Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault 14 years after it happened

Bill Cosby was one of the most famous people in the USA. He began his career as a comedian and then he began doing TV series from the late 1960s through the 90s. He then became a public figure who often made comments on the lives of African Americans in the USA. He was considered somewhat conservative and believed that African Americans had to work harder to obtain greater opportunities in the USA.

Over 50 women have come forward in the past few years claiming that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them. Many of them claim that he would put a type of drug in their drink, they would unknowingly take in the drug with the drink and Cosby would have sex with them while they were unconscious. 

Some people believe that Cosby has been sexually attacking women since the 1960s. Apparently these women were afraid to come forward and accuse him of sexual assault. They felt Cosby might sue them for this or that such an accusation would ruin their careers.

How was Cosby found guilty 14 years after he attacked a woman? Well, initially, the prosecutor (the lawyer for the state of Pennsylvania) would not allow the police to arrest Cosby. He claimed there was no proof that Cosby attacked the woman. In fact, the woman reported the attack one year after it happened.

So the woman sued Cosby. There are two types of courts in the USA: criminal and civil. If someone breaks the law and can be thrown in jail for this action, he/she goes to the criminal court system. If the issue is just about a matter of money, then the civil court system is used. Many times if you cannot get a person arrested, you can at least sue the person and you may receive money from this person as a punishment against the person. So the woman sued Cosby, claiming that he caused her a great amount of emotional stress and pain.

When someone sues someone else, both lawyers have an opportunity to ask questions of the people involved in the law suit - when you sue someone you file (submit) a law suit. This questioning occurs outside of the court room. Yet, the answers by the people are recorded by a person called a "court reporter". These people are licensed by the state and they type out the answers given to the lawyers' questions.

When Cosby had to answer questions for the victim's lawyer, he admitted that he used drugs to make women fall asleep. After Cosby made these statements, he offered $3 million to the victim to drop the law suit against him and to agree to have all the documents sealed (meaning that nobody could ever look at Cosby's answers). She took the money and agreed to drop the law suit. However, a news source in the USA demanded that the documents be unsealed in the name of justice, and a judge unsealed them. When the Pennsylvania prosecutor saw that Cosby admitted to drugging women, he arrested him. Cosby has now been found guilty of sexual assault and will probably die in prison.

An article on this topic:


conservative - old fashioned, not very open-minded, not willing to take risks or think new ideas

to sue someone - to take someone to court to try to get money from the person

a retrial - if a person is accused of a crime, he/she may choose to have a jury trial. This means that 12 people will decide whether the person is guilty or innocent. If all 12 people cannot agree, then a new jury might be selected and a new trial might happen. This is called a retrial. Cosby was tried once before and the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict (unanimous - everyone agrees).

a verdict - a decision as to whether a person is guilty or innocent. So you can have a guilty verdict or a not-guilty verdict or a verdict of a hung jury (the jury cannot unanimously decide)

3 counts - three different crimes

aggravated - means something was made worse or it was done more than once

assault - means to attack someone

indecent assault - sexual assault; indecent means dirty or of an unwanted sexual nature

TV icon - a famous person from television history; if something is iconic it is famous and easily recognizable. The Statue of Liberty is an icon of New York City. The Great Wall of China is an icon of China.

to be convicted - found guilty

haunted America - like a ghost that won't go away; if there are ghosts in your house, your house is haunted

serial sexual predator - serial: happens over and over: sexual predator: a predator is an animal that hunts for prey that can be eaten, so a sexual predator is a person who looks for people he can abuse

molested - sexually attacked

deliberations - when the jury thinks about whether a person is guilty or innocent

$1 million bail - if a person wants to stay out of jail until the end of his trial, he can hand over money to the court system. If he/she fails to show up, he/she loses all the money and the police will hunt for this person all over the country.

