that was Mandela's passing.

  • SweatingGin||

    Monday and Tuesday of last week. From Thursday night, through tonight, was all Sandy Hook. It's like Thanksgiving/Black Friday for mass shootings and gun grabbers!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, I, for one, wish everyone a Happy Sandy Hook weekend.

  • SweatingGin||

  • DblEagle||

    No, but I did go shooting.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Slate has just been obsessed with these articles for the past few weeks. I know, Newton and all, but it really is more than a bit much.

  • Irish||

    They missed the main accomplice, perhaps out of respect for the dead: the long-suffering, devoted mother, Nancy Lanza.

    This is just grotesque. The kid obviously had mental health problems and his mother had issues handling him, but to call her an accomplice is sick.

    Whatever happened to the left-wing hatred of victim blaming?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Irish, take a minute to read the entire thing and tell me if you have the same conclusion.

  • Irish||

    Yeah. I thought it was another ludicrous anti-gun screed from Slate, but it actually has a lot of incisive information about the Lanza's that I didn't know.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I assumed the same thing at first.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I mean, this kid sounds very mentally unbalanced, and not in some way the mother could have missed. Owning a gun is a right but also there are, as with everything, some responsibilities and matters of simply common sense or prudence. Buying guns for a young man acting that oddly and allowing him to keep them in his room strikes me as seriously irresponsible.

  • Irish||

    To avoid misunderstanding, let me repeat my previous conclusion. It is not the possession of guns that is the warning sign; it is the hiding of an arsenal, and a clandestine obsession with scenarios of violence. When clues like this appear in one’s own home, the gun-owning parent should be in the best position to recognize it.

    ^This is a great point in that article. It's sort of like with alcohol. If you have a drinking family, that's obviously okay, but once someone starts hiding the signs of their own drinking you're in a bad place.

    The same is true for gun ownership or pretty much anything else.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well said.

    Like I said, I was surprised myself, I expected the usual silliness from a Slate article on any issue even tangential to firearms. There was one passage in there I thought in that vein (when he suggests that the mother may have been fooled because she grew up in a rural pro-gun community and so assumed her son's interest in guns was healthy and normal; I grew up in such a community and I think most people in it would have taken steps to keep a person like this from guns), but otherwise it has some interesting facts and points to make.

    Stopped clocks and all, I guess.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You know, this article is actually (uncharacteristically for Slate) pretty good in my opinion. If even half of what it says is true then Ms. Lanza did miss some pretty big signs that perhaps indicate she should not be buying guns for her son.

  • Sevo||

    If the kid was able to deny a room to his Mom, the Mom was derelict.
    Mom, do your job as a parent.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I got my eye on a new colt 6920. Maybe if I play my angry 'tard cards right my mum'll buy me one.

  • Warrren||

    SECRET GUNS!

  • RishJoMo||

    Yep, OK that makes a lot of sense dude.

    www.AnonGoes.tk

  • Irish||

    From Greenwald's Twitter: CBS producers comes all over himself talking about how much they love, love, love the NSA!

    Actual quotes:

    It was like Star Trek! My favorite room was the Black Chamber!
    First producer: The stakes there are amazing. The very things that will launch a doomsday Armageddon will rest on codes.
    Second producer: So we're talking about the fate of the human race.
    First producer: The fate of the world as we know it.

    Best part: They mention that the guy who was doing the interviews was himself a member of intelligence agencies in the past. Yeah, he has absolutely no conflict of interest.

  • ||

    Why am I not even remotely surprised?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Why am I not even remotely surprised?

    Because the "glib" part of your brain surrounded cannibalized through attrition the "gives you the ability to feel surprise" part of your brain?

    Just a guess.

  • ||

    Brain? Brain? What is brain?

  • Warrren||

    Is brain controller?

  • ||

    Brain is central planner. DOWN WITH BRAIN!

  • ||

    Best part: They mention that the guy who was doing the interviews was himself a member of intelligence agencies in the past. Yeah, he has absolutely no conflict of interest.

    He was also a spokesman for the FBI and is expected to leave CBS next year to take a job with the NYPD. But no bias there, he'll definitely ask hard-hitting questions about abusive state power.

  • ||

    Lying to Congress doesn't count as a transgression. And even if it did, accountability is for little people:

    “I think people have to be held accountable for their actions,” NSA director says he’s against making a deal with Snowden

    — 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) December 16, 2013


    [removed][removed]

  • cavalier973||

    OT:

    Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters.

    Is this guy hopelessly sexist, or what? I mean, he may be talking reality, but still, he's sexist.

  • cavalier973||

    Also:

    I can look after myself," said my 17-year-old.

    "But men are stronger than women," I said. "When it comes to violence, they are at an advantage."

    "That's a sexist thing to say," she replied.

    A girl who had absorbed nothing at school had nevertheless absorbed the shibboleths of political correctness in general and of feminism in particular.

    "But it's a plain, straightforward, and inescapable fact," I said.

    "It's sexist," she reiterated firmly.
  • cavalier973||

    I once had a fellow employee aver that women want to be hit. As evidence, he related his observation of one of his friend's marriage. When his friend would have some acquaintances over to play cards or whatever, the wife would nag him incessantly, until he stood up and punched her in the face. Then she would go fix him some pie, and it--surprisingly--was not even poisoned a little bit.

  • ||

    They both sound pretty screwed up, but the guy more so for assaulting her over words. That's just fucked up.

  • ||

    You probably should not judge 50% of the population on what a 17 year old says and a fucked up relationship described to you third hand.

  • Acosmist||

    The hilariously detached buttkicking babe meme is a real, stupid thing. So, no?

  • ||

    Is this guy hopelessly sexist, or what?

    Sci-Fi is escapist entertainment. Anything goes. So no he is not sexist.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Here's a video of Rob Ford dancing at Church tonight.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Detroit should find someone with more dollars than sense to form a nonprofit trust that "buys" the entire institution, then continues to run everything as normal. Detroit gets some cash, and the art art collection is freed from the incompetence of government, just like every other museum worth a damn.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The shit's gonna get stolen soon.

  • Slocum||

    "The numbers were up in fiscal 2013, which ended in June, partly because the DIA no longer charges an admission fee to residents of the surrounding area. (That’s because they are paying higher property taxes to fund the museum.)"

    Well, yes -- and those county residents voted for the DIA millage, but if there's a fire sale, Oakland and Macomb can and surely will retain the money locally and stop sending it to the DIA. The DIA is of much more interest to wealthy, white suburbanites than to the poorer black people who actually live in the city, and the tri-county tax to support the DIA is a reflection of that. If the DIA sold off its most valuable art, it would get a small cash infusion (relative to the size of their debts) but lose the funding from the millage.

    It's really not surprising that there are fewer than half the art museum visitors in Detroit than LA -- the Detroit metro area is less than half the size of LA (5M vs 12M). Or should all art in the country be housed only in the very largest metro areas with the most active museum patrons? By that logic, the art certainly shouldn't go to the Getty in LA (with a paltry 1.2M visitors) when it could go to the Met in New York (with 6M per year).

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