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.
*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.
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)
Paulina: Zgadnij co mam w pudełeczku?Hili: Daj spróbować, to ci odpowiem.(Zdjęcie: Paulina)
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:
I'm not moving anywhere yet.
But I am opening up a new church:
— God (Not a Parody, Actually God) (@TheTweetOfGod) November 18, 2022
If Elon Musk kills Twitter you will never hear from Me again and My son will communicate with you only on breakfast foods. #RIPTwitter
— God (Not a Parody, Actually God) (@TheTweetOfGod) November 18, 2022
From Masih: the funeral oration of a mother whose 10-year-old was killed by Iranian cops:
The security forces killed this 10 Yr old child #KianPirfalak, then they put the blame on ISIS. But listen to his brave mother who risks her life to expose the truth about the murder of her innocent son.
It is heartbreaking 💔#MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/tbcZs9N1mI
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 18, 2022
From Malcolm: a cat lullaby:
— cats with jobs (@CatWorkers) November 6, 2022
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.
Frustrated, bitter and out of a job, Nancy Pelosi believes it’s her turn to get hammered
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) November 17, 2022
Cambridge Union Society is hosting noted transphobe Kathleen Stock to debate the principle that 'This house has the right to offend'
If you want to remind her that being offensive isn't aspirational, grab a sign and come along at 7:30 tonight. pic.twitter.com/D3zfe6UWYm
— Dr Amanda Brunton (@Amandycat) November 17, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a mother and her son were gassed before he was even a year old:
19 November 1941 | A Dutch Jewish boy, Benjamin Vischschoonmaker, was born in Amsterdam.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 19, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. I absolutely love this first one (sound up):
one time in college a professor spent 90 minutes talking about an example scenario that involved beef and i thought nothing of it until several weeks later when i found out that my classmate had made a minute long compilation of all 125 times he said "beef" in one lecture pic.twitter.com/t5gzgwybp1
— Annie? Rauwerda? (@anniierau) November 13, 2022
Did a penguin film this Henry?
— Rudi (@RudiMufc) November 17, 2022
Just wait for the hand. . . .
If this is the last thing everyone sees on Twitter then I can absolutely live with that… https://t.co/UrxucnxAPj
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) November 18, 2022