Wednesday: Hili dialogue

December 7, 2022 • 6:45 am

Good morning on a Hump Day (“Kupros diena” in Lithuania): Wednesday, December 7, 2022. First, it’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and, for food, National Cotton Candy Day.

Here’s a 2½-minute video summarizing the attack and its igniting the U.S. entry into WWII.  We declared war on Germany on December 11, three days after the declaration against Japan.

It’s also Letter Writing Day, and, if you’re a Scientologist, Flag Base Day.  Are 

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 7 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*First, Kirstie Alley, the woman who replaced Diane (Shelley Long) on the t.v. show “Cheers,” died of cancer at the young age of 71.

*It’s not a criminal charge, but still an embarrassment and a rebuke to Trump: his real estate company was found guilty of criminal tax fraud, conspiracy and other counts: a total of 17 “guilty” verdicts. The organization gave a lot of illegal perks to its higher-ups:

Donald J. Trump’s family real estate business was convicted on Tuesday of tax fraud and other financial crimes, a remarkable rebuke of the former president’s company and what prosecutors described as its “culture of fraud and deception.”

The conviction on all 17 counts, after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, resulted from a long-running scheme in which the Trump Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which led the case against two Trump Organization entities, had previously extracted a guilty plea from the architect of the scheme, Allen H. Weisselberg, the company’s long-serving chief financial officer. Mr. Weisselberg, one of the former president’s most loyal lieutenants, testified as the prosecution’s star witness, but never implicated Mr. Trump.

While prosecutors stopped short of indicting the former president, they invoked his name throughout the monthlong trial, telling jurors that he personally paid for some of the perks and even approved a crucial aspect of the scheme. The prosecution also sounded a drumbeat of damning evidence that spotlighted his company’s freewheeling culture, revealing that pervasive illegality unfolded under Mr. Trump’s nose for years.

The company’s conviction — coupled with the prosecution’s explosive claim at trial that Mr. Trump was “explicitly sanctioning tax fraud” — could now reverberate through the 2024 presidential race, providing early fodder for opponents and their attack ads.

But the maximum fine—chump change!

The conviction on charges of tax fraud, a scheme to defraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records is hardly a death sentence for the Trump Organization. The maximum penalty it faces is $1.62 million, a rounding error for Mr. Trump, who typically notched hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue during his presidency.

*UPDATE for BELOW:  WARNOCK WINS!  Here’s the NYT tally, and it wasn’t even a real squeaker!:

And a few new words:

Senator Raphael Warnock’s win over Herschel Walker — his fifth victory in just over two years — proved that the Democratic surge in the Peach State two years ago was no Trump-era fluke, no one-off rebuke of an unpopular president. Georgia, with its storied civil rights history, booming Atlanta suburbs like Marietta and exploding ethnic diversity, is now officially contested ground, joining a narrow set of states that will select the next president.

Mr. Warnock’s race was the final marker for a 2024 presidential road map that political strategists, officials and politicians in both parties say will run largely through six states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The shrunken, shifted battlefield reflects a diversifying country remade by the polarizing politics of the Trump era. As white, working-class voters defected from Democrats, persuaded by Donald J. Trump’s populist cultural appeals and anti-elitist rhetoric, demographic changes opened up new presidential battlegrounds in the West and South.

That is not good for Mr. Trump, who lost all six of those states to President Biden two years ago, as he begins to plot his third presidential bid.

As I write this on Tuesday evening, they’re counting the votes in Georgia for the runoff Senatorial election. Who will it be. At 5 pm, with the polls closing in an hour, I predict Warnock the Democrat will win. He’d damn well better—his opponent is less than unworthy to sit in Congress. We’ll know the outcome tomorrow morning unless something weird happens. From the NYT:

Election Day voting in Georgia has so far gone smoothly as the race between Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, and Herschel Walker, his Republican challenger, comes to a close Tuesday under overcast skies.

Here’s what to know as the last race of the midterms is decided:

  • Counties could start reporting vote totals soon after the polls close at 7 p.m., but the secretary of state’s office said it would do a “sanity check” to make sure nothing looks irregular before posting results. It could take until 11 p.m. to determine the result, which will decide whether Democrats win an outright majority in the Senate, 51 seats to 49, or whether the chamber stays evenly divided. Just one seat could make a big difference.

  • Voters encountered few long waits, without the kinds of lines that marred early voting. Democratic election modelers believe Mr. Warnock may have built a lead as large as eight percentage points in early voting, which means Mr. Walker could need to win as much as 60 percent of the Election Day votes to catch up.

