Saturday: Hili dialogue

November 19, 2022 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Saturday, the day when Jewish cats study the LOLCat Bible. It’s November 19, and National Macchiato Day (I’m having my usual latte, though). “Macchaiato” translates as “stained coffee,” and in Italy is an espresso with a bit of steamed milk, comme ça (remember, in Italy and much of Europe, coffee is not a beverage but a drug):

It’s also National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day (did you know you can now buy Coke mixed with coffee?), National Adoption Day, Equal Opportunity Day, National Blow Bagpipes Day, Play Monopoly Day, International Men’s Day, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and World Toilet Day. Be sure to use the loo!

You want a buzz? Try this:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 19 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Here are the House and Senate results as of this morning. The Senate, now in Democratic hands, awaits the runoff election in Georgia (I predict Herschel Walker will lose), while Adam Frisch, Lauren “I got a Glock” Boebert’s opponent, has conceded the Colorado election to DumbAss.

Four crucial House races haven’t yet been decided:

  • California 22nd Congressional District: Representative David Valadao, a Republican running in a strongly Democratic district, leads Rudy Salas, a five-term Democratic assemblyman, with 75 percent of votes counted.

  • California Third Congressional District: Kevin Kiley, a Republican state legislator backed by former President Donald J. Trump, leads his Democratic rival, Kermit Jones, a Navy veteran and physician, with over 60 percent of votes counted in the redrawn district.

  • California 13th Congressional District: Republican John Duarte, a businessman, is leading this race by just 827 votes in a perennial California battleground against Adam Gray, a Democratic state assemblyman, with over 90 percent of votes in.

  • Alaska First Congressional District: Mary Peltola, a Democrat who upset former Gov. Sarah Palin, a Republican, in an August special election to temporarily fill Alaska’s House seat, is seeking another victory to take the seat permanently. She has a strong lead against Ms. Palin and a second Republican rival, Nick Begich, with more than 90 percent of votes counted.

*Well, perhaps there may be indictments in store. Yesterday Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel to handle two criminal investigation of—whose else?—the Trumpster.

There are two different incidents being investigated: “his role in events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and his handling of sensitive government documents.”

The announcement, which a senior law enforcement official said Mr. Garland would make Friday afternoon, came after Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he planned to run for president again, a decision some have claimed was taken to make it more difficult for prosecutors to pursue criminal cases against him.

The appointment of a special counsel was a way for the Justice Department to insulate its investigations against Mr. Trump from political considerations. While special counsels can be fired from their positions, the process is much more arduous than removing ordinary prosecutors from a case.

Special counsels are semi-independent prosecutors who by Justice Department regulations can be appointed for high-level investigations when there can be a conflict of interest, or the appearance of it. They exercise greater day-to-day autonomy than regular United States attorneys, but are ultimately still subject to the control of the attorney general.

. . .Already, Mr. Trump’s supporters have accused the Justice Department under the Biden administration of investigating Mr. Trump for political reasons, and some Republicans have floated the idea of impeaching Mr. Garland if he pursues charges against him. That tension is almost certain to become more pronounced now that Mr. Trump formally announced his tis a candidate for president again.

The department has “a true conflict of interest, real or perceived,” said Claire Finkelstein, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. “Garland won’t be running for president, but his direct boss will be. It would be difficult to put measures in place that would reassure people that the Justice Department was acting with independence on the Trump investigation.”

Well, if it’s all handled by a special counsel, it may not reassure Democrats, but even indictments have to go through the legal process—a process with the presumption of innocence.

*As you might have learned, Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced today for her role in the Theranos startup scandal. She faced four charges, and my prediction was ten years in the slammer. The prosecution suggested 15 years, and they split the difference. (The defense wanted 18 months of home confinement.)

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood testing start-up Theranos, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on Friday for defrauding investors about her company’s technology and business dealings.

The sentence capped a yearslong saga that has captivated the public and ignited debates about Silicon Valley’s culture of hype and exaggeration. Ms. Holmes, who raised $945 million for Theranos and promised that the start-up would revolutionize health care with tests that required just a few drops of blood, was convicted in January of four counts of wire fraud for deceiving investors with those claims, which turned out not to be true.

Judge Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California sentenced Ms. Holmes to 135 months in prison, which is slightly more than 11 years. Ms. Holmes, 38, who plans to appeal the verdict, must report to prison on April 27, 2023.

Federal sentencing guidelines for wire fraud of the size that Ms. Holmes was convicted of recommend 20 years in prison. Ms. Holmes’s lawyers had asked for 18 months of house arrest, while prosecutors sought 15 years and $804 million in restitution for 29 investors.