sentencing - when the judge determines the punishment

bail revoked...flight risk - the prosecutor wanted the bail to be given back and Cosby to be placed in jail because he thinks Cosby will try to run away or leave the country. The judge knows this is impossible, however, because Cosby is nearly blind and too famous to escape.

deadlocked - they couldn't decide on a unanimous decision

a mistrial - when a jury cannot reach a decision, it is called a mistrial

consensual - he said that he had sex with her, but that she agreed to it

asserting - strongly stating

an appeal - they will go to a higher court and a higher judge and try to get the verdict overturned

resilience - being able to tolerate a lot of stress and trouble; to be resilient

advocates - spokespeople, people who speak for others

inspiring - making others believe that they can do something difficult

exultant - extremely happy

vindicated - proven to have been right

validated - proven to have been speaking truthfully

the legacy of this case - how this case will influence other cases in the future

to feel empowered - to feel as if you can do things, that you have power and strength instead of feeling like a helpless victim

perpetrators - criminals

to mount protests - to organize and hold protests

a topless protest - women took off their shirts and bras to protest

sequestered - if a court case is really big, the judge may require that the jurors be kept in a hotel without televisions, radios or the internet. They are completely cut off from the world. This is why the judge thanked the jury so deeply - they were cut off from the world during the trial and could not even communicate with family members.

the metoo movement - the internet movement to expose powerful men who have been secretly
sexually attacking women

to creep into the courtroom - to get in without anyone noticing, to secretly get in and influence the jurors

to be politically correct - to say and do the right thing based on what you think a majority of others want you to do

biased - prejudiced against him, holding negative feelings against him because of the metoo movement and news reports about him before the jury was sequestered

to testify - to make statements in the trial

the judge put his thumb on the scale - if you are weighing something and put your thumb on the scale, you will not get an accurate weight, the weight will be higher. Some people who sell candy or other foods will put their thumbs on the scale to get more money. By saying the judge put his thumb on the scale, this person is saying the judge was trying to influence the case so that the jury would find Cosby guilty.

where there's smoke, there's fire - if you see smoke, it had to come from a fire, so if a lot of people (over 50 women) are claiming that Cosby attacked them, that's like a lot of smoke pointing to a fire - Cosby attacked them.

an alleged crime - a supposed crime, a crime that was claimed but not proved

an accuser - someone who claims someone else did something wrong

acclaimed - famous

to garner - to get

daunting - difficult

burden-of-proof - this means that a person can be found guilty ONLY if the prosecutor REALLY, TRULY proves guilt. No smoke, fire!

a felony case - a felony is a major crime, a misdemeanor is a minor crime

a statute of limitations - a law which indicates how much time can go by before a person is arrested. There is no statute of limitations for murder in the USA, so a murderer can be arrested many years after a murder

to expire - to end

Cosby was deposed - he was asked questions by the victims lawyer and his answers were recorded; the process is called a deposition

the decisive point - the most important point

quiescent - quiet

he charged Cosby - he had Cosby arrested and set for trial

to frame a celebrity - to falsely accuse a celebrity to make money

sniping at - shooting at, verbally attacking 

a caustic attack - a burning, harsh attack

a defense lawyer - a lawyer that tries to keep a person out of jail; the opposite of a prosecutor

a con artist - someone who lies or deceives to make money illegally

bashed - hit, attacked

sordid - dirty

to belie something - to prove something to be untrue

the dawning - the beginning

nobody lives in a vacuum - we are all affected by things around us

diligent - serious, conscientious, wanting to do the best job possible

credibility - believability

to be sympathetic to someone - to feel sorry for someone

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The African American guys arrested at the Philadelphia Starbucks tell their side of the story

Two African American guys went to a Starbucks to meet a guy with whom they were working on a business project. They did not bother to buy anything. One of them tried to use the bathroom and was told he could not do so unless he bought something first. The manager then told the guys they could not sit and wait without buying anything. They would not buy anything and they would not leave.

