$50 gets you a box of toys and maybe a Renoir at a flea market


Renoir’s Paysage Bords de Seine

A painting bought at a flea market in the US may turn out to be a rare bargain – a work by French master Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

It was bought by a woman as part of a box lot that included a doll and a plastic cow, and cost about $50.

She took it to a Virginia auction house where experts said they believed it was Renoir’s Paysage Bords de Seine – a river scene – from about 1879.

The auctioneers expect it to sell for up to $100,000 later this month.

I have got to start going to flea markets, again. I wonder if there’s an app tracking successful painters who lived and worked here in Santa Fe back in the days before they made it big?

Passengers on a Ryanair flight apparently bitten by ticks


An addition to air travel staff?

Passengers on a Ryanair flight from Denmark to Rome say they plan to sue the airline after they were allegedly bitten by ticks during the flight.

The consumer watchdog Codacons plans to take legal action against the airline, based in Ireland, on behalf of passengers on the Thursday flight…Codacons said in a statement Friday it will file a complaint with the Rome prosecutor’s office and seek compensation on behalf of the travelers.

The passengers on the flight had to be treated for soreness and itching caused by the bites, thought to be from ticks, upon their arrival in Rome. The plane had to be disinfected before it was cleared to take off again Friday morning.

Phew! I have no personal experience with Ryan – though over time I have generally been frustrated by the few times I decided that saving a few extra bucks was worth the hassles associated with cut-rate service.

I hope those in charge of providing medical treatment for affected passengers – or the crew in charge of disinfecting, fumigating the plane in question come up with a few samples of the critters under consideration. Tick bites can lead to nasty conserquences.

Feds want to send veterinarians into Mexico — where the State Department says tourists shouldn’t risk their lives

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering sending federal veterinarians in Texas across the border into Mexico to inspect cattle, a practice that ended years ago over safety fears.

Government workers have come out against the plan, confounded as to why they would be required to work in a Mexican state under a travel warning by the State Department because of carjackings and robberies…

According to its most recent travel warning, the State Department urges U.S. citizens to “defer non-essential travel” to the Nuevo Leon, except for the major hub of Monterrey, which itself carries other warnings.

The closest major city to the facility is Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a place known for the drug cartel violence that has been recorded there.

A lawyer for the government veterinarians along the border said the federal workers are unwilling to work there because of fears of being kidnapped or killed.

“Nobody is holding a gun to their head … yet,” said Bill Hughes who represents the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, which opposes the plan. “But USDA officials have told them in no uncertain terms that when they’re assigned there they better go or there are going be serious consequences to their careers, such as losing their jobs…”

Until March 2010, cattle inspections were routinely done in Mexico, but due to the rise in drug cartel violence along the border, U.S. authorities transferred inspections to U.S.-based facilities. During inspections veterinarians are tasked with clearing the cattle for fever ticks, hoof and mouth disease and other illnesses.

The real question is, why would (the) USDA even be taking a chance? How much risk is acceptable to place its civilian employees into for even the slight convenience of having the animals inspected in Mexico?” Hughes said.

Idiots. Hughes says reassuring things about the bureaucrats considering this decision. All well and good. He represents veterinarians employed by the USDA. No need to jostle the flunkies who can threaten their jobs, their careers.

I doubt there is any portion of the US meatpacking industry that cares much about the safety of veterinary professionals compared to profits. They’ve already proven that by ridding their packing plants of American citizens and replacing them with undocumentados – cutting wages in half. Experience tells me that political pressure with an emphasis on pace and costs is motivating USDA bureaucrats to consider a procedural change this stupid.

Jewish mother wins right to send children to mainstream school


This lot would have passed John, Paul, George and Ringo going in the opposite direction

An ultra-orthodox Jewish father has lost a High Court bid to stop his former wife giving their children a more secular education…The man attempted to obtain a court order which would have barred his wife from sending their “very bright” children to more mainstream Jewish schools where he feared they would lose contact with the traditions and community in which they had been brought up.

He objected to the prospect of his daughters being sent to a mixed-gender school and to his children having unrestricted access to television, cinema, “certain newspapers”, the internet and social networking sites, the court heard…

But after studying for an Open University masters degree, the mother has forged her own career and wants her children to have the schooling she says she never had…

The mother told the court that educating the children at an ordinary Jewish school would give them “infinitely superior opportunities“.

The Appeal Court judges rejected the father’s application for a joint residency order and for the mother to be refused permission to move the children to new schools.

Bravo! Always a joy to see modern life win out over theocrats who would force people, individually and collectively, to restrict their knowledge of life to the dim, distant, Dark ages.

Individual liberty must include an opportunity to examine more than rote and superstition.

Corporate profits unaffected by body of climate change law


Tornadoes touched down in NYC and Brooklyn, today

Almost 50 percent of global investors in a survey said government efforts to combat climate change will have little effect on corporate profits, while most say global warming is a danger to the planet…

Actions to limit pollution will have “not much impact” on profitability, according to 49 percent of respondents in the Bloomberg Global Poll, while a third said profit may fall. Eight percent of the investors, analysts and traders surveyed among Bloomberg’s global customers said such efforts would have a positive impact on corporate profitability in their nation…

“Business must realize that without some form of socially responsible behavior with regard to concerns over the environment, very high costs will fall upon society eventually,” John O’Connell, chief executive officer of the Toronto-based investment firm Davis Rea Ltd., said in an e-mail. “I do not see a major impact on profitability.”

Measures to control heat-trapping gases from power plants and factories vary by nation. The U.S. never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement adopted in 1997 that aims to limit greenhouse gases from industrial nations. The European Union has set a target of cutting the emissions in its nations by 20 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels…

Only a majority of American corporate officials echoed the anti-science ideology which rejects responsible action against climate change. European and Asian, Latin American business leaders had only a distinct minority who preferred to sit on their hands.

In a move to curb emissions that doesn’t need approval from Congress, the Obama administration has required automakers to double by 2025 the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. Kim Caughey Forrest, an analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group, in Pittsburgh, said…”The move to smaller more efficient cars will happen as gas prices rise,” Caughey said in an e-mail. “We saw this happen in the past few years. I don’t know if the market needs the artificial incentives.”

I’m not certain which cart is before which horse. Given that so many portions of the American corporate demographic are as insular as our conservative politicians, parochial, ignorant of science – and only care about next month’s balance sheet – I’m not certain if they support the agitprop that makes us the only Western nation backwards enough to ignore climate change – or they helped originate propaganda to aid their perceived threat to profits.