Monday: Hili dialogue

June 19, 2023 • 6:45 am

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). 

It’s also Take Your Cat to Work Day, World Albatross Day, National Eat an Oreo Day (see if you can find a green tea Oreo), Ride to Work Day and World Sickle Cell Day.

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.

Da Nooz:

*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.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Szukam straconego czasu.

. . . and a photo of the lovable Szaron:


From Gregory:

From the Absurd Sign Project:

From Merilee:

From Masih, two more young protestors with eyes shot out by the Iranian cops:

From Barry, who wonders whether this is a failure or a comedy act. I think it’s the latter:

From Malcolm, cultivating kittens:

I found this—a kitten who doesn’t know how to drink:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a survivor turns 100 today. Happy birthday, David!

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, an enhanced early color photo:

Matthew and Greg identify a reptile skeleton:

Go to the link so you can see what might be a fake “head” on this reptile’s back:

12 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1586 – English colonists leave Roanoke Island, after failing to establish England’s first permanent settlement in North America.

    1667 – Second Anglo-Dutch War: The Raid on the Medway by the Dutch fleet begins. It lasts for five days and results in the worst ever defeat of the Royal Navy.

    1846 – The first officially recorded, organized baseball game is played under Alexander Cartwright’s rules on Hoboken, New Jersey’s Elysian Fields with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23–1. Cartwright umpired.

    1862 – The U.S. Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying Dred Scott v. Sandford.

    1865 – Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are officially informed of their freedom. The anniversary was officially celebrated in Texas and other states as Juneteenth. On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in the United States.

    1910 – The first Father’s Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington.

    1953 – Cold War: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.

    1960 – The first NASCAR race was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

    1961 – Kuwait declares independence from the United Kingdom.

    1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.

    1978 – Garfield‘s first comic strip, originally published locally as Jon in 1976, goes into nationwide syndication.

    1987 – Basque separatist group ETA commits one of its most violent attacks, in which a bomb is set off in a supermarket, Hipercor, killing 21 and injuring 45.

    1990 – The current international law defending indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989, is ratified for the first time by Norway.

    2012 – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange requested asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the US after publication of previously classified documents including footage of civilian killings by the US army.

    2018 – The 10,000,000th United States Patent is issued.

    1623 – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (d. 1662).

    1833 – Mary Tenney Gray, American editorial writer, club-woman, philanthropist, and suffragette (d. 1904).

    1861 – Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, Scottish-English field marshal (d. 1928). [Haig was commander during the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras, the Third Battle of Ypres, the German Spring Offensive, and the Hundred Days Offensive.]

    1897 – Moe Howard, American comedian (d. 1975).

    1903 – Lou Gehrig, American baseball player (d. 1941).

    1919 – Pauline Kael, American film critic (d. 2001).

    1921 – Louis Jourdan, French-American actor and singer (d. 2015).

    1926 – Erna Schneider Hoover, American mathematician and inventor. [Invented a computerized telephone switching method which “revolutionized modern communication”. It prevented system overloads by monitoring call center traffic and prioritizing tasks on phone switching systems to enable more robust service during peak calling times.]

    1945 – Radovan Karadžić, Serbian-Bosnian politician and convicted war criminal, 1st President of Republika Srpska.

    1945 – Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician, Nobel Prize laureate.

    1947 – Salman Rushdie, Indian-English novelist and essayist.

    1948 – Nick Drake, English singer-songwriter (d. 1974).

    1950 – Ann Wilson, American singer-songwriter and musician.

    1954 – Kathleen Turner, American actress.

    1960 – Luke Morley, English guitarist, songwriter, and producer.

    1964 – Boris Johnson, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and former Mayor of London.

    1312 – Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall, English politician (b. 1284). [Hunted down and executed by a group of magnates led by Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, and Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick. The rumour that he was King Edward II’s lover was reinforced by later portrayals in fiction, such as Christopher Marlowe’s late 16th-century play, Edward II, but historians are undecided.]

    1820 – Joseph Banks, English botanist and author (b. 1743).

