Friday: Hili dialogue

November 18, 2022 • 6:45 am

Hey—it’s Friday, November 18, 2022, and most people get the next two days off. It’s National Vichyssoise Day, a day of cultural appropriation (it should be called “Liberty Soup”), as well as

It’s also Apple Cider Day, Independence Day in Morocco, celebrating the independence of Morocco from France and Spain in 1956, Push-Button Phone Day, and Micky Mouse Day, celebrating the first appearance of this rodent in the cartoon Steamboat Willie on this day in 1928. Here it is; Micky first appears 30 seconds in, and look for Minnie, also appearing for the first time:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 18 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The latest House vote, with some elections still undecided (from Five Thirty Eight):

As expected, Republicans have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, ending two years of Democratic rule in Washington, D.C. But what wasn’t expected was how narrow the Republicans’ majority would be.

As of Wednesday evening, ABC News estimates that Republicans have won at least 218 seats and Democrats have won at least 210.

Seven districts remain undecided: four where Democrats currently lead and three where Republicans do. If those leads all hold (which seems likely), Republicans will go into the 118th Congress with a 221-to-214 majority.

*As of January, Nancy Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House, but she’s decided not to be any kind of Democratic leader in the next Congress, including minority leader or minority whip; she’s giving way to younger folk. The NYT article excerpted below has a video of her gracious announcement. She done good. (Read Michelle Cottle’s NYT op-ed, “Nancy Pelosi, Badass.”)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to serve in the post and the face of House Democrats for two decades, will not pursue a leadership post in the next Congress after Republicans take control, ending a historic tenure in which she oversaw major legislative accomplishments and led her chamber as it was threatened by rioters who stormed the Capitol.

“For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” she said in a speech on the House floor on Thursday, setting off a rapid and long-anticipated shift in the top ranks of Democratic leadership. “And I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”

Here’s what to know:

  • Shortly after Ms. Pelosi, 82, delivered her remarks, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the 83-year-old No. 2 Democrat, told his colleagues that he would not seek a leadership position in the next Congress. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, 82 and the No. 3 Democrat, was said to be planning to cede the position of whip and seek to become the assistant leader.

  • Mr. Hoyer endorsed Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York to be the next Democratic leader. Mr. Jeffries, 52, is part of a younger group of Democratic leaders that has been poised to ascend, including Representatives Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, 59, and Pete Aguilar of California, 43.

  • President Biden said in a statement that history would remember Ms. Pelosi as “the most consequential speaker of the House of Representatives in our history.” Take a look at images of key moments of her time as speaker.

*Meanwhile, the electoral contest between the most embarrassing member of Congress, Lauren “Heat-packing Momma” Boebert and her Democratic opponent, Adam Frisch, is still undecided, with Boebert leading by only 0.034%: about 1,100 votes. This is one election I really wanted the Republicans to lose, but it may go to a runoff, and, worse, she may win:

The closest House race in the nation has unspooled in unexpected territory: western Colorado.

The [vote] total has remained stagnant for much of the past week because of two factors.

One, mail ballots from members of the military and Americans living overseas were allowed to arrive as late as Wednesday. And also, voters whose ballots were rejected for reasons like mismatched signatures had until Wednesday to correct those problems, a process known as curing. Democrats and Republicans alike have been pleading with voters to complete that process.

Since ballots that have been cured, or that have come from overseas or the military, can be counted now, updated results are expected on Thursday. A full accounting is anticipated by Friday, which is the deadline for counties to submit their tabulations to the Colorado secretary of state.

If, at that point, Ms. Boebert or Mr. Frisch leads by a large enough margin, The Associated Press could call the race. But if the race stays close, a recount is probable, which would further delay a call — possibly for weeks.

Under state law, a recount is mandatory if the margin is half a percentage point or less. That recount must be ordered by Dec. 5 and would need to be completed by Dec. 13, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Oy! The odds are she’ll win on a recount, and then we’re stuck with her for two more years.

*Remember that fraudster Elizabeth Holmes will be sentenced today for her role in the Theranos startup scheme; she was convicted on four counts of wire fraud and faces a maximum of 20 years on each count. She’ll get less than that

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of disgraced blood-testing company Theranos Inc., has asked a federal judge for leniency for her fraud crimes, positioning herself as a loving mother and selfless community servant.