, , ,Mr. Schenk [Jeffrey Shenk, the lead prosecutor n the case] said Ms. Holmes destroyed the trust between “innovators and investors” in Silicon Valley. He added that Ms. Holmes’s offense was not a single bad act, like insider trading based on a tip, but an extended fraud that occurred over many years. Prosecutors also compared her case to major frauds of the past, including the energy trading company Enron and the long-distance phone company Worldcom, whose chief executives both spent more than a decade in prison.

. . . Ms. Holmes will be assigned to a prison by the Federal Bureau of Prisons based on factors such as location, space, her lack of criminal history and the nonviolent nature of her crime. Minimum security prisons nearest to Ms. Holmes’s residence in Woodside, Calif., include Federal Correctional Institutions in Dublin.

*From reader Ken, a bit of Nooz:

The chief judge for the federal Middle District of Florida has blocked enforcement of the “Stop WOKE Act” pushed through the Florida legislature by Gov. Ron DeSantis. In a 138-page opinion issued today, the judge holds that the law fails the First Amendment’s “viewpoint neutrality” requirement and calls restricting how race and gender can be taught in universities and colleges “positively dystopian.” It quotes liberally from the works of George Orwell (including by kicking off the opinion with the opening line from Nineteen Eighty-Four).
The opinion is available here.

And the FIRE press release is here; an excerpt (their emphasis):

Today, a federal court stopped enforcement of key parts of the “Stop WOKE Act,” calling the law “positively dystopian” and ruling that it violates the First Amendment because it censors viewpoints on Florida’s college campuses. Citing George Orwell, the court criticized the state’s power grab “to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom.’”

The law turns professors into mouthpieces of the government, snatching away their ability to offer any viewpoint not endorsed by the state — even for the sake of argument. It also limits their ability to teach on concepts related to race and sex and requires faculty to censor guest lecturers.

Adriana and Sam joined with FIRE in September to challenge the law. Adriana, a University of South Florida professor, would have been required to remove course readings — including one on Jackie Robinson and segregation for her course on sports history — to comply with the law. Sam, head of USF’s First Amendment Forum student group, said it’s impossible to engage in frank discussions of contested issues when a professor’s response to questions may be reported to administrators or government officials for formal action.

That is why state legislatures — Republican or Democratic — should not enact laws that restrict constitutionally protected speech in college classrooms. FIRE will continue to fight any and all attempts to limit the First Amendment rights of the American people.

*Nellie Bowles’s snarky Friday news summary at Bari Weiss’s substack is called “TGIF: SBF. FTZ. WTF?” (free to read, but subscribe if you read often). Here are a couple of her items

→ Speaking of charismatic fringes: Kari Lake, a fascinating right-wing candidate for Arizona governor who spent her campaign talking about election denial and bashing John McCain, lost to the moderate liberal Katie Hobbs. Hobbs got two-thirds of independent voters and 11% of Republicans. Axios put together a great run-down of all the purist candidates who lost on both sides. It turns out that yelling about RINOs and Dan Crenshaw and John McCain is fun on Fox News. It’s fun on Twitter. And it’s probably a hit at Claremont Institute parties (I imagine they have parties?). But it is not great for creating a coalition and winning elections.

→ Very scary if the Asian population gets “out of proportion:” I missed this when it came out, but here’s the New Yorker on what might happen if Harvard’s not allowed to discriminate against Asians anymore: “If the Court prohibits the use of race, so that race-neutral methods become the only permissible means to achieve diversity, schools will likely play with formulas to produce a diverse class in which Asian admissions don’t get unacceptably out of proportion.” (Hat tip to Zaid Jilani for the find.)

→ Ukraine almost starts World War III: For a moment, it seemed like Russia was beginning to bomb Poland, which would have been the start of a World War. Thankfully (?) it was just Ukraine’s military accidentally sending an air defense missile, killing two Polish farm workers. The Associated Press issued a big correction. Zelensky is still denying that Ukraine could be responsible, saying: “This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”

The last item above is the first time that I’ve seen Zelensky make a big mistake. He should admit that he’s wrong and move on.

*Despite Budweiser’s sponsorship of the World Cup in Qatar, the country has decided to ban the sale of beer in all eight soccer stadiums–a reversal of what they said previously (beer sales are highly restricted in that Muslim country). It’s a disaster!!!

. . . the belief that the change had originated with Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani — the brother of Qatar’s ruling emir and the royal most active in the day-to-day planning of the tournament — suggested it was nonnegotiable.

Now beer will not merely be hidden out of view: It will not be available to fans at all.