So the manager of the Starbucks called the police and the police told the men they had to buy something or leave. They did not do either thing - they told the police they were waiting for someone.

The police arrested the men, but later (after 8 hours) released them.

Starbucks fired the manager and apologized. They are going to provide a training program to teach all of their staff members how not to discriminate against people at Starbucks. (prejudice is an attitude, something a person feels; discrimination is action taken against people because of prejudice)

The Philadelphia Police Department (this happened in Philadelphia) claims that the police did the right thing. If you walk into a coffee shop, you have to buy something, you cannot use the space for free.

How do you feel about this?

An article:


to be arrested: this is when the police take a person into custody (they take a person to the police station because they believe he/she has committed a crime)

to be accused of something: when someone says you have done something wrong

trespassing - going some place you were not allowed to go (often this means you entered onto land that doesn't belong to you - here it means they entered a restaurant and didn't buy anything)

an entrepreneur - a business person, someone who wants to get involved in a business activity

a barista - at Starbucks, the people behind the counter are called baristas

to decline - to say 'no'

real estate - property

ultimately - finally

to handcuff someone - to put a metal device around a person's two wrists so that he cannot fight

escorted them - led them, removed them from the store

a squad car - a police car

the charges they were facing - the accusations against them, what they were accused of, what they supposedly had done wrong

the charges were dropped - the police said, "OK, we are removing any accusations against you, you may go."

prompted protests - caused protests

a protest - when a group of people come together publicly to complain about something they feel is wrong

minding their own business - not bothering any one

their Miranda rights - whenever anyone in America is arrested, the police have to tell the person his/her rights - "You have the right to remain silent, you don't have to say anything, you also have the right to get a lawyer immediately..." Miranda was a person who was arrested but he wasn't told his rights and he complained about this. So now there is a la named after him requiring the police to tell every arrested person what his/her rights are.

defiant trespassing - you are someplace you shouldn't be and you won't leave (you are defiant - you say "No! I won't do that!")

a video testimonial - a video statement

candidly - completely honestly

to spot something - to see something, to realize something

unconscious bias - bias means prejudice; unconscious bias means you are not even aware that you are acting because you are prejudiced against certain people

reprehensible - very, very wrong, disgustingly wrong

subsequently - later, afterwards

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Lyft driver abandoned a pilot mid-ride due to the low price of a fare

So what would you have done? 

Let's say you are a Lyft driver and you pick a guy up and start driving him to the airport. After a few minutes you realize you are going to travel an hour and only make $6. Well, you picked the guy up and started driving him, so you have to finish your job, correct?

Well, one Lyft driver didn't see things that way. He just stopped his car and forced an airline pilot out in the middle of nowhere. The pilot was late for his flight due to this. 

Thankfully the pilot recorded enough of this exchange to prove what really happened.

So, obviously, if you pick a guy up, you have to finish the job, correct? If the fare is too little for you, do not pick the guy up. 

But, whose fault is this ultimately? 

The article:


to kick someone out of some place - to force the person to leave

to drop someone off at a place - to drive a person somewhere

a random spot - not a chosen spot, just any spot, a spot decided on arbitrarily or randomly or not due to a rational or deliberate choice

a tight schedule - he did not have much extra time, a schedule that does not give you much extra time

abruptly - suddenly

to be worth it - super useful: It wasn't worth it for him to....It wasn't worth it for me to... It was worth it to go to the beach today because it was free and I was able to relax.

a ride hailing app - to hail a cab, or to hail a car is to literally wave on the sidewalk to get the driver's attention so that you can use his service. So a ride-hailing app is an app that helps you get a car ride without actually 'hailing' a cab on the street.

