Paris Police: Soldier Opens Fire Outside the Louvre Museum

French soldiers enforcing the Vigipirate plan, France's national security alert system, patrol in front of the Louvre museum on November 16, 2015 in Paris, three days after a series of deadly oordinated attacks claimed by Islamic State jihadists, which killed at least 129 people and left more than 350 injured on November 13. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET

French media reported on Friday that a soldier has opened fire on a man armed with a knife at a shopping centre next to the famous Louvre museum in Paris.

Reports say the soldier opened fire on the knifeman after he attacked him at the Louvre Carrousel shopping centre on Friday morning.

According to reports the attacker was shot in the leg. A security cordon has been set up and the underground Louvre Carrousel shopping centre has been evacuated.

Reports on Twitter said tourists at the museum were being moved into rooms to keep them safe. The Louvre itself has declined to comment on the situation.

Images on Twitter also appeared to show worried visitors outside the world famous museum.

“Something is going down at The  30 National Police vehicles with guns drawn,” said one tweeter.

An alarm can be heard in the background. A worried passerby can be heard saying: “I wonder if it’s a training exercise”.

France’s interior ministry confirmed on Twitter that a serious security operation was underway in the area around the Louvre.

Paris and the rest of France is on high alert for terrorism after a series of attacks in recent years. Read the rest of this entry »

Arthur Brooks: Playing the Music of Capitalism


To become a majority again, conservatives need to reassert the moral case for free markets

William McGurn writes: Before he was president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks played the French horn. Not on the side. For a living.

It’s not the standard route to the top job at a Beltway think tank. Then again, not much about Mr. Ken-Fallin-WSJBrooks is standard. From dropping out of college to go to Spain to play for the Barcelona City Orchestra, to earning his B.A. degree via correspondence courses from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey, his life makes for an eclectic résumé.

“Our side has all the right policies. But without the music, the public hears just numbers and we have no resonance.”

Today he boasts a Ph.D. from the RAND Graduate School and enjoys an honored spot in the capital’s intellectual firmament. But the horn still defines how he sees the world.


“We don’t need to write an opera about free enterprise to reach people. But it’s not a bad idea.”

“The French horn is the harmonic backbone of the orchestra,” Mr. Brooks says. “The physics are tricky. It’s as long as a tuba but with a mouthpiece as small as a trumpet’s. This gives the French horn its characteristic mellow sound but also makes it easy to miss notes. The metaphors here form themselves.”

Indeed they do. Not least because think tanks have distinct personalities in addition to their politics.


“The liberation of hundreds of millions from desperate poverty ranks among the greatest success stories in history. But it’s a story that remains largely untold and mostly unheralded.”

The libertarian Cato Institute, for example, looks as though it had been designed by Howard Roark, the hero architect of Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead.” The Liberty Bell on the Heritage Foundation logo evokes a classic conservatism 087196e06cea0f75cad96f9da0ec0528rooted in the American founding. The clean modernist lines of the Brookings Institution suggest its faith in good, rational government.

“Capitalism has saved a couple of billion people and we have treated this miracle like a state secret.”

In Mr. Brooks’s hands, AEI has beome an orchestra. Sure, it is sometimes labeled “neocon” (almost always deployed as a pejorative) because of the home it provides for former George W. Bush administration officials such as John Bolton and
Paul Wolfowitz, not to mention scholars such as Fred Kagan who write on military matters. 51If4pLhXLL._SL250_These people are all vital to AEI, but they are only part of a larger ensemble.

[Order Arthur Brooks’s bookThe Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America” from]

“Our side has all the right policies,” Mr. Brooks says. “But without the music, the public hears just numbers and we have no resonance.”

“We need to know Adam Smith who wrote ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ as well as we do the Adam Smith who wrote ‘The Wealth of Nations,’ Because when you do, you begin to understand we are hard-wired for freedom by the same Creator who gave us our unalienable rights.”

He is speaking over lunch in his corner office overlooking 17th and M streets in northwest Washington, D.C. The office bullfighterisn’t standard-issue, either.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The walls are bereft of the signed photos and tributes from presidents, senators and other pooh-bahs that are de riguer for the capital’s movers and shakers. The largest piece in the room is a poster featuring José Tomás, Spain’s greatest bullfighter. Mr. Brooks once saw him in the ring. “A true master artist,” he says.

The other poster is from the Soviet Union circa 1964. It features two workers. One is a drunk scratching his head as he looks at the one-ruble note in his hand. The other is a hale-and-hearty type proudly looking at the 10 rubles he has earned. The caption: “Work more, earn more.”

“It was part of a public-information campaign to raise productivity by paying people more,” Mr. Brooks says. It’s the sort of irony he loves, a confirmation of basic market wisdom—courtesy of communist propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Crash Report: One of the Pilots on Germanwings was Locked Out of the Cockpit


Investigators scoured dangerous terrain in the French Alps Wednesday as they searched for clues in the wreckage of Germanwings Flight 9525.

Workers dropped to the crash site from helicopters and had to be tied together because the steep area in the French Alps is so treacherous, said Remi Jouty, head of the BEA, the French aviation investigative arm leading the probe.

There’s one key piece of evidence they’ve found so far that could help investigators determine why the Airbus A320 went down: the cockpit voice recorder, one of the aircraft’s so-called black boxes.


Although the external orange casing was damaged, French aviation investigators accessed the computer chips inside, which contain an audio recording of the cockpit during the entire flight.

• 7:51 p.m. ET: One of the pilots on board Germanwings Flight 9525 was locked out of the cockpit when the plane crashed Tuesday, a senior military official told The New York Times, citing evidence from the cockpit voice recorder.