The ban is the latest and most dramatic point of contention yet between FIFA and Qatar, which had sought and won the right to host the World Cup as part of an ambitious effort to announce itself on the global stage. In recent weeks, Qatari government leaders, including the emir, have mounted an increasingly strident defense of their nation.

But their latest U-turn will infuriate fans; leave organizers scrambling to adjust; and complicate FIFA’s $75 million sponsorship agreement with Budweiser.

Now the fans will be pissed in the American sense, but not pissed in the British sense.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Paulina is photographing Hili and, as she always does when taking pictures of cats, carries a small box of cat treats:

Paulina: Guess what I have in the box.
Hili: Let me taste it and I will tell you.
(Photo: Paulina)
In Polish:
Paulina: Zgadnij co mam w pudełeczku?
Hili: Daj spróbować, to ci odpowiem.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina)
Note: because Paulina has appeared in dialogues lately, readers inquired whether Andrzej is okay.  He’s fine; he’s just letting Paula take the Hili pics while he writes the accompanying dialogue.


From Nicole:

From Simon, who says, “Remember “Florida man makes announcement, page 26″, from the online version of the New York Post? Well, here is what it said.” [This is the paper’s piece on Trump’s announcement that he’ll run for President in two years.]:

From Malcolm, a movie from FB showing the perfidy of cats—33 of them.

Two tweets from God, who is creating a new site:

From Masih: the funeral oration of a mother whose 10-year-old was killed by Iranian cops:

From Malcolm: a cat lullaby:

From Ken, who says, “Ol’ Double D, displaying once again for all the world to see his customary lack of character and class.”  Dinesh just can’t help saying stupid things.

From Luana. I wonder if this debate really came off:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a mother and her son were gassed before he was even a year old:

Tweets from Matthew. I absolutely love this first one (sound up):

Just wait for the hand. . . .

44 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Re Theranos: Just eleven years for that many billions pocketed? It’s rather worthwhile if you consider how much compensation a wrongly convicted but innocent person would get after eleven years of wrongful imprisonment.

  2. The milk in a macchiato does not have to be steamed. A good bartender would ask you if you want it with hot or cold milk. I prefer it cold.

  3. As Budweiser don’t make beer I don’t understand why they’re concerned about the ban on beer sales. They can still sell their stuff! 😉

              1. Not her bustline, just her character and class. You have to admit you provided the perfect Double D set-up line, even if the joke was lame. And don’t try to tell me Mrs. P was unaware of the exposure.

              2. @Bunny:

                That some paparrazo took an unauthorized photograph of Nancy Pelosi’s décolletage while she was wearing a swimsuit at a beach while on vacation in Italy last July somehow demonstrates Nancy Pelosi’s lack of character and class?

      1. A man walks into a bar and asks for a beer. The bartender asks if he wants a bud? The man thinks about this for a second before replying “no thanks, I’d prefer a beer”. 😂

        Sorry PCC(E) but bud doesn’t exactly have a great reputation here in the UK.

    1. I absolutely do not understand why a manufacturer of an alcoholic beer flavoured* beverage would want anything to do with sponsoring an event taking place in a Muslim country where alcohol is generally banned.

      *for some value of “flavour”

  4. Regarding trans liberation, exactly what are their demands? The right to speak freely? Vote? Be safe from unlawful search and seizure? Own property? Serve on juries? Get married?

  5. I haven’t found it in the articles I’ve read, so I’ve a question; was Holmes fined?

    I read one report that she was fined $400, $100 for each count. I can’t believe that, if true, is the extent of the financial penalties she’s to pay.

    What have I missed?

    1. As I recall, there was a fine also, but it was small.
      On the other hand, there is still to be a restitution hearing, where the prosecutors are apparently asking that she make restitution to the investors of something around $800 million.
      I don’t recall exactly when that hearing was to be, but I think sometime next month.

  6. I think the Special Counsel is ridiculous. The DOJ doesn’t require a Special Counsel in order to file charges against Trump. He’s been under investigation for six years, including one Special Counsel, one de facto Special Counsel in the guise of the Federal Attorney for the Southern District of New York, two impeachments, and the January 6 Committee. If the DOJ is questioning whether there is enough to charge him, then they don’t think there is. This is just political harassment by the Administration of a political opponent. They didn’t even wait for the Jan. 6 Committee’s report; they were triggered by Trump’s campaign announcement. Yet, somehow, Republicans announcing they were going to investigate things like the southern border are labeled conspiracy theories by the White House. Well, Joe Biden called the tune. Expect lots of calls for “civility” and “bipartisanship” and cries of “foul.”