Loving my tuchas! The only person she ever loved was Elizabeth Holmes herself. But I digress:

Ms. Holmes, who has asked for a sentence of home confinement and community service, and no more than 18 months in prison, faces an uphill battle when she appears for sentencing in a San Jose, Calif., federal court Friday, according to defense attorneys who have followed her case.

Government lawyers who prosecuted Ms. Holmes have asked for a 15-year prison sentence, a three-year supervised release and more than $800 million in restitution. A probation officer tasked with an independent report recommended Ms. Holmes receive a nine-year prison sentence. U.S. sentencing guidelines that the judge must consider recommend the equivalent of life in prison for offenders guilty of fraud conspiracies as large as Ms. Holmes’s.

Fox Business adds this:

Larry Levine, a former federal inmate who now runs Wall Street Prison Consultants, says Holmes would be lucky to get 15 years and not more, considering the dollar amount involved alone. He said there are a number of enhancements Holmes could receive under federal sentencing guidelines, too, given that her crimes were sophisticated, involving multiple conspirators and multiple victims.

FOX Business asked Levine about the prospect of Holmes receiving a lenient sentence.

“You’ve got a better chance of Jesus coming back in front of you right now and being knighted by the king than her getting 18 months,” Levine suggested.

LOL! My guess: ten years. What’s yours?

*WNBA star Britney Griner is now in a penal colony, but fortunately not in Siberia. Still, it sounds grim:

The American basketball star Brittney Griner was transferred to a penal colony outside Moscow on Thursday, her lawyers said, where she will begin to serve a nine-year prison term after a Russian court convicted her on a drug charge.

Ms. Griner, 32, had been moved to the IK-2 female penal colony in the small town of Yavas, about 300 miles southeast of Moscow, the lawyers said in a statement. According to the website of the Russian prisons’ service, the colony is capable of holding 820 inmates.

“Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment,” the lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Aleksandr Boikov, said in the statement, adding that this is “a very challenging period for her.”

. . . A 2017 article by Moskovsky Komsomolets, a Russian newspaper, described widespread torture, harsh beatings and slave labor conditions in the IK-2. Inmates often work from 7 a.m. until midnight or later and are not allowed to use a washroom, the article said, quoting former inmates.

*I offer this in passing, because for some reason it’s big news (it’s in the Washington Post as “breaking news” and was on the NBC News last night. Apparently Swift herself canceled the sale, as fans were in an Internet crush to buy them, and tickets were going for as high as $3,400!  I can’t be bothered to learn more.

*The BBC reports on the most bashed-in bridge in the UK:

A bridge that has been hit 33 times in the last 12 months has been named the most-bashed in Britain.

The 7ft (2.1m)-high Stonea Road bridge near Manea, Cambridgeshire, has become well-known locally for being struck.

Lower Downs Road bridge in Wimbledon, London, and Harlaxton Road bridge in Grantham, Lincolnshire, had 18 and 17 strikes respectively.

There were 1,833 bridge strikes across Britain’s rail network in 2021-22, according to Network Rail.

Here it is:

And an accident:

A van was almost sliced in two when it struck Stonea Road bridge in Cambridgeshire in 2019

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s out with Baby Kulks, though they’re still not friends. (Hili will tolerate Kulka, but that’s the first step. . . )

Kulka: They are taking photos of us.
Hili: I see.
(Photo: Paulina)
In Polish:
Kulka: Fotografują nas.
Hili: Widzę.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina)


A Jewish LOLcat has a question (from Malcolm):

From Merilee, a Christmas tree for cat owners:

From Stash Krod, a Maddie Dai cartoon depicting nouvelle cuisine, food I avoid:

This was retweeted by God, who is on the side of the dissidents battling the Iranian government (note: the first picture, apparently showing the dead child, is potentially disturbing):

Retweeted by Masih Alinejad. Womanly courage indeed!

From Malcolm. The linked article is worth reading:

From Luana: God is speaking directly here, saying that Biden stole the election (sound up):

From Gravelinspector: the work of a medieval scalawag artist (at least the cat looks like a cat):

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl gassed at age four

Tweets from the famous Dr. Cobb. It’s weird duck season. Look at the one in the second tweet!

Paleontological evidence for early cooking of fish (780,000 years ago!):

44 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. As of January, Nancy Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House … . She done good.

    I gotta confess I wasn’t always a Pelosi fan. But over the last four years she’s done a masterful job, both in handling Donald Trump (during the first two years) and in managing her slim-majority caucus (during the entire four years). She’s been this nation’s most effective legislator since LBJ was Master of the Senate in the ’50s while Republican Dwight Eisenhower was president.