  • The runoff is a lose-lose situation for former President Donald J. Trump. If Mr. Warnock wins, candidates endorsed by Mr. Trump will have not only failed to reclaim the Senate for Republicans, but actually lost them a seat. If Mr. Walker wins, a big reason may be the decision to keep the former president out of Georgia during the runoff period.

Does it make a difference since, with Harris’s deciding vote, the Democrats already hold the Senate? Five Thirty Eight thinks so:

Unlike the 2021 iteration, this race won’t decide the balance of power in the Senate — Democrats have already won control of 50 seats, so with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, they have retained the Senate. But given the political diversity in the Democratic caucus and the way Senate committee memberships are distributed, the difference between 50 and 51 seats is significant.

And the fact that we’re again going to a runoff in Georgia is pretty notable. Two years after voting for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in almost three decades, the state’s political leaning remains very much in flux. Is Georgia a red state that will elect Republicans who speak out against former President Donald Trump, like Gov. Brian Kemp, but isn’t willing to elect Trump-aligned Republicans like Walker? Or is it a purple state that sees just enough split-ticket voting to affect the final outcomes?

*The gutsy Ukrainians continued to attack Russian military bases with drones, and successfully (this is the second day). The Russians are miffed, but in return they continue to pound Ukraine’s infrastructure. It’s going to be a long, cold winter in that beleaguered country:

Drones struck inside Russia’s border with Ukraine on Tuesday in the second day of attacks exposing the vulnerability of some of Moscow’s most important military sites, experts said.

Ukrainian officials did not formally confirm carrying out drone strikes inside Russia, and they have maintained ambiguity over previous high-profile attacks.

But Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russia was likely to consider the attacks on Russian bases more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the border with Ukraine as “some of the most strategically significant failures of force protection since its invasion of Ukraine.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian authorities will “take the necessary measures” to enhance protection of key facilities. Russian bloggers who generally maintain contacts with officials in their country’s military criticized the lack of defensive measures.

A fire broke out at an airport in Russia’s southern Kursk region that borders Ukraine after a drone hit the facility, the region’s governor said Tuesday. In a second incident, an industrial plant 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Ukrainian border was also targeted by drones, which missed a fuel depot at the site, Russian independent media reported.

And more Russian war crimes on non-military targets:

In the aftermath, Russian troops carried out another wave of missile strikes on Ukrainian territory that struck homes and buildings and killed civilians, compounding damage done to power and other infrastructure over weeks of missile attacks.

Approximately half of households in the Kyiv region remain without electricity, the regional governor said Tuesday, while authorities in southern Odesa — which was hard hit Monday — say they have managed to restore power to hospitals and some vital services.

Who know which way this will go? I’d love to see Putin in the dock at the International Criminal Court in The Hague

*The World Cup results are wonky today. Have a look at this!

From the WaPo:

Morocco upset Spain in the World Cup’s round of 16 Tuesday in Doha, Qatar, reaching the first quarterfinal in the nation’s history with a 3-0 win in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw. Spain, the 2010 World Cup champion, dominated possession but was unable to break through against its disciplined opponent and failed to convert any of its three attempts against Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou in the shootout. The Atlas Lions are the first African team to reach the World Cup quarterfinals since Ghana in 2010. Continue reading for highlights from the game.

And the highlights:

And The Oryx Test, predicting Spain’s winning of the World Cup, failed miserably. Damn antelopes!

But this is no surprise, though the absence of one player was:

By the fourth goal, even Cristiano Ronaldo, standing and clapping in front of the Portugal bench, could not complain. After the fifth, he only offered a wry smile. Portugal was in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, and for a day even he knew that was a story bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo does not step out of the spotlight easily. Thirty-seven years old and newly unemployed, he has desperately wanted to make his mark at what is almost certainly his final World Cup. His performances in the group stage, though, had not matched his substantial legend, and so on Tuesday night his coach, Fernando Santos, somewhat ruthlessly turned the page.

Ronaldo was dropped from Portugal’s lineup for its game against Switzerland. Gonçalo Ramos, a 21-year-old striker from the Portuguese team Benfica, got the nod instead, earning his first start for Portugal and the unenviable job of replacing the most prolific scorer in his country’s history. In a little more than an hour, Ramos achieved an even more remarkable feat: He made an entire nation, and an entire World Cup, wonder why he hadn’t been starting over Ronaldo all along.

“Not in my biggest dreams,” Ramos said, “did I think about starting in the knockout phase.”

