Also guilty, guilty, guilty

Hunter Biden has been found guilty, deservedly.

Hunter Biden was found guilty on Tuesday of lying about his drug addiction on a gun application form five years ago.

First lady Jill Biden was not present in the packed courtroom as the verdict was read, but she reportedly arrived minutes after. President Joe Biden’s brother James and sister-in-law were in the room alongside Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen Biden. As the verdict was read, AP reported that Hunter Biden, 54, showed little emotion and stared straight ahead.

A sentencing date will be set at a later date, and Biden now faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the three counts he was convicted on.

I have no doubt that Hunter Biden was one screwed up dude, a long-time drug addict who was rightly held responsible.

I do wonder about proportionate sentencing, though. That was his crime, lying on a gun registration form? And he’s going to get years in prison for it? OK, I’ll keep that in mind when Trump gets some lenient sentence for lying on a tax form.

Minnesota crooks aren’t particularly sophisticated

There’s a huge trial going on in this state, regarding $250 million in funds unlawfully diverted from charity for needy children to the pockets of a small number of greedy grifters. It happens even in the land of Minnesota Nice.

The seven defendants — Said Shafii Farah, Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, Mohamed Jama Ismail, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin, Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff and Hayat Mohamed Nur — were charged in 2022 with wire fraud, money laundering and other charges. They have connections to a Shakopee restaurant, Empire Cuisine & Market.

The seven defendants are among 70 people charged in the broader case, all tied to U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that reimburse schools, day-care facilities and nonprofits for feeding low-income children after school and during the summer.

The seven received more than $40 million in federal reimbursements for 18 million meals distributed at 50 food sites across Minnesota — from Rochester to St. Cloud. Prosecutors allege the defendants ran a “brazen” fraud scheme that created numerous shell companies to launder money, submitted rosters of made-up children’s names and inflated meal claims.

Prosecutors also say some defendants received and gave kickbacks to other people charged in the massive scheme, leading to bribery charges. They said the six men and one woman spent the money lavishly on themselves, including the purchases of a $1 million lakefront Prior Lake property, luxury cars and gold jewelry.

That’s already blatant enough, and thoroughly contemptible. They took advantage of a federal program to feed kids to instead outright steal millions. It’s not just a little skimming, either, but outright pocketing all the money.

But that’s not why I say our crooks are unsophisticated. It’s also their plan to escape justice.

A juror in the Feeding Our Future federal trial was dismissed suddenly Monday morning after a woman showed up at her door Sunday with a bag of $120,000 in cash and offers of a second bag of cash if she votes to acquit the defendants, attorneys said in court.

The 23-year-old juror wasn’t home when the woman showed up, but the unnamed person left the juror’s father-in-law a bag of cash and told him to tell the juror that another bag of cash would be dropped off if she votes to acquit the seven defendants in the fraud case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thompson said.

Yeah, big ol’ bag o’ cash. Nothing subtle about it. There are some real boneheads behind that scheme.

I wonder if the Coen Brothers are itching to make a movie of it? Nah, probably not — too real.

Who knew spiders were so lucrative?

It’s like dealing cocaine. An arachnid kingpin, Lorenzo Prendini, curator of arachnids at the American Museum of Natural History, was arrested in Istanbul as he attempted to smuggle 1500 spiders and scorpions out of Turkey. The Turkish police aired a video showing how they tracked the criminal through the airport — looking like an obvious nerd, very suspicious — and then laying out bags and vials full of spiders and spider parts, like they were illicit goods bravely seized from a cabal of nefarious criminals.

They claim, “It has an estimated market value of around $10 million.” Wow. They threw him in a Turkish prison. Look at this smug badass.

He’s my hero.

Of course, they released him after a day when they noticed that he had permits for all of his biological specimens. I hope he’s now strutting around the AMNH like the Walter White or Scarface of arachnology.

Years ago, I was invited to debate one of Harun Yahya’s disciples in Istanbul — I turned it down without a moment’s thought because I figured taking an atheist position in Turkey would get me arrested (also, Yahya was such a fool that I would gain nothing from the encounter.) It’s too bad he’s in prison and his creationist organization dismantled, because now I might consider it for the opportunity to score a cool few million dollars in smuggled baggies full of dead spiders.

