Fabulous Friday Reads

Portrait of a woman reading in bed, Nicoline Tuxon, Danish painter

Portrait of a woman reading in bed, Nicoline Tuxon, Danish painter

Good Morning Sky Dancers!!

Steve Bannon is in court for his sentencing hearing right now. I’m keeping an eye out for the final decision, but so far Judge Carl Nichols has said he will have to serve at least a month in prison because that is the mandatory minimum sentence for contempt of Congress. The maximum is 2 years. According to CNN, the judge has called a short recess, after which he will announce the sentence. Bannon declined to speak, saying that his lawyers had spoken for him. I’ll update the post as soon as I learn Judge Nichols’ final decision.

UPDATE: Bannon sentenced to 4 months in prison. Obviously, he will appeal his conviction. From Yahoo News: Steve Bannon sentenced to 4 months in prison for criminal contempt of Congress.

WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, ex-White House strategist and adviser to former President Donald Trump, was sentenced Friday to four months in federal prison and a $6,500 fine for refusing to appear before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols sentenced Bannon to four months each on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress, but the prison terms will be served concurrently.

A jury found Bannon guilty of the charges in July of two counts of criminal contempt — one for refusing to appear for a deposition before the panel and the other for refusing to produce requested documents. Each count carries a minimum potential sentence of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000.

Federal prosecutors sought six months in jail, while Bannon’s attorneys asked the court for probation.

Trump’s legal problems continue to escalate. Down in Georgia, former White House Counsel Pat Cippolone, and form George Senator Kelly Loeffler have each testified to the grand jury in the election interference case, and Lindsey Graham has been ordered to testify as well. And Trump crony Kash Patel has testified to the grand jury in stolen documents case.

CNN: Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, former US Sen. Kelly Loeffler testify to grand jury in Georgia investigating 2020 election interference.

Prosecutors in Georgia have secured grand jury testimony from two prominent witnesses – former US Sen. Kelly Loeffler and former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone – in their investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in that state, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

Laurits Tuxon, Portrait of his daughter looking at some drawings

Laurits Tuxon, Portrait of his daughter looking at some drawings

Their grand jury appearances in recent months, which have not been previously reported, highlight the wide-ranging investigation underway as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis probes efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to try to keep him in power.

Cipollone was the top White House lawyer at the end of the Trump administration and attended some of the meetings where Trump and his allies discussed ways to subvert the election results. He was among the former President’s advisers who pushed back along with the Justice Department, which found no evidence to support the claims of widespread fraud.

Cipollone has provided testimony to the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, as well as to a federal grand jury in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation, where he invoked Trump’s privilege claims to decline to answer some questions. He declined to comment on questions about the grand jury.

The revelation that Loeffler testified before the grand jury comes as hundreds of Loeffler’s text messages have surfaced, revealing new details about the Georgia Republican’s correspondence about efforts to challenge the election in the months leading up to and immediately following the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

More details at the CNN link.

The Washington Post: Lindsey Graham must testify in 2020 election investigation, court rules.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) must appear before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible attempts by President Donald Trump and his allies to disrupt the state’s 2020 presidential election, a federal appeals court said Thursday.

Graham’s lawyers had asked the court to block a subpoena from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D), claiming that a sitting senator is shielded from such investigations. But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied Graham’s request and upheld a lower-court ruling narrowing the range of questions prosecutors can ask.

“Senator Graham has failed to demonstrate that this approach will violate his rights under the Speech and Debate Clause,” the order states, referring to the constitutional provision that protects lawmakers from being questioned about legislative activity.

Graham can ask the full appeals court to reconsider the order or ask the Supreme Court to intervene….

Willis wants to question Graham about calls he made to Georgia election officials soon after Trump lost the election to Joe Biden. Prosecutors say Graham has “unique knowledge” about the Trump campaign and the “multistate, coordinated efforts to influence the results” of the 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.

Graham’s legal team has said in court filings that his actions were legitimate legislative activity protected by the Constitution’s “speech and debate clause.”

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky, The schoolgirl reading by lamplight

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky, The schoolgirl reading by lamplight

CNN: Trump adviser Kash Patel has appeared before grand jury in Mar-a-Lago document probe.

Kash Patel, a top adviser to former President Donald Trump who has been deeply involved in disputes over classified records Trump kept from his presidency, appeared recently before the federal grand jury looking into the handling of documents at Mar-a-Lago, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

Patel spent several hours throughout the morning of October 13 before a grand jury at the US courthouse in Washington, DC. But it’s not clear if Patel answered the grand jury’s questions or declined to respond citing his Fifth Amendment protections, which is within his rights.

He is one of a handful of advisers around Donald Trump after his presidency who could have legal risk related to the Mar-a-Lago situation, according to court records and the sources, though it’s unclear if he is a target of the Justice Department probe. Patel served as a national security and defense official during the administration, and this summer became one of Trump’s designees to interact with the National Archives and the Justice Department as both agencies have tried to repossess classified records Trump kept from his presidency.

He has claimed in media interviews he personally witnessed Trump declassifying records before he left the presidency, and has argued he should be able to release classified information….

