It’s Monday, June 19, 2023, and therefore the U.S. national holiday of Juneteenth, There’s a celebratory Google Doodle today, click on the photo below to go to a search as well as an animated search page with confetti and celebrants.
In case you don’t remember the origins of the holiday, here’s what Wikipedia says:
Deriving its name from combining June and nineteenth, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order by Major General Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865 (two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued).
They had already been freed and apparently didn’t know it! In honor of the holiday, the contractor who cleans the building here is making its employees, most of whom are black, go to work! The rest of us white academics get to celebrate on their behalf.
It’s also National Martini Day a drink I’m not that fond of, but will drink if it’s put in front of me (I prefer a Gibson: the version with a pickled onion instead of an olive. This one has a little too much vermouth, and could use a couple more onions (I love gin-soaked marinated cocktail onions).
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 19 Wikipedia page.
There will be no readers’ wildlife feature tomorrow as I have only a couple more groups of photos and must conserve them. It’s clear that this website and its readers are running out of steam.
*The WaPo explains how Trump could use the rules to delay his trial until after the election next year. It’s not pretty.
As former president Donald Trump prepares for trial on charges that he repeatedly violated government rules for handling classified information, his legal team may get a tactical timing advantage from an unlikely source: government rules for handling such secrets.
Trump’s indictment on dozens of charges, including mishandling classified documents and trying to obstruct investigators’ efforts to recover that material, means his case will be tried under the rules of the Classified Information Procedures Act, or CIPA — a law that could, in theory, delay any trial until after the 2024 presidential election.
. . .Passed in 1980, CIPA was designed to fix what government lawyers call the “graymail” problem in national security cases — a tactic in which defendants raise the possibility that damaging classified information could be revealed at trial. In some cases, prosecutors have dropped charges or entire cases rather than risk the disclosure of the very secrets the government was trying to protect.
While the law has enabled the government to pursue cases involving classified documents that itmight otherwise drop, it has also meant that these trials legally require more precautions and tend to take more time to get to trial than a typical criminal case.
The law created a series of pretrial steps that must be taken to decide exactly what classified information will be used in court, and how. Lawyers who have worked such cases view the law as a time-consuming and difficult set of procedures that can be extremely beneficial to any defendant seeking to delay a trial.
For starters, Trump needs at least one lawyer, and probably more than one, with a security clearance to examine the evidence, as he is accused of illegally retaining 31 separate classified documents, some dealing with highly sensitive nuclear and foreign secrets, at his Mar-a-Lago home and private club.
It can take weeks or sometimes months for a defense lawyer without a security clearance to get one, and over the years Trump has proved to be a difficult client, one who frequently hires, fires or sidelines lawyers.
Thus we face the possibility that a sitting President could have to face criminal charges. Would they then drop the charges because you can’t interrupt the governance of the nation without a Trial. It seems that Trump gets a lot of lucky breaks on his race to get elected again.
*Intense fighting during Ukraine’s counteroffensive has left high casualties on both sides, but nobody yet has a clear advantage.
Russia and Ukraine are suffering high numbers of military casualties as Ukraine fights to dislodge the Kremlin’s forces from occupied areas in the early stages of its counteroffensive, British officials said Sunday.
Russian losses are probably at their highest level since the peak of the battle for Bakhmut in March, U.K. military officials said in their regular assessment.
According to British intelligence, the most intense fighting has centered on the southeastern Zaporizhzhia province, around Bakhmut and further west in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province. While the update reported that Ukraine was on the offensive in these areas and had “made small advances,” it said that Russian forces were conducting “relatively effective defensive operations” in Ukraine’s south.
The Ukrainian military said in a regular update Sunday morning that over the previous 24 hours Russia had carried out 43 airstrikes, four missile strikes and 51 attacks from multiple rocket launchers. According to the statement by the General Staff, Russia continues to concentrate its efforts on offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east, focusing attacks around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka and Lyman in Donetsk province, with 26 combat clashes taking place.
. . . Western analysts and military officials have cautioned that Ukraine’s counteroffensive to dislodge the Kremlin’s forces from occupied areas, using Western-supplied advanced weapons in attacks along the 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line, could last a long time.