    Tommy D’Alesandro (longtime Democratic boss of Baltimore) didn’t raise his little girl to be anybody’s fool.

    1. Hakeem Jeffries may replace Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader. Perhaps not surprisingly, the far Left has already begun to attack him for not being progressive enough. On the leftist web site, Truthout, one Sharon Zhang has assailed Jeffries with a list of his misdeeds, including his support of Israel. In its failure to take over the Democratic Party, the far Left cannot resist the attempt to tear the Party apart, regardless of the still lingering danger of Trumpism. Despite its unrelenting litany of failures for more than a century, the far Left has learned nothing. If fascism should ever triumph in this country (which is a hell more likely than a Leftist success), the far Left should look to itself to blame. But, as all ideologues on the political spectrum, the Far left is characterized by rigidity in their thinking and introspection is not to be found.

    2. I and many others will always remember Pelosi for her historic, histrionic, childish, graceless, narcicisstic ripping up of the SOTU address. That, and her weird eyebrows. Well, that and her weird eyebrows and her giant fake gavel. And they call for unity, lol. They can’t even manage piddling conventional good manners on the national stage.

      1. You mean as opposed to that paragon of civility, magnanimity, and good manners — not to mention tonsorial trendsetter — Donald Trump?

        Bunny, Bunny, Bunny. LOL.

          1. You alluded to him with regarding to the ripping & tearing action of the State of the Union Address. Anyway, considering Pelosi without Trump (especially as pertains to civility) is like contemplating yin without yang, Frazier without Ali, Wilberforce without Huxley. 🙂

            1. At least Trump managed to maintain decorum during the SOTU. Low bar, I know, but beyond Pelosi’s capability. This has to do with respect for the office and occasion rather than partisan politics.

              1. Her tearing up her copy of Trump’s SOTU address was a show of respect for the office. You are doing patriotism, or whatever you want to call it, wrong.

              2. I think you have encountered the “How dare you call MY child a brat! Look at those little monsters over there!” phenomenon.

              3. Now if only he’d managed to maintain decorum anywhere else…

                Pelosi will be remembered for her major legislative accomplishments, unlike the Trump administration and past Republican congress.

              4. Haha! As if Trump had any respect for the office of the President. If she had done that for any other recent president I’d agree it was inappropriate. Democrat or Republican, they took their role seriously. Trump is for Trump, to heck with what is good for the country.

    3. She has certainly been effective, but she has set some unfortunate precedents:

      –Ripping up the State of the Union speech
      –Not allowing the opposition party to pick committee members
      –Impeaching a president after he left office

      These will not be much fun when the shoe is on the other foot.

      1. The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump for the second time on January 13, 2021, a week before his term in office ended.

        Republicans selected the minority members of House committees throughout Nancy Pelosi’s tenure as Speaker, though Marjorie Taylor Greene was stripped of her committee assignments by a vote of the full House chamber (in which 11 Republicans joined) for her egregious conduct. And (after Kevin McCarthy, at the urging of Donald Trump, reneged on the agreement to appoint a fully bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6th insurrection) Nancy Pelosi nixed two of McCarthy’s five initial appointments to the J6 committee because the two were potential witnesses. Rather than select two other members from the 213-strong GOP House caucus to serve on the J6 committee, Kevin McCarthy took his ball and went home — one of the dumbest moves ever by a House minority leader.

        1. Remember when Harry Reid got rid of the filibuster for judicial nominees? That led to the current composition of the supreme court.

          I suspect something similar will happen with Pelosi’s new norms.

          I hope I am wrong, but I am a big believer in Chesterton’s fence.

            1. True, but irrelevant. If you make the first move in a gunfight, you can hardly complain when your opponent shoots back.

              And as to Ken’s point that technically the House impeached Trump before he left office (even though the impeachment trial was after), he reminds me that Nancy left another bad precedent with the “snap” impeachment vote.

              1. The House impeached Trump a week after he fomented an insurrection.

                Do you think the Article I branch of government should be powerless during the two-and-a-half month lame duck period where the lame duck Article II president breaks the law in an effort to avoid being a lame duck, and instead tries to remain in office illegally, contrary to the will of the American electorate as plainly expressed by the results of a free and fair federal election?

                Do you really want to encourage such lawless behavior by a lame duck president by denying to congress the one tool it has with which to respond?