Hey, where did they get that market value of $10 million? Who would they sell them to?

A cynical Mother’s Day connection

Would you believe that it was nine years ago that the internet was arguing about the color of this dress? I know. Time is fleeting. Let’s do the time warp again.

Anyway, the dress is in the news again, just in time for Mother’s Day. The dress was worn by Keir Johnston’s mother-in-law, and how do you honor your mother-in-law? Apparently, by strangling your wife. She survived, but apparently their marriage has been an 11 year long exercise in violent abuse.

Maybe the best Mother’s Day gift is a divorce and seeing your abusive husband arrested and jailed, and the nasty little man going viral.

OJ Simpson is dead


He murdered his wife in 1994, when I was working at Temple University. Every day, every single goddamned day, I had an hour-long commute each way by bus and subway from my home to the university, and I’d grab a copy of the city tabloid, the Philadelphia Daily News, and read the sordid stories semi-obsessively. I grew to despise OJ. I was freed of that ugly habit when the trial ended in his acquittal — and the only good thing about that decision is that the newspapers and TV stopped being full of trial news. Of course, OJ wasn’t done yet.

The former football star, who later enjoyed a successful acting career until he was charged with brutally murdering his estranged wife and a male friend of hers in 1994. Although Simpson was acquitted of the murder charges, he later served nine years in a Nevada prison for a botched kidnapping and armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Unfortunately, another vestige of that era is the Kardashians. I ignore them utterly.

Buh-bye, Sam

Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced today to a 25 year prison sentence, which is probably fair since it was less than what I would have vindictively handed down (I am not a judge), but seems fairly substantial.

His comments were mildly amusing.

Given a chance to speak, Bankman-Fried stood and apologized in a rambling statement, saying: A lot of people feel really let down. And they were very let down. And I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage.

He added that, My useful life is probably over. It’s been over for a while now, from before my arrest.

What makes you think you ever had a “useful life,” you thieving parasite?

Now we need to lock up all the crypto bros.

That’s no Franken-sheep

What do you think happened in a story with this headline, “Montana Man Pleads Guilty to Creating Massive Franken-Sheep With Cloned Animal Parts”? Oooh, Franken-Sheep and animal parts…were they importing chopped up bits of animal corpses and stitching them together to make monster sheep? The story continues:

An 80-year-old man in Montana pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony wildlife crimes involving his plan to let paying customers hunt sheep on private ranches. But these weren’t just any old sheep. They were “massive hybrid sheep” created by illegally importing animal parts from central Asia, cloning the sheep, and then breeding an enormous hybrid species.

The “animal parts” are whole, intact embryos of Marco Polo sheep, a very large species, and then raising them to adulthood. He was basically smuggling in embryonic sheep, nothing particularly radical scientifically.

Once Schubart had smuggled his sheep parts into the U.S., he sent them to an unnamed lab which created 165 cloned embryos, according to the DOJ.

“Schubarth then implanted the embryos in ewes on his ranch, resulting in a single, pure genetic male Marco Polo argali that he named ‘Montana Mountain King’ or MMK,” federal authorities wrote in a press release.

Then they collected semen from the adult sheep, and crossed them to domestic sheep, again, not at all radical scientifically. Somebody tried to jazz up the story with talk of animal parts and Franken-sheep, when it’s really a story about illegally importing an endangered species from its native range, and hybridizing them to produce a stock for profit. The story is bad enough without stuffing it full of misleading pseudoscience.

At least the guy behind the scheme got his comeuppance.

Schubart pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act, and conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which makes it a crime to acquire, transport or sell wildlife in contravention of federal law.

“This was an audacious scheme to create massive hybrid sheep species to be sold and hunted as trophies,” assistant Attorney General Todd Kim from the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in a press release.

“In pursuit of this scheme, Schubarth violated international law and the Lacey Act, both of which protect the viability and health of native populations of animals,” Kim continued.

Yeah, and that’s the extra ugly twist here. They weren’t doing this to help the species — they were raising great big sheep on ranches so big game hunters could pay big money to shoot a large animal. On a farm. You know, real sportsman-like.