CNN spotted Patel walking the halls of the federal courthouse mid-morning last Thursday, remaining in the grand jury area for several hours until about 1 p.m. One of his attorneys, Stanley Woodward, ducked out of the ongoing Oath Keepers trial where he is a defense attorney for another defense client to escort Patel, wearing a bold red plaid jacket, down from the grand jury meeting area and out of the building. When asked at the courthouse by CNN, Woodward refused to say what Patel’s matter was about, and only confirmed that he represented the Trump adviser.

Read more at CNN.

Amanda Marcotte has a good article at Salon about the mainstream media’s election coverage: Please, media, stop pitting abortion against inflation — Republicans suck on both issues.

Cable news in the weeks before an election is the ninth circle of hell. For proof, look no further than the way MSNBC subjected Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to an interview by 79-year-old white guy plagiarist and organized crime apologist Mike Barnicle. Abrams, whose only crime is being a “Star Trek” nerd who wants Georgia to suck less, was subjected to this crotchety fraud demanding she stop talking about abortion rights so much, arguing that what voters supposedly care about is “the cost of gas, food, bread, milk, things like that.” Because, as all old men who have never changed a diaper know, having and raising babies is totally free, unlike a gallon of gasoline.


The Ruby Ring, by Thomas Linker

Abrams handled the question as well as she could, pointing out that you “can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child.” She went on to outline her plans to help Georgians with rising housing prices and other economic problems. But as much as it’s fun to kick around Barnicle for being out of touch, the sad truth is the false premise of his question is endemic throughout the mainstream media coverage of the 2022 midterm elections. Everywhere you turn, pundits and reporters are treating this election as if it’s a choice between fighting inflation and protecting abortion rights.

This is, and it cannot be stressed enough, total hooey. When it comes to the ballot box, there is absolutely no trade-off between reproductive rights and the economy. Either way, voting Republican is bad: Bad for the economy, bad for abortion rights. Pretending otherwise is misleading to the point of outright dishonesty. 

To say Republicans have no plan to fight inflation if they retake Congress is really an understatement. They have nothing concrete to offer about the issue beyond using it as a stick to beat Democrats with. The second polls close on Election Day, all GOP interest in relieving Americans’ economic woes will dry up.

We know this because Republicans aren’t even being subtle about their future plans, which most definitely do not involve giving a fig about inflation. As Heather “Digby” Parton wrote for Salon on Wednesday, Republicans are largely plotting to gin up fake scandals to demonize President Joe Biden. And that’s the best-case scenario.

Read the whole thing at Salon. It’s excellent.

President Joe Biden made the same point yesterday. Susan Glasser at The New Yorker: Joe Biden’s Walk-and-Chew-Gum Campaign.

For most of President Joe Biden’s tenure, Fox News’s Peter Doocy has played the role of pressroom scourge. A barbed question so nettled Biden back in January that the President was caught on a live microphone calling him a “stupid son of a bitch,” for which he quickly called Doocy to apologize. That specific query is the same one that still haunts Biden’s Presidency and his party today: “Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?” The answer, then and now, can be nothing other than the blindingly obvious: yes.

Doocy, at the tail end of a White House photo opportunity. With less than three weeks to go before the midterm elections, the President was signing an order to release fifteen million more barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. “It’s not politically motivated at all,” Biden insisted, though even the most diehard Democrat would have a hard time seeing the move as anything other than a last-ditch effort to stop gas prices at the pump from rising further before the vote. Republicans were quick to pounce: Was this the kind of strategic use for which the stockpile was intended?

As Biden stood to leave, Doocy shouted a question. “Top domestic issue: Inflation or abortion?” he asked.

“They’re all important. Unlike you, there’s no one thing,” Biden retorted. “We oughta be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

In The Book Store Painting Irina Sztukowski

In The Book Store, by Irina Sztukowski

Finally, The Washington Post has an exclusive on Elon Musk’s plans to destroy Twitter if he manages to buy it: Documents detail plans to gut Twitter’s workforce.

Twitter’s workforce is likely to be hit with massive cuts in the coming months, no matter who owns the company, interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post show, a change likely to have major impact on its ability to control harmful content and prevent data security crises.

Elon Musk told prospective investors in his deal to buy the company that he planned to get rid of nearly 75 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 workers, whittling the company down to a skeleton staff of just over 2,000.

Even if Musk’s Twitter deal falls through — and there’s little indication now that it will — big cuts are expected: Twitter’s current management planned to pare the company’s payroll by about $800 million by the end of next year, a number that would mean the departure of nearly a quarter of the workforce, according to corporate documents and interviews with people familiar with the company’s deliberations. The company also planned to make major cuts to its infrastructure, including data centers that keep the site functioning for more than 200 million users that log on each day.

The extent of the cuts, which have not been previously reported, help explain why Twitter officials were eager to sell to Musk: Musk’s $44 billion bid, though hostile, is a golden ticket for the struggling company — potentially helping its leadership avoid painful announcements that would have demoralized the staff and possibly crippledthe service’s ability to combat misinformation, hate speech and spam.