initial - first

to feel frustrated - to feel as if there is no solution to a problem or that you are in a bad situation and all the choices suck

his rank - the fact that he was an airline pilot

gunning it - that means he started driving the car super fast to get the ride over with as soon as possible

running stop signs - not stopping for stop signs

whipped out his cell phone - he pulled out his cell phone quickly

things were going downhill - things were getting worse

incredulous - if someone is incredulous he has a hard time believing something is happening

citing - indicating, pointing to

what transpired - what happened

a form letter - a letter that a company sends to everyone or to a certain group of people

Lula has been arrested

Lula was the president of Brasil from 2003 to the end of 2010. During those years 29 million people were assisted into the middle class through government programs and educational initiatives. He did amazing things with the Brasilian economy and helped his entire country to a better life. Barack Obama once said, "I love this guy!" and Tony Blair called Lula one of the most remarkable leaders of our age

So Lula decided to run for the office of presidency again. Now he has been arrested. He was charged with (accused of) illegally accepting a million dollar piece of property he has never lived in and for which there is zero proof that he accepted.

Basically, Lula seems to be an innocent man who helped millions of people, and he is probably now the victim of dirty politics. Certain folks in Brasil did not want Lula to run again, and so they threw him in jail.

In the following article you can read how his own supporters tried to stop him from surrendering to the police.

An article about his arrest:

Vocabulary from the article:

tense - scary, threatening, causing one to be afraid

a showdown - when two people or groups face each other in some type of conflict, a confrontation

to be in custody - the police has taken control of him and have taken away his freedom

capping - ending

intense - strong

underscored - highlighted, revealed, strongly showed

raw emotions - emotions that people can't control, that just come out strongly

the incarceration of - throwing a person into jail

engulfed by - literally: eaten by, surrounded by, overcome by

corruption - acting in a dishonest manner, not acting properly in regard to one's position so that money is stolen or jobs are not done properly

a conviction - to be found guilty

to be holed up in - to be hiding safely in

clashes - fights

scores - a score is a dozen people (12)

a whirlwind of events - a lot of events going by quickly

a petition - a document asking for something

to appeal his conviction - he was found guilty by a lower court but he 'appealed' to a higher court (asked the higher court) to overturn or get rid of the guilty verdict (conviction). He wanted to remain free while the higher court considered the appeal. The lower court would not allow him to remain free.

Car Wash cases - many instances of corruption have been investigated in Brasil and the whole group of cases or incidents are being called 'the car wash cases'. I am not sure why.

an arrest warrant - a document giving the police the authority to arrest a person; such a warrant is usually given by a judge

a 12 year sentence - a sentence is a period of time a person must remain in prison

to hunker down - to establish oneself more firmly in a place. e.g. I need to hunker down and study for this test!  or: You are experiencing a lot of bad luck lately, but don't worry, hunker down and things will get better.

improbable - unlikely, not expected

prosecutors - lawyers for the government who try to throw people in jail

to take refuge - to go to a safe place

trajectory - his path to the top, a trajectory is the path that a rocket or some other objecttakes as it rises (and sometimes falls)

allegations - complaints

trading favors - giving something to get something

to be upheld - to be confirmed, to be found to be right

colossal - huge, gigantic

a fall from grace - to go from a great, amazing place to a lousy, bad, rotten place

against steep odds - despite huge chances against him; to do something against the odds means few people have done it before. e,g. I come from a poor and working-class family and against steep (difficult) odds I was able to go to an Ivy League school.  Odds are chances of success. If you are definitely going to win something, you have 1-1 odds. If you are probably not going to be able to do something, but there is still a chance, your odds might be 50-1 or 100-1 or if you really will have a hard time doing something 1,000 - 1 etc.