Imposing himself with a veteran’s cool and a gunslinger’s goal celebration, Ramos scored a 67-minute hat trick to power Portugal to a 6-1 victory over Switzerland, and to a date with Morocco in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

When I heard that Ronaldo didn’t play, I thought he’d been injured. But no—they gave him the boot! Oy!

The highlights:

*From the AP’s “oddities” section, we hear of an extraordinarily brave sheepdog who killed an entire pack of coyotes while defending his sheep.

A Georgia sheepdog is recovering at home two days after killing a pack of coyotes that attacked his owner’s flock of sheep, farmer John Wierwiller said.

Casper, a 20-month old Great Pyrenees from Decatur, fought off a pack of coyotes who were threatening Wierwiller’s sheep farm, he said. The fight lasted longer than half an hour, left eight coyotes dead and bloodied Casper, with skin and part of his tail torn off, Wierwiller told Atlanta’s WAGA-TV.

He scampered off but returned injured two days later after Wierwiller put out a call on social media.

“He was kinda looking at me like, ‘Boss, stop looking at how bad I look, just take care of me,’” Wierwiller said.

LifeLine Animal Project has raised more than $15,000 for the sheepdog’s hospital bills.

Though dogs rarely prevail like Casper, packs of coyotes attacking pets have grown somewhat common in rural and growing suburban areas that abut wildlands throughout the Untied States.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili insists on helping Andrzej:

A: Hili, not now.
Hili: Just now you need someone beside you whom you trust.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, nie teraz.
Hili: Właśnie teraz musisz mieć koło siebie kogoś komu ufasz.

And Paulina’s photo of baby Kulka. Look at that yawn! I’ve now made it my Twitter picture, which has long featured Hili. But Hili will return some time. . . .


I couldn’t resist putting this in; it’s from D. J. Grothe’s FB page and the caption is this:

Wowsa. During the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for the police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6, the families of the officers shake hands with Senator Chuck Schumer then walk past and snub Sen Mitch McConnell and Rep Kevin McCarthy.

I love it! Look at Mitch’s little wave as the last person snubs him.

From Barry. If you’re not of a certain age, you won’t get this:

From Nicole:

From Malcolm. How does this guy do it? He even uses his teeth!

From Masih, who thinks that the Iranian abolition of the “morality police” is fake news:

From Malcolm. Engels airbase is in Russia, and, as the BBC reports, this appears to be a Ukrainian drone attack on Russian missile-carrying bombers at the base:

John Cleese tweeted this, and I can’t believe that in all my years watching Monty Python, I never saw it. Greeks win!

Via Earthling (Ziya Tong):

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a man who lasted at most two months in the camp:

Tweets from our own Dr. Cobb. This one is just in time for the holidays:

Matthew about to lecture on dinosaurs while wearing the appropriate “jumper”:

Ah, to see this again in Botany Pond!:

A stately goose parade in Denmark. But why?

23 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. The Capitol Police snub of McConnell and McCarthy raises questions about whether the Capitol Police can be relied upon to carry out their duties in an unbiased way when they involve Republican legislators. Frankly, given the way Pelosi mishandled January 6, and left the Capitol Police holding the bag, I am surprised they shook her hand.

    1. The claim that Nancy Pelosi mishandled security at the US Capitol on January 6, is based solely on the arrant lie by Donald Trump — first made a month after the Jan. 6th insurrection — that he had warned to Pelosi to have national guard troops at the Capitol on that date.

      In fact, Trump had done no such thing. Team Trump secured a permit to hold a rally on The Ellipse on that date, but had not obtained a permit to march on the Capitol — reason being that, while Trump was planning to have his supporters march on the Capitol, he wanted to keep it a secret so that his directions to the crowd on The Ellipse that day appeared to be spontaneous. This was attested to by multiple people within Trump’s circle during the J6 hearings.

    2. Pelosi didn’t instigate the attempted coup or attempt to justify it in any way or even brush it under the carpet afterwards.

      The suggestion that any of it was her fault is gaslighting, I think.

  2. Good Gracious and Magnificent Ceiling Cat, Paws Be Upon You and thank you for that Monty Python!!! (And also John _”Cleeeezzzze”_).

    That’s old, yes, true, but genuinely _classic_ Python like Bach is “classic” – NEVER gets old! Only flaws : it’s too short, and there was only one!