The impact of such layoffs would likely be immediately felt by millions of users, said Edwin Chen, a data scientist formerly in charge of Twitter’s spam and health metrics and now CEO of the content-moderation start-up Surge AI. He said that while he believed Twitter was overstaffed,the cuts Musk proposed were “unimaginable” and would put Twitter’s users at risk of hacks and exposure to offensive material such as child pornography.

“It would be a cascading effect,” he said, “where you’d have services going down and the people remaining not having the institutional knowledge to get them back up, and being completely demoralized and wanting to leave themselves.”

Twitter is where I go to get the very latest breaking news, but I guess the days of being able to do that are numbered.

What are your thoughts on these stories? What else is on your mind today?

29 Comments on “Fabulous Friday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a terrific weekend, everyone!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      NOTE: I wasn’t able to make my links open in a new page as I usually do. WordPress has made another stupid change.

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      This is the beginning of a thread of historic photos on the Cuban Missile Crisis. See it on Twitter.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Jesus would have loved QAnon. Riiiiiiight.

      Feed the poor, heal the sick, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Republicans, do you remember what Jesus the liberal street preacher said?

  5. dakinikat says:

    • quixote says:

      Read the article. It’s one of those, ‘”Fascinating,” said Mr. Spock’ things. To be fair, he’s actually saying that arranged marriages and trial by combat are things we do NOT want to go back to.

      He’s heavily into total abortion bans. (Doesn’t mention what the appropriate punishment would be, but given the tone of the piece, I’m guessing death penalty for all.) Total trans bans. End of no-fault divorce. (It destroys families!) Gay marriage is an abomination. (Doesn’t actually say it, but I suspect it’s all the gay he objects to, not just marriage.)

      And all of it framed as a fight between Good and Evil.

      And that’s published in The Federalist. Which used to fancy itself as being respectable. That’s the scariest part. Not that there’s loons out there. That the loons have so many people who think they’re normal.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

    • dakinikat says:

      • dakinikat says:

        Twitter is alive with your post story on Musk. Fiona Hill, interviewed by Politico, mentions MUSK and Twitter specifically. She calls him a Russian agent.

        • quixote says:

          God, YES, please! Halt this asinine “deal” handing over the public square to Putin’s useful idiots and orange turdblobs.

          (Then keep thinking and realize the public square should not be controlled some private owner(s). Especially not one(s) who don’t know their heads from a hole in the ground. But that’s edgelord level. Don’t have much hope for that.)

          • bostonboomer says:

            The current owners suck too, and the article says they agree with the cuts.

          • NW Luna says:

            Yes, I find Musks’ politics repugnant and hateful.

            But Twitter was planning to cut staff regardless. Now they’re going to blame Musk for doing the same thing. Sly.

            “handing over the public square to Putin’s useful idiots and orange turdblobs.” But it’s *not* a public square. Twitter bans women who say that men are not women. Twitter bans detransitioners who say they’re done with trans ideology. In short, Twitter bans people speaking biological science and bans opinions they don’t like.

            Twitter took forever to ban Trump, even though he was tweeting lies and misinformation for several years before they got around to banning him.

            Unfortunately a private company can’t be expected to be fair about freedom of speech. We should have a real public communications square.

          • quixote says:

            twitter is a de facto public square. But privately controlled. All the problems you mention have to do with running it for maximum clicks / profits, which doesn’t work in a public square, which it is, except that it isn’t, etc., etc., etc.

            The US really needs to come to grips with the problems of private ownership of public goods, and with the definition of actual free speech. It’s not handing the megaphone to the most obnoxious!

    • dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Hope more veterans realize that Trump is threatening the very ideals they enlisted to protect. Why the America-firster “patriots” can’t see this is mind-boggling. I’ll never get used to it.

      • Ronstill4Hills says:

        Because they love Mousse-Olini not America. “I am MAGA and MAGA is boss!” It is what people seek from religions and magic, access to special power available only to the initiated, blah blah blah.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Well, here’s something for Biden to Act on with our allies:

    • quixote says:

      The Brits, despite having only a caretaker government just now, have already imposed more sanctions because of this.

      Now the rest of us who do have supposedly functional governments need to catch up.

      • NW Luna says:

        Ukraine has been amazing with their tactical intelligence, stamina, and sheer guts. Yes, the US should be doing more to help Ukraine. Don’t know how much Biden and the Dems in the House and the Senate can get aid passed with the Repugs blocking it.

  10. dakinikat says:

    This thread is a total hoot! Be sure to click on the ALT on each picture … it’s got another description!

  11. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:


      Much of Eltahawy’s work is good. But queer is a slur. “Gender-diverse” persons are usually men. Trans ideologists (as opposed to many trans persons) want to invade women’s and girls’ same-sex spaces and sports and pressure lesbians into sex with males who “identify as women.” “Intersectional” feminism is all-lives-mattering feminism.

      Eltahawy’s article points out that female healthcare workers are badly needed in Pakistan. Female, not male, healthcare workers. Those pregnant women want women clinicians taking care of them, not men in dresses, when they need intimate care with dignity.

      Rant over.