    1864 – Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, American soldier (b. 1843). [Served in the Union Army during the American Civil War under the male name of Lyons Wakeman. Her letters detailing her service were discovered in a relative’s attic more than a century after her death.]

    1937 – J. M. Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright (b. 1860).

    1939 – Grace Abbott, American social worker and activist (b. 1878).

    1993 – William Golding, British novelist, playwright, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1911).

    2013 – James Gandolfini, American actor and producer (b. 1961). [Ten years already!]

    2013 – Slim Whitman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1923).

    2017 – Otto Warmbier, American college student detained in North Korea (b. 1994).

    2018 – Koko, western lowland gorilla and user of American Sign Language (b. 1971).

  2. Something to keep in mind on this day. Via Wikipedia:

    Contemporary slavery, also sometimes known as modern slavery or neo-slavery, refers to institutional slavery that continues to occur in present-day society. Estimates of the number of enslaved people today range from around 38 million to 49.6 million, depending on the method used to form the estimate and the definition of slavery being used. The estimated number of enslaved people is debated, as there is no universally agreed definition of modern slavery; those in slavery are often difficult to identify, and adequate statistics are often not available.

  3. I think his pending indictment in Georgia represents the greatest threat to Trump for four reasons. The first is that he will be charged with some variant of election tampering, which should be easily explained to a jury. The second is the jury will likely be composed of members less favorable to Trump than the case in Florida. The third is that he cannot pardon himself or by another Republican president. The fourth is, and this surprised me and in contrast to most other states, that in Georgia a pardon for a state crime is not granted by the governor, but by an independent state board that makes the decision. Hence, a Republican governor cannot directly issue a pardon. A Georgia website states: “The Constitution provided that the Governor would appoint the Board members to seven-year terms subject to confirmation by the State Senate. Once confirmed, members would be insulated from political pressures by the fact that no one official could remove them from office until they completed their terms. Their autonomy was enhanced by their right to elect their own chairman annually”. Of course, the board could be influenced by the governor, but the Georgia procedure makes a pardon for Trump less likely based on politics.

    1. Signs are that Fulton County prosecutor Fani T. Willis plans to bring an overarching, multidefendant conspiracy case against Donald Trump in August, probably under the Georgia version of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. Potential defendants include, in additional to Trump, his enablers such as his last chief of staff Mark Meadows (unless Meadows has already cut a deal with the feds to cooperate against Trump), Rudy Giuliani, and several others, possibly even some sitting members of congress.

      It’s be “All the President’s Men” redux.

      1. A large conspiracy case will take forever to try. I’d prefer if she brought a simpler case that could be tried before the election. I want Trump gone more than I want full accountability!

        1. The rules of criminal procedure provide that large conspiracy cases can be severed into more manageable parts for trial.

  4. Important detail: pearl onions in the Gibson. Some places will try to put a pickled slice of a big white onion in your martini. Don’t be fooled.

  5. The depth of stupidity for those who continue to support this candidate for President is far beyond comprehension. A 77 year old version of what, John Gotti? Mostly people with a high degree of ignorance of the world around them and no concept of truth, loyalty or our form of government. No understanding of history or belief in much of anything, certainly not themselves. I am reading again, the book by E.B. Sledge, With The Old Breed, not something any of these people would consider even if they could read.

    1. “The depth of stupidity for those who continue to support this candidate for President is far beyond comprehension.”

      Randall, your lack of comprehension is duly noted. Gary

    2. Lucky for us, Trump is a complete loser- as a human being and as a politician. If he wins the GOP nomination (fingers crossed) there’s no way he could win a general election. He was a much stronger political opponent in 2020, and he still lost bigly. His legal troubles may increase the anger and paranoia of his cult members, but it doesn’t increase his base of voters. Independents don’t want anything to do with the loser, and they become less enthused the more legal troubles surface. And there will be a lot more legal troubles surfacing before 11/24, and that’s all she wrote. Let’s just hope Biden can stay steady at the helm until election day 2024.

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