People are good at producing vomit all on their own

The last couple of posts were all about blaming AI for the decay of the internet. I must be fair and impartial, though: humans are also to blame.

For instance, Andrew Tate is in and out of jail and facing extradition from Romania. The only reason we know of that scumbag’s existence is thanks to the internet.

Tate and his brother are dual US-British nationals. Tate is a former kickboxer who has built up a massive social media following — 8.9 million followers on X, formerly known as Twitter — by sharing misogynistic views about the role of women and masculinity.

He was previously banned from various prominent social media platforms for those views, but has been reinstated on X.

As far as I know, he had no assistance from AI — he built that empire with his own personal human hate-mongering.

It goes without saying that he “has been reinstated on X,” because Elon Musk is another human who is enabling more poisonous speech.

Another conservative grifter gets a legal slapping

It’s beginning to look like just being a Republican is an admission of guilty participation in a scam that netted millions of dollars. Justice has taken a small step in giving Wayne LaPierre of the NRA what he deserves.

After a bitterly fought six-week civil trial, a New York jury on Friday found ex-National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre liable for improperly spending millions of dollars of the pro-gun group’s money on luxuries such as private jet flights, extravagant vacations, and sun-soaked stays on private yachts.

LaPierre’s profligate ways violated his fiduciary duties and cost the NRA some $5.4 million, the jury determined. He has reimbursed the organization $1.5 million, thus far.

Jurors deliberated for five days before returning their verdict on the state’s allegations of brazen corruption by the 74-year-old LaPierre. In court, prosecutors from the New York State Attorney General’s Office laid out a broad array of evidence to demonstrate what they described as a high-living chief executive using the NRA as his own personal slush fund.

LaPierre delivered the most unlikely justification for his years of theft.

When questioned on the stand about receiving luxurious gifts including Italian suits worth nearly $300,000, LaPierre insisted he considered the clothes to have been “work items.”

“I did all the television for the NRA,” he testified, explaining that his publicist wanted him to look good onscreen.

Seriously, dude? You’re the most Lon Chaney looking motherfucker on the planet. You always looked like a raging lunatic, and you thought you were looking good?

For comparison purposes:

But seriously, he shouldn’t be penalized for being a funny-looking guy (neither should I!), and being convicted of embezzling is the least of his crimes. He should be imprisoned for his long career of promoting mass murder and irresponsible gun ownership.

Let’s all get disappointed in humanity

I thought everyone knew by now that the whole “bumfight” concept was repugnant and deplorable, but it seems to have gotten some new life from technology. A few sick people are harassing unhoused people with drones. See, bullying in total safety! There’s an amazing amount of cowardice behind this behavior.

The TikTok account was called “BumsnDrones,” and its previous name was “Bad2TheDrone.” Similar accounts are active on YouTube and Instagram under the same name, and a new account with the “BumsnDrones” name was active on TikTok as of Friday evening.

In two separate videos, the drone hovers above individuals for an unspecified period of time and distance and appears to provoke them by flying up and down. Other videos show individuals throwing projectiles at the unmanned aircraft system, such as rocks, water bottles and sticks.

“It’s really disappointing to see the way this individual is harassing and bullying people experiencing homelessness,” said Cathy Alderman, chief communications and public policy officer for Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “It was difficult to watch people put in humiliating and exposed positions.”

In nearly all of the videos posted on each channel, music plays in the background, seemingly for comedic effect. Many of the individuals filmed in the videos attempt to flee the vicinity of the drone or seem agitated by its presence.

Multiple videos appear to show the operator of the drone mocking or taunting the individuals by flying close to them before bolting in another direction either vertically or horizontally when the individuals reach for it.

The drone bullies are calling these “pranks”. I’m getting tired of that word — “prank” seems to be a synonym for cruelty.

Some of these accounts have been taken down, but as the quote above mentions, they just pop up again with a new synonym. It was easy to find lots that are still active — here’s one called “abnormal humans”. I don’t think the creators realize how self-referential that name is.

One such video had 59,000 views and 226 comments, and the comments were as vile as the video. No, I’m not linking to it. Go google your own bullies!