a booming economy - an economy that kept increasing

abject - hopeless

hardscrabble - something difficult, something requiring struggle to survive

to rise through the ranks - to start at the bottom of an organization and to keep getting higher and higher jobs

a union - an organization of workers 

a strike - when workers refuse to work until they receive a better salary or working conditions

to be polarized - most people are on one side or the other (we have a North Pole and a South Pole)

to be behind bars - to be in jail

detractors - people against someone or something

impunity - to do something wrong and to get away with it

to disqualify someone - to make it impossible for a person to do something because he/she is not "qualified" or does not meet the standards or criteria

to be ensnared - to be caught

a scandal - a situation in which famous or powerful people have been exposed or revealed to have been doing something wrong

the elite - the very famous, the very powerful, the few people who have become well-known

an illegal scheme - an illegal plan to make money secretly

a cartel - an illegal organization

to dole out - to hand out, to deliver

inflated - larger than normal

a kickback - I help you make money and you send some of this money to me.  e.g. You own a construction company and I have power in government. We need to hire a construction company to build a road. So, I tell you, give me an inflated figure for the construction of this road. I will make sure the government pays you this amount. You then kick some of that money back to me. 


Feel free to contact me with comments or questions at

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Hungary's Two-Tailed Dog Party - Can They Save the World? I think so.

The sticker says: Look into my eyes, you will vote for us!

The Two-Tailed Dog Party of Hungary may be the greatest political party or political movement of all time. Please read the following article about them. If they gain power, they will distribute free beer and try to negotiate free trade agreements with alien civilizations (in other parts of the universe). They will take children to school in helicopters, and not in school buses. 

Yes, they are out-of-the-box thinkers. (They are also being very satirical - to be satirical means to make fun of or to laugh at an "important" or famous person or institution. Their campaign seems satirical in origin - they are laughing at evil political parties and politics in general, I believe.) 

(A political "party" is a political group that usually represents a particular belief system. The two-tailed dogs seem to be very open-minded and liberal.)

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

a joke party - a political party that was created as a joke, initially, even though they are now, apparently, seriously running candidates for election. (notice: to run for election)

to be dead serious - to be really serious, to be super serious

to draw penises - a penis is the male sexual organ

ballot papers - the slips of paper used to vote in an election

a referendum - this is a special type of election in which the people of a country decide an important issue

European Union migration quotas - a quota is a number that has to be reached. So the EU wanted to establish a quota for each member country of how many refugees or migrants each country had to accept. Hungary's very conservative leader - Orban - did not want to accept the idea of a quota or many migrants. So he held a referendum hoping the people would support him and say "No" to a quota established by the EU.

to cast a vote - to submit a vote

to be deemed invalid - apparently 6.2 million people drew penises on their ballots and these were not considered to be real votes. If something is invalid, it is not legitimate, not to be accepted as real.

the poll - the referendum

grassroots - coming from the people, coming from the bottom up

to be offensive - this means some people are embarrassed by something or upset or shocked by it.

a euphemism for male genitalia - a 'nice' word for the male penis (so if a person doesn't want to say 'penis' in Hungary, I guess that person says 'tail').

dubious - doubtful, not real

to claim expense refunds - I think this means that if a party gets at least 500 votes for each of its candidates, the government pays them the amount of money they spent (or claimed to spend) running in the election. So the fake parties might be falsely claiming and receiving expenses if 500 people accidentally or stupidly vote for their candidates.

to perpetrate something - to cause something harmful or criminal

deemed - considered

a range - a wide variety of things

gorilla-guerrilla - a gorilla is a large ape, a guerrilla is a secret fighter

eternal life - life without end, no death

campaigning - running for office

perks - extra benefits of a job

a departure from clucking - clucking is a sound that chickens make. "Cluck cluck cluck!" He departed from clucking - he stopped clucking and moved to human speech.

spurring them into action - causing them to become more active; to spur something is to speed something up and make it happen faster

enhancing - making it better; so this party tries to take care of issues and matters the government neglects (doesn't pay attention to)

why did the chicken crossed the road? - should be: why did the chicken cross the road? This is an old joke. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.

opposition parties - political parties that are trying to take over from the powerful, well-established parties

to rally behind someone or something - to come together for someone or something

a rival - a competitor, someone you are working against

undecided voters - people who cannot make up their minds

Monday, April 2, 2018

The young man suffering from "affluenza" has been released from jail

As I mentioned in a previous post, "affluenza" is supposedly a psychological problem that some rich kids suffer from. Affluence means wealth. If you are affluent, you are wealthy or rich. Influenza is a disease - influenza is actually "the flu". So a lawyer combined affluence and influenza to get "affluenza". 