    1. Ken, why do you think the DOJ tolerates so many leaks to the press from their office? I view it as highly unethical and unprofessional. What do you think?

      1. Doesn’t seem to me that there’ve been an exceptional number of Justice Dept. leaks regarding this matter, Lysander.

        Donald Trump purloined the presidential records at issue from the White House in January 2021. Despite the National Archives and the FBI sedulously trying to obtain return of the documents for over a year and a half, I don’t recall any press reports regarding these efforts prior to the execution of the court-ordered search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on August 5, 2022 (and it was Donald Trump himself who first disclosed that agents were searching his residence; the press was given no advance notice by the FBI).

        The Justice Department has 115,000 employees. Unfortunately, some of them will inevitably take it upon themselves to communicate with the press outside official channels. This has happened in every US presidential administration to date. (This was a frequent source of annoyance to me as a criminal defense lawyer. Judges take a dim view of trial counsel making statements to the press, and, in high-profile cases, will sometimes impose gag orders. This rarely kept federal agents from passing tips to the press off-the-record with impunity.)

        I’ve seen nothing to suggest that there are leaks coming from AG Merrick Garland (something that would seem completely out-of-character for him) or from anyone else at the top of the DoJ organizational chart.

    2. I think it was a very, very wise move. Garland was appointed GA by Biden (Biden can fire him any day). Biden has said he will run in 2024, Trump just said he will run in 2024.
      In order to remove any appearance of partisanship, since Trump might be Biden’s opponent in 2024, Garland nominated a Special Counsel with a great -unblemished by politics- reputation.
      Really the right thing to do.
      So no, it is positively not not ridiculous. Dr Brydon, I would like to disagree 100% with you there (something I rarely do, generally I find one or some good points in your posts, even in the ones I largely disagree with).
      I’d add to that that Garland appears himself to be a very good impartial GA. I have great respect for his MO. He would have made a great SC Justice. I guess that even Thomas would have listened to him. Infinitely better than the last two acquisitions.

  7. The last item above is the first time that I’ve seen Zelensky make a big mistake. He should admit that he’s wrong and move on.

    At this point, I’m reserving judgement because I’m not entirely sure he is wrong. The missile made a pretty large crater for an air defence missile, it seems to me. On the other hand, if it was an S-300, I gather the landing site would be out of range of anywhere Russia could launch them from.

    Whoever fired it, it’s not going to bring NATO into the war because it was clearly a tragic accident. So, yes, I agree Zelenskyy should move on.

      1. Scott Ritter is ‘damaged goods’. About all of his predictions about this war were wrong, at least I can’t think of a single one where he was right. Eg. a week or two ago, I think it was the 4th of November, days before Ukraine liberating Kherson, he contended that Kherson would not be liberated by Ukraine in a million years. The guy has no credibility whatsoever. I suspect he is on the Russian Propaganda pay-roll.

        Ukraine is winning this war, they have the momentum, why would they risk to embarrass their staunch material supporters (ie. NATO)? The post is ridiculous, as are about all of Scott Ritter’s takes.

        1. So yes, I definitely ‘pooh pooh’ the source. The source absolutely needs to be ‘pooh poohed’. A marine intelligence officer and a nuclear reduction negotiator gone rogue, by spreading Russian propaganda. It is sad to see the depth of his fall from credibility.
          The fact he’s a convicted sex offender (minors) does not improve his standing either. I do not think being a sex offender in itself would be damaging to your analysis. However, this is not verified, but I would not be surprised the Russians have some ‘Kompromat’ on him. He had 2 sex convictions (involving minors), so there are possibly more cases.
          Take my advice and ‘pooh pooh’ the source too.

          1. Why would Ukraine risk it? To draw NATO into the war. It’s not “my” analysis; it’s Ritter’s, offered as a dissenting POV. There is no evidence the Russians have ‘Kompromat” on him. In wartime, it’s propaganda on all sides and all the way down.

  8. Upon 19 November y1917, inside India,
    this person, President and Prime Minister Indira Nehru ( Gandhi ),
    also perhaps a carnivore, was born and, later factually stated,
    ” There exists no politician in India daring enough
    to attempt to explain to the masses that … … cows can be eaten. ”

    Also born this day within Iowa’s y1997,
    some 80 years’ time later and from out of Ms Bobbi
    by way of her helps from Doctors Karen Drake and Paula Mahone ? … …
    … … the McCaughey Septuplets who, today, are each 25 years old.


  9. Remember that piece denying the existence of maternal instinct? I hope the author of that has a chance to see this chimp video.