*Remember the big dam in Ukraine that blew up, and nobody knew who did it? Now the NYT has a piece called “Why the evidence suggests Russia blew up the Kakhova Dam.”
Here’s the logic:
Deep inside the dam was an Achilles’ heel. And because the dam was built during Soviet times, Moscow had every page of the engineering drawings and knew where it was.
The dam was built with an enormous concrete block at its base. A small passageway runs through it, reachable from the dam’s machine room. It was in this passageway, the evidence suggests, that an explosive charge detonated and destroyed the dam.
. . . In the chaotic aftermath, with each side blaming the other for the collapse, multiple explanations are theoretically possible. But the evidence clearly suggests the dam was crippled by an explosion set off by the side that controls it: Russia.
. . .But multiple lines of evidence reviewed by The New York Times, from original engineering plans to interviews with engineers who study dam failures, support a different explanation: that the collapse of the dam was no accident. The catastrophic failure of its underlying concrete foundation was very unlikely to occur on its own.
Given the satellite and seismic detections of explosions in the area, by far the most likely cause of the collapse was an explosive charge placed in the maintenance passageway, or gallery, that runs through the concrete heart of the structure, according to two American engineers, an expert in explosives and a Ukrainian engineer with extensive experience with the dam’s operations.
“If your objective is to destroy the dam itself, a large explosion would be required,” said Michael W. West, a geotechnical engineer and expert in dam safety and failure analysis, who is a retired principal at the engineering firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner. “The gallery is an ideal place to put that explosive charge.”
Further evidence of an explosion:
. . . seismic signals were picked up on two sensors, one in Romania and one in Ukraine, and occurred at 2:35 a.m. and 2:54 a.m. Ukraine time, said Ben Dando, a seismologist at Norsar, a Norwegian organization that specializes in seismology and seismic monitoring. The signals were both consistent with an explosion, Dr. Dando said — and not, say, the collapse of the dam on its own.
Judge for yourself. I lean towards this narrative as Ukraine had no clear reason to flood their own people or to make attacks against the Russians in that region more difficult.
*Given that California has a law, Proposition 209, that bans affirmative action in colleges, how do they manage to retain ethnic diversity? Reuters tells us how one school, UC Berkeley, has tried.
California has pioneered race-blind efforts in college admissions by using factors such as socio-economic status and location to identify disadvantaged students, many of whom are from immigrant or diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Those efforts helped the state’s top public colleges make up much of the ground lost in diversity in the years right after California voters passed the ban on affirmative action in 1996.
Black and Hispanic student enrollment at many U.C. campuses still lags the state’s general population, however.
Berkeley, the system’s most elite school based on high school GPA, offers the starkest example of the struggle to boost their numbers, particularly for Black students. In the fall 2022 freshman class, just 228 out of nearly 7,000 students – about 3% – identified as Black.
. . .With diversity still allowed as a goal, the universities focused on expanding the pool of applicants and on recruitment efforts aimed at enrolling minority students once they were admitted. Top students often have many choices of where to attend.
Outreach programs were set up to help prepare public school students for college and guide them toward applying, with particular focus on schools with high numbers of pupils of color.
At Berkeley, the state-funded bridges Multicultural Resource Center has worked to increase applicants from under-represented backgrounds and then offer food, counseling and other support once they arrive.
Financial aid is also an issue. Berkeley is competing with top private schools like Stanford or Harvard, which have large endowments and can offer more in scholarships, while also using affirmative action to admit students of varied ethnic backgrounds.
Berkeley is way below other schools because of the absence of affirmative action: only 3% of the students are black, less than half the black proportion of the state population (6.5%). When the Court deep-sixes affirmative action, all schools will struggle with getting the diversity they want:
Shereem Herndon-Brown, a college counselor and co-author of the book “The Black Family’s Guide to College Admissions,” said Berkeley’s experience should serve as a warning to other schools of how they will struggle without affirmative action.
“They’re trying their hand at equity, but it’s failing,” he said.
Maybe they shouldn’t be trying their hand at equity.