• Helicopters have airlifted some victims’ remains from the site of the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps, the Gendarmerie said Wednesday, according to CNN affiliate France 2.

• FBI agents based in France, Germany and Spain are looking through intelligence sources and cross-referencing the passenger manifest of Germanwings Flight 9525, two senior law enforcement officials said. So far, their search hasn’t turned up anything that “stands out” or anything linking the passengers to criminal activity, according to one official.


• The victims of the Germanwings crash came from 18 countries, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann told reporters Wednesday. He also vowed to provide flights for victims’ family members who want to travel to Germany or France and help them financially.

• Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told reporters the company was struggling to understand how an airplane that “was in perfect technical condition” with two experienced pilots “was involved in such a terrible accident.” The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps, he said, “represents the darkest hours in the 60-year history of our Lufthansa Group.”

That will provide important information like whether the pilots were talking in the moments leading up to the crash, what they were saying and what else was happening in the cockpit.

Finding the plane’s second black box will be critical to understanding the mystery of what went on inside the jet. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Involved in a Sexual Act with a Dog on a Bed of SS Helmets’: MACBA Barcelona Show Canceled Over Pornographic Artwork Ridiculing Spanish King Juan Carlos


“It’s a work of art inscribed in the great tradition of works about art and power.”

— Valentín Roma, one of the curators of the exhibition

MACBA director Bartomeu Marí proposed that the sculpture be removed. When the artist and the curators declined, he canceled the exhibition. 

Lorena Muñoz-Alonso and Brian Boucher report: An artwork depicting the former Spanish king Juan Carlos and Bolivian Labor leader Domitila Chúngara involved in a sexual act with a dog on a bed of SS helmets has led the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) to cancel the exhibition “La Bestia y el soberano” (The Beast and the Sovereign) on the day it was meant to open (see After 20 Years, Portrait of Spain’s Royal Family Is (Nearly) Finished). The offending artwork, Not Dressed for Conquering, is a sculpture by Austrian artist Ines Doujak.

“I don’t want to spend time describing the piece, which I consider inappropriate and contradictory to the museum’s line.”

“It’s a work of art inscribed in the great tradition of works about art and power,” Valentín Roma, one of the curators of the exhibition told El País.

[Read the full text here, at Artnet News]

“Art has been caricaturing the archetypes of power for centuries, which is what Doujak’s work is doing” (see Why Self-Censorship of Controversial Artwork is Wrong).


“I have always fought to defend contemporary art and its role in the reality that surrounds us, but in this case, I completely disagree with the inclusion of this work in an exhibition that reflects on the concept of sovereignty in all its aspects.”

— MACBA director Bartomeu Marí

The exhibition was to include more than two dozen artists and artist duos or teams, including Juan DowneyLeón FerrariGenesis Breyer P-Orridge, Mary Reid Kelley, and Wu Tsang. In an open letter, the curators assert that the museum management was fully informed of the show’s theme and contents:

The curators never hid any information about the exhibition to the director of the museum: he was informed by Paul B. Preciado and Valentín Roma of the concept and the full list of works of the exhibition. The director had validated the project and not only its text and description but also the list of artists were already published in the MACBA’s internet page months ago.

MACBA director Bartomeu Marí claims he had not seen the artwork until Monday.

“I don’t want to spend time describing the piece, which I consider inappropriate and contradictory to the museum’s line,” Marí told El País. “I have always fought to defend contemporary art and its role in the reality that surrounds us, but in this case, I completely disagree with the inclusion of this work in an exhibition that reflects on the concept of sovereignty in all its aspects.”

The show was curated by Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler, co-directors of Stuttgart’s Württemberg Kunstverein, along with writer Paul B. Preciado and Valentin Rome. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrities as Neoclassical Paintings

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Celebrities as Neoclassical paintings by Replaceface

More at

The Vandenburg Volley Gun

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The Vandenburg Volley Gun

A weapon of questionable value, this large volley gun was manufactured in England and saw limited use in Europe and in the American Civil War.  Different models could have anywhere from 85 to 150 barrels that fired all at once. The method of ignition was unique in that the center charge was fired by percussion and ignited the whole volley simultaneously. However, by plugging off the vents, or ignition galleries, in advance, the discharge of the piece could be regulated to fire by clusters or rows of one-sixth, one-third, or one-half of the group. The other sections remained charged, ready to be fired by inserting a new percussion cap, and opening the formerly plugged orifices. The gun was loaded from the breech with the back unscrewing to expose the chambers. A loading machine for facilitating the charging of the many chambers in the breech. The device, when placed on dowels, was in proper position over the holes in the chambers. By manipulating a lever, measured charges of powder were dropped simultaneously into every chamber. This mechanism could be removed quickly, to be replaced by another containing lead balls. When properly positioned, the latter dropped the bullets into place. A ramming device was then put on, and all charges were compressed at once by the action of a lever on the loading plungers.  Unfortunately the gun was big, heavy, and hard to move, making in difficult to place in order to achieve maximum effect.  Plus the tightly grouped shot pattern of the gun was not large enough to cover a large area, and cannon grapeshot was considered to be a more effective weapon.


Going Dark: Blackphone Aims to Be an NSA-Proof Smartphone

  reports:  By now we’ve learned a lot about how the NSA intercepts private communications, whether it’s tapping into fiber optic cablesbugging laptopsbefore they’re delivered to customers or just collecting mounds of data from tech companies upon request.

Still, a new company called Blackphone believes it can create a smartphone that’s safe from government snooping. Blackphone promises secure phone calls, texts, file transfers and video chats, along with private browsing and anonymized activity through a virtual private network. The phone is a partnership between Silent Circle, which offers encrypted communications services, and Madrid-based phone maker Geeksphone.

Read the rest of this entry »