According to this lawyer's definition of affluenza, some rich kids never learn the difference between right and wrong because their lives are so easy and comfortable. Their parents "spoil" them. To spoil a child means to not provide any discipline or guidelines for the child's behavior so that the child grows up to be completely selfish.

So when a young, rich guy became very drunk and killed 4 people, his lawyer claimed he was suffering from affluenza and should not be held accountable or responsible for his actions.

The article about this is here:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to serve a sentence - if a person is thrown in jail, he 'serves' his 'sentence'. In this case, the sentence was two years. A sentence is a period of time someone found guilty of a crime has to serve in jail.

a parole violation - in the USA, even though 1% of the population is currently in jail, judges often seem to be very lenient. Lenient is the opposite of strict. Judges tend to show a lot of mercy or sympathy when they sentence criminals. So this young guy was initially sentenced to parole. This means that as long as he stayed out of trouble for a certain amount of time, he would not be thrown in jail. As you will read, he failed to do this and was thrown in jail for two years. So to be on parole means to be conditionally free - under the condition that you do not act badly.

they ushered him - they escorted him, they accompanied him, they went with him

a media scrum - a large crowd of journalists all struggling with each other to get the best photograph or the best position to ask an interview question. A scrum literally happens in the sport of rugby, where many players, in a crowd, struggle to gain control of the ball.

a probation office - if you are on probation, it is basically the same thing as parole - you are expected to live according to high standards or you will be punished

court-ordered ankle monitor - he has to wear an electronic device around the lower part of his leg so that it can be determined whether he is at home or not. This has been ordered by the judge.

a joyride - to ride a car around dangerously for fun

bratty - you are a brat if you act spoiled; if you are very selfish and disrespectful and lacking in maturity, you are a brat or bratty

arrogance - the attitude that you are better than others

a chaplain - a religious person, like a priest, minister, rabbi or imam

furious - very angry; Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a group that advocates against drunk driving.

to adhere to his rules - to follow his rules

dysfunctional - it does not work the way it should; his family was not a normal family that could raise a mentally healthy kid

manslaughter - accidentally killing someone, but accidentally killing them through stupidity or a lack of caution

settled with relatives - they paid lots of money to these relatives

slain - killed

rehab - a process in which psychological experts help people overcome their addictions to alcohol

too broke - too poor

kicking it to taxpayers - passing it to taxpayers

treatment didn't seem to take - it didn't seem to work

beer pong - some stupid drinking game

blatant - obvious, no doubt about it

to be on the run - trying to escape from justice

extradited - sent from Mexico to the USA; if as person is extradited, he/she is wanted in another country and formally sent there

money laundering - I am not sure exactly what she did, but money laundering is usually when you use a business to hide the fact that you are making money illegally. So you might open a restaurant and claim that money you made illegally was made at the restaurant.

hindering the apprehension of a fugitive - to hinder means to make something more difficult; apprehension means catching someone; a fugitive means someone running from justice

a bid - an attempt

to toss or toss out - to throw away, get rid of

a model inmate - a perfect prisoner, someone very cooperative as a prisoner

a write up - if a jail guard 'writes up' a prisoner, it means the prisoner was accused of breaking a rule

impressive - if someone does something impressive, he has done something he/she should be proud of; to be impressed by someone means one thinks highly of that person or what that person did

a rampage - a wild and forceful action; the drunken driving of the car that led to a crash is referred to here as a rampage

rambunctious - not easily controlled, wild

a smirk - a smile someone makes to show he does not have respect for another person