  10. Despite Budweiser’s sponsorship of the World Cup in Qatar, the country has decided to ban the sale of beer in all eight soccer stadiums–a reversal of what they said previously (beer sales are highly restricted in that Muslim country). It’s a disaster!!!

    Today’s Daily Mirror had the front page headline, “They think it’s all sober – it is now!”, referencing a famous line from the commentary when England won the World Cup in 1966:

    1. It’s a possibility they were lied to by Qatar’s rulers just to “score” the event. But it is not as bad as no beer at all.
      In an interview with a British fan, they can drink at a watering hole in the vacinity and take their seat closer to kick off, what a shame they have to tea total for 90 minutes.

  11. On the issue of the Special Counsel’s vulnerability to political pressure, this might be another good reason for President Biden to not seek re-election.

    The Economist ’s “Lexington” columnist is calling on President Biden to announce he won’t stand. The reasons will be familiar to American readers and include the near-certainty that his legislative program will be stymied. (At press time it seemed likely that the Democrats would lose at least the House, which they did.). Bowing out would take some of the partisan incentive out of GOP plans to investigate his and family’s business dealings and he could go out on a high note instead of facing a nasty primary challenge, which by historical precedent he would surely not win re-election. The newspaper thinks Biden has done a good job, strongly supports rapidly decarbonizing the economy—permanently high prices for both taxed gasoline and subsidized electricity are part of that process, not a temporary hiccup. It has contempt for Republican election deniers. It generally thinks Democrats are a force for good in the world and would like to see one win the White House in 2024. Biden they say isn’t that Democrat. Many Democrats seem to agree, but how to lever the Big Guy out??

    If the President bows out, Merrick Garland’s boss would not be the electoral opponent of the man his employee is investigating. This would take the pressure—infinitesimally small, I’m sure—off the prosecutor to come to an outcome politically advantageous for Mr. Biden personally. It might be the price the current President has to pay if he really wants to lock up the once and future one without it looking like a political vendetta.

    Alternatively, if there is no personal political stake, the special prosecution might fizzle out, as the criminal federal tax case in New York seems to have. Trump might then bow out and fade into deserved oblivion…which is all everyone but click-hungry media really wants, isn’t it?

    *Nov 12-18 issue, print p. 29

    1. To say that Biden would surely not win re-election is too premature to say. We do not know what the state of the country will be in two years, who, if anybody, will challenge him in the Democratic primary, and who the Republican opponent will be. His re-election is far from guaranteed, but so is his loss.

      1. The newspaper predicted only that if he is primaried, he surely wouldn’t get re-elected. No sitting President has, since the end of the Second World War. Sure, if no one runs against him, all bets are off.
        My point is just that if Biden decides not to run, and there are reasons that he mightn’t, it would make the Special Counsel’s job easier, answering a concern raised by Prof. Finkelstein.

        Of course the appearance of impartiality is not important to partisans who just want to see Trump in the dock, I get that. Have it all, if you can.

    2. Since Garland appointed a Special Investigator, of unblemished reputation, the point of Biden going for re-election has become moot.
      Note, I think Biden is a pretty good president, achieving lots of important legislation in two years (more than most in 4 years), but I do think some fresh blood would be better against DeSantis (I think DeSantis with his absolutely brilliant ‘white boot move’, will be the Republican candidate, not Trump). Some fresh, intelligent blood, like Whittmer or Franken. Note, as much as I like Buttigieg, I don’t think the US is ready for an openly gay president, but I maybe mistaken, I thought the US was not ready for a ‘black’ president either in 2008. (And yes, I would vote for Biden -or Buttigieg- over DeSantis anytime, if I were a USian. I would not vote for any Republican candidate unless they go back to the GOP of Lincoln or Teddy).

  12. From Luana. I wonder if this debate really came off
    It did. The opening speech in favour of the motion “This house believes in the right to offend” by a non-binary student seemed to be arguing in favour of the opposing side’s case and took some unnecessary sideswipes at Stock, who was on the same team. Nevertheless, their side won the debate – Stock and Arif Ahmed were both excellent, although up against students you would hope that professors would prevail:

    1. I’m all for the right to offend, no matter how much my delicate sensibilities are offended, and no matter how much I am disinclined to offend. I’m no less for the offended to retaliate in kind if they so wish. Who is to say who should keep their mouths shut in response to criticism? Those who offend have no right to expect the offended to keep their mouths shut in response in order to “Keep The Peace.” (I think of, for example, NY Times writers who are snootily dismissive of those who respond to what they label “slights.”) Let all have at it and let the chips fall where they may.

      1. Absolutely. As Lord Justice Sedley famously said in Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions (1999):

        Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative… Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having”.

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