*Joanna Stern, the WSJ’s computer maven tells us “The Apple device you shouldn’t buy now—and the ones you should.” As you’ll see, the season is also important.
These seem like obvious life rules and yet every year around this time people ask: Should I wait for the new iPhone? And every year I repeat my iPhone No-Buy Rule™: No buying when school’s out—wait until September.
A change coming to the phone’s charging port makes this advice especially timely. The next iPhone—presumably called the iPhone 15—is expected to ship with a USB-C connector, marking the end of the Lightning port’s 11-year run.
. . .I know what you’re thinking: Why wait? This stuff doesn’t even get that much better year after year. You’ve said it yourself!
True, but with all the product categories, there are two S’s at play: savings and software. Apple and other retailers typically drop prices on the older models when the new ones hit. That’s also when trade-in deals can get crazy good. And if you go with the latest and greatest, it means an additional year—or more—of software updates ahead.
. . . Maybe you’re wondering if it’s OK to buy a used or refurbished iPhone now. They do tend to sell below market price all year long, according to Ben Edwards, chief executive of Swappa, an electronics resale marketplace. So yeah, if you just want a basic iPhone 12 or 13, go for it. Just bear in mind that prices on the older Pro models tend to drop when a new iPhone is announced. If you want a discounted iPhone 14 Pro, it’s still best to wait.
Finally, wait to get new airpods (earpieces), it’s ok to buy the new MacBook Air, but wait on the iMac, since it hasn’t been updated in two years and a new version is coming.
As for the iPad and Apple watches, she gives advice, but I always ignore those products.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili must be reading Proust:
A: What are you doing over there?Hili: I’m in search of lost time.
Ja: Co tam robisz?Hili: Szukam straconego czasu.
. . . and a photo of the lovable Szaron:
From the Absurd Sign Project:
From Masih, two more young protestors with eyes shot out by the Iranian cops:
31) 21 years old, Vahed Rouznavard joined the #WomanLifeFreedom protests & was shot twice in the face by the Islamic Republic's repressive forces & lost an eye. He is still motivated to fight for freedom and says “Freedom of our country is at the will of our people” #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/VjR6ABZDwl
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) June 17, 2023
From Barry, who wonders whether this is a failure or a comedy act. I think it’s the latter:
— chocolate chip😁🖖🏼🏳️🌈🟧🥂🟦 (@cannoli1000) June 17, 2023
From Malcolm, cultivating kittens:
Cultivation of cats 🌱 pic.twitter.com/2tTyUNR79r
— No Cats No Life (@NoCatsNoLife_m) June 12, 2023
I found this—a kitten who doesn’t know how to drink:
— Meonk! (@majeliskucing) June 18, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a survivor turns 100 today. Happy birthday, David!
June 18, 1923 | David Groenteman, a Dutch Jew, was born in Amsterdam.
In June 1943, he was deported to #Auschwitz. He survived.
On May 5, 1945, he was liberated from Mauthausen.
Today is David's 100th birthday. Please join us in wishing him a wonderful day! pic.twitter.com/qPK0BSaVXg
— Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation (@ABMFusa) June 18, 2023
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, an enhanced early color photo:
"A girl amidst marguerites", photographed 111 years ago by Alfonse Van Besten. I have enhanced this autochrome for you which was taken in colour in 1912 and isn't colourised. pic.twitter.com/mHDV5cG899
— BabelColour (@StuartHumphryes) June 18, 2023
Matthew and Greg identify a reptile skeleton:
From Greg Mayer, University of Wisconsin-Parkside: “Quick glance, it's an iguana. The most likely species would be Iguana iguana, the green iguana, based on its ubiquity.”
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) June 18, 2023
Go to the link so you can see what might be a fake “head” on this reptile’s back:
Went overboard at the ant buffet? 🐜🦎
We joke, but this is likely a gravid (pregnant) female Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus).
Learn more about Thorny Devils: https://t.co/Sm7rz1HNKF
📸Joshua Keen pic.twitter.com/Z7eTLuv6Qw
— Bush Heritage (@BushHeritageAus) June 17, 2023