    Anyone know which episode it is? I’ll have to look around…

      1. Thanks!….

        Or should I say,

        [ setting : a gray moor ]
        [ a figure, old, haggard ]
        [ likely starving ]
        [ years-old uncut hair ]
        [ climbing ]
        [ closer ]
        [ closer ]
        [ almost in focus ]
        [ in full view ]

      2. I heartily recommend “Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl” as one of the best live performance comedy films ever made. The group was still in its prime and performing for a super-enthusiastic crowd. Some of the live versions of their classic sketches are even better than the originals.

        The two “Monty Python’s Fliegender Zirkus” episodes are also worth checking out. According to Wikipedia they’re on Netflix, though they probably haven’t received the same restoration as MP’s Flying Circus, which was was released on Blu-Ray a couple years ago.

  3. SCOTUS hears oral arguments this morning in Moore v. Harper, the case presenting the so-called “independent state legislature theory.” That may not sound as sexy as Monday’s argument about the website designer who refused to design sites announcing same-sex weddings, but the case has huge potential implications for how states conduct federal elections and congressional-district gerrymandering. Perhaps most saliently, had the theory been in place at the time of the 2020 presidential election, it might have given Donald Trump a lawful path to steal the election, rather than the blatantly illegal means he sought to employ to achieve that end.

    The “independent state legislature” is considered a fringe theory by the mainstream legal community, and I’m hopeful SCOTUS won’t adopt it. But keep in mind that four justices had to vote in favor of granting certiorari to hear the case (just one fewer than is required to form a majority to decide a case).

    Why the theory is considered fringe is set out in this piece in The Atlantic by the rock-ribbed, hidebound retired Third Circuit judge Michael Luttig, whose chamber long served as a pipeline for feeding law clerks to SCOTUS’s most conservative justices. (By custom, Supreme Court law clerks first serve a clerkship on a lower federal court.)

    Per usual, the live feed of this argument will be available at 10:00 am Eastern at the Supreme Court’s website here.

  4. Thanks Jerry. This has been a true pleasure watching the wonderful assortment of videos. The Greeks game amazing. The Brits do have a wonderful sense of humor. Thanks again. This with the win in Georgia have made my day. GROG

  5. “When I heard that Ronaldo didn’t play, I thought he’d been injured.”

    Ronaldo did play (he came on as a late sub after the match was well won), he just didn’t start the match as he is accustomed to.

    For a player like Ronaldo, this is a substantial blow to his ego!

  6. “Morocco upset Spain in the World Cup’s round of 16 Tuesday in Doha, Qatar, reaching the first quarterfinal in the nation’s history with a 3-0 win in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw.”

    What felt like 500 minutes of too many men running around a square mile of field without scoring, only to have it decided by all of them standing around watching what should have been done in the first five minutes of the match. THIS is why soccer will never be a commercially successful sport here.

    1. Oh here we go with the anti-soccer tropes…

      First of all, there was a lot of action in that match, despite the lack of goals. An engrossing battle between a technically superior team and a counter puncher. There were tough tackles, great exhibitions of skill, and wonderful passing sequences to create chances. A blistering shot followed by a dramatic save can be just as exciting as a goal scored. Spain nearly grabbed it at the last second, with a well-worked move hitting post.

      And further, soccer is commercially successful in the US, at least compared to sports like ice hockey. It’s had a growing and successful league, MLS, for a quarter century now. Detractors like you seem to be stuck in the 80s in your knowledge of the state of the game in the US.

      “A study conducted by the research firm, Ampere Analysis, last month, reveals 49 per cent of US Sport fans claim to like watching soccer on TV, ahead of ice hockey on 37 per cent. ”

      If you really want a boring sport, try watching a modern baseball game for 3.5 hours. I actually used to like this sport, but now its stultifying dull. LOTS of standing around, punctuated by some spitting, crotch-scratching, and the occasional hit. Perhaps they should just have a home-run derby for an hour instead and save us the time.

        1. That’s what DVRs are for…fast forward commercials and/or replays. But you obviously don’t like AFB, and that’s fine too. 🙂

  7. 7 DEC 1789: Delaware, the second to the last state to join the United States under the Articles of Confederation (1779), became the first state to ratify the US Constitution.

  8. The Philosoiphers’ Football Match — Lord, that literally brings tears of laughter every time I see it! The announcer, I believe, is Toby Charles, who presented ‘Football Made in Germany’ on PBS in the 1960s. Note, by the way, that the Greek philosophers are given in German usage.

      1. Indeed. Palin uses brilliant cadence as the “authoritative British” narrator, newsman or, as in this case, sports announcer.

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