                Sure, the impeachment of a president at such a late date was unprecedented. But the fault lies entirely with Donald Trump, not with Nancy Pelosi.

              2. Gunfight?
                That’s why I don’t trust your judgement. Your metaphors are consistently cliche and off base. Good day sir! sounds about right. Eh?

  2. This is one election [Lauren Boebert vs. Adam Frisch] I really wanted the Republicans to lose, but it may go to a runoff …

    I don’t believe Colorado law requires that congressional races be won by 50%+ of the vote, so I don’t think Boebert and Frisch will go to a runoff, though it seems headed for a recount.

  3. Why don’t they fix that railroad underpass then? In Chicago in the 90s, the Lawrence Avenue underpass for the Metra tracks used to get hit by big trucks that ignored the height sign. The city finally lowered the road under the bridge so that there was sufficient height for trucks to pass.

    1. In the UK, van drivers are expected to know how high their vehicles are, and to know how to read.

      Besides, if they lowered a road in Cambridgeshire, it would probably be below sea level.

      1. All drivers are expected to know the size of their vehicles; professional drivers, doubly so. It’s part of your “before you put the keys in the ignition” checks, along with tyres, bodywork, lights. OK, nobody does it, but drivers who collide with structures do routinely get “careless driving” or “driving without due care and attention” convictions, and sometimes a ban too, if they’ve got too many points.
        Where I grew up, there was a railway bridge on a bus route. A single-decker would pass under it easily ; a double decker would jam. Every 2-3 years a driver would forget that he was in a double-decker and … the evitable happened. The bridge was still there, still with it’s battered warning signs last time I saw it – about 5 months ago. That’s order-of 70 years that the Late&NeverEarly (and successors) has been repairing the bridge at vehicle-insurance company’s costs.

        Besides, if they lowered a road in Cambridgeshire, it would probably be below sea level.

        Well, below the water table ; significant engineering. And since all such crashes are the driver’s fault (not knowing the size of your vehicle), and the insurance company pays for repairs, why on earth should they go to the effort of raising the railway? It was built to an adequate height in the 1840s, so it’s not that the drivers have an excuse.
        That van … “split almost in two”. They shouldn’t fail like that – particularly from an after-market roof fitting. I suspect a “cut’n’shut”.

    2. There’s a bridge on Independence Avenue in Kansas City, MO that eats box trucks regularly. I’ve seen several ripped open, and one car that plowed into the concrete pillar at an excessively high rate of speed (the driver did not survive). The ridge is owned by a railroad, they can’t lower the road because utilities run under it, and raising the bridge I assume would be expensive and affect the track grade. No matter how many warning signs and flashing lights, people just don’t pay attention.

    3. I’m betting on three classes of reasons, DrB. Bridges are inherently fascinating to railfans.

      Ground conditions—it’s in a fen—may not allow digging the road any deeper without flooding it or undermining the deepened bridge abutments (which latter would constitute a tort to the railway whose right of way it is.). The earth works necessary to prevent this, or to build an ugly concrete overpass high enough to give 22 feet of clearance over the railheads of both tracks, might not be warranted for a small rural road. Seven feet under double track is pretty tight. The engineers likely knew what they were doing. way back when.

      Financial conflict. The road authority might be trying to get the railway to pay part of the cost and the railway Is baulking because the underpass works fine as is from its perspective. Unless a truck hits the bridge hard enough to damage the bridge and not just the truck, the railway doesn’t care. Remember the road authority put the road under the railway, which was there first. Your problem, says the railway. If the bridge is damaged, the railway sues the truck driver. This may be the cost-minimizing solution. Railway bridges, even short ones, are heavy, robust masterpieces of civil engineering hard to destroy.

      Politics. The job may be too big to do with diggers powered by batteries and recharged from windmills. It may not have high enough priority to be allowed diesel fuel under Britain’s Net-Zero commitment. Less facetiously, an overpass would undoubtedly be opposed by the Greens on account of the concrete. And rural ratepayers along the road are likely pleased that vehicles over 7 feet tall will, one way or another, be unable to use their road as a shortcut.

      1. Remember the road authority put the road under the railway, which was there first.

        Very unlikely. Far more likely that the road was there for centuries before the railway – and recorded, with limitations on right of access in local land-ownership records, Enclosure Acts, etc. This is Britain – who owned the land in “Time Immemorial” (which was about 1300CE, I forget the exact date, but it was an exact date) can affect rights and obligations today. Dealing with conflicting rights of way like this was, AIUI, part of the reason that establishing a new railway line generally required (in Victorian times ; probably still does require) an Act of Parliament. One railway line, one Act.
        7ft clearance seems a perfectly adequate height for the cart driver to dismount and lead the horses (and cart) under the bridge. So that would have been the specification in the Act for that line. The railway companies brought the politician’s votes, so the Acts were drafted to their benefit.

        And rural ratepayers along the road are likely pleased that vehicles over 7 feet tall will, one way or another, be unable to use their road as a shortcut.

        A lot of “Chelsea Tractors” are taller than that. [img] worlds-tiniest-violin.gif [/img]

        1. You are right of course, G-I. I mis-spoke and mis-thought. That road likely goes back to King Arthur. In western Canada the railways preceded roads. A settlement that grew up would locate itself mostly on one side of the railway, the side where the station and the tavern were, so as not to require permission from the CPR to build grade crossings for local wagon roads. As the road network gradually expanded regionally, the railway held the high cards when the roads met the tracks.

          So I suppose I should have said that once a railway gets authority to acquire its land it then has legal primacy in right-of-way conflicts, no matter who was there first. It must have been highly contentious in the beginning: the notion that the time-honoured rules of giving way at intersections suddenly didn’t apply to these new rail way things flying along at 30 miles an hour.

          I had to look up what a Chelsea Tractor was…. :-D. Even my little Honda Civic with a bicycle on the roof rack exceeds 7 feet. Don’t ask me how I know….

  4. My guess [for Elizabeth Holmes’s sentence]: ten years. What’s yours?

    The day after Holmes’s conviction, I predicted in this space that she’d get 10 years (“a dime”). See here. On another occasion, I said that, if I were making book on the outcome, I’d set the over/under betting line on Holmes’s sentence in the 8 to 10 year range. See here.

    I’ve seen no reason since to depart from those calls.

  5. why does the amount of money stolen have so much to do with the sentence? Stealing $100 from a poor person might be morally worse than stealing 100 million from, say,, Bill Gates. So why is penalty assessesed primarily on money amount taken? Holmes certainly needs a penalty (s) -and a huge fine seems appropriate. But prison for years., I don’t know. Justice systems are so capricious…..

    1. The federal sentencing guidelines regarding fraud offenses, USSG section 2B1.1 authorize the enhancement of a sentence where the fraud “resulted in a substantial financial hardship” to the victims. See subsections (b)(2)(B) and (C). So it is not as though the factor you raise is ignored under the federal sentencing scheme.

  6. I just recently had the tasting menu at a Anson Eleven in El Paso, that if not officially nouvelle cuisine, certainly seemed similar, with small, decorative portions with each course. The upside is that they bring out plenty of courses, so you leave satisfied with the overall amount of food. Sure, you’re not going to be as full as after a trip to Golden Corral, but it’s not like they bring only one course of bitesize food and that’s it. I rather like the variety. (They also have a more traditional menu in their fine dining section, and a much more casual bistro on the ground floor.)

  7. Eighty – three – year – old Canadian Atwood was born this 18 November day / y1939.

    ” This is not an attack on Christianity, but … … the FACT IS
    Christians have long persecuted other sects and each other.
    People were saying things like, ‘ A woman’s place IS in the home. ‘
    I got to thinking, well, ‘ How would someone e n f o r c e thoughts like that ? ‘ ”

    — Ms Margaret Atwood upon her writing of ” The Handmaid’s Tale ”
    — interview, New York Times, 14 April y1990


  8. Frisch conceded a while ago and called the opposition. He said a mandatory recount was unlikely to change the result.

    Meanwhile, the lower end of 200-500C (400-930F) may overlap the higher end of fish baking temps but it is hardly just the right range for well-cooked fish.

  9. That piece about the demographics of Russia was very illuminating!

    Relatedly to the plight of the average Russian, what I’ve been wondering of late is whether – if an accurate survey was possible – the average Russian feels proud to be Russian, compared to 10yrs ago.

  10. Speaking of winter weird-duck season, my wife and I just got back from a walk where we saw five bufflehead ducks swimming and diving in one of the storm-water run-off ponds. There were only two there yesterday, the first buffleheads that we’ve ever seen, that we’ve recognized as such anyway. According to Roger Tory Peterson, the Canadian side of the Lake Ontario shoreline is the northern limit of their winter range…a delightful first for us. It’s been a warm autumn until this week but now cold all over North America. I hope they can find enough to eat.

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