Daily Bread for 2.19.16

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of sixty-three. Sunrise is 6:44 AM and sunset 5:32 PM, for 10h 48m 36s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 42.8% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this  day in 1473, astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Toru?, Poland. On this day in 1863, photographer Edward S. Curtis is born near Whitewater.

Recommended for reading in full —

Patrick Marley reports that Wisconsin gives cash to Lincoln Hills guards fired for excessive force (on juvenile inmates): “MADISON – For the second and third times, Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has given cash settlements to guards who it determined had used excessive force on juvenile inmates, state records show. The payoffs — including one totaling $9,000 — were reached as the FBI continues a criminal investigation of Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, which share a campus 30 miles north of Wausau. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year reported officials at the prison complex trained staff improperly, failed to preserve video evidence, didn’t document serious incidents and often shirked their duty to report matters to parents, police and social service agencies. State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said he wants the Walker administration to explain why it is cutting deals after disciplining employees. “Either they had a weak case going in or they had a strong case but they suddenly lost their backbone,” he said. “Neither one is good.”

Darren Samuelsohn and Annie Karni report on a Leaked Trump tape: ‘You are the special people’ (Exclusive audio shows how Trump lets loose at his clubs — inviting guests to join him on staff interviews): “President Donald Trump, living alone inside the White House, often hungers for friendly interaction as he adjusts to the difficult work of governance. At his clubs, he finds what’s missing. That showed last November at a cocktail and dinner reception celebrating longtime members of his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club. Deep into the process of meeting potential Cabinet nominees, the president-elect invited partygoers to stop by the next day to join the excitement. “We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” Trump told the crowd, according to an audio tape of his closed-press remarks obtained by POLITICO from a source in the room. “You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government.” “We’re going to be interviewing everybody — Treasury, we’re going to be interviewing Secretary of State,” he continued. “We have everybody coming in — if you want to come around, it’s going to be unbelievable….so you might want to come along.”

The New York Times editorial board fittingly describes President Trump, White House Apprentice: “It’s with a whiff of desperation that President Trump insists these days that he’s the chief executive Washington needs, the decisive dealmaker who, as he said during the campaign, “alone can fix it.” What America has seen so far is an inept White House led by a celebrity apprentice….“Everything he rolls out is done so badly,” Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, marveled recently. “They’re just releasing comments, tweets and policies willy-nilly.”

Daniel Dale’s updated The complete list of all 80 false things Donald Trump has said in his first 4 weeks as president: “The [Toronto] Star’s running tally of the bald-faced lies, exaggerations and deceptions the president of the United States of America has said, so far….”

Helen Czerski, author of Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, explains why some of the kernels in your popcorn don’t pop:

Daily Bread for 2.18.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of sixty. Sunrise is 6:45 AM and sunset 5:31 PM, for 10h 45m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 52.4% of its visible disk illuminated.Today is the one hundred first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1885, Mark Twain publishes the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the United States.On this day in 1920, Janesville, Wisconsin city council votes to allow billiard halls and bowling alleys to open for limited hours on Sunday.

Recommended for reading in full —

Rebecca Carballo reports that Cooperative mergers reduce options for dairy farmers in Wisconsin: “The number of dairy cooperatives in Wisconsin continues to shrink, leaving dairy farmers in the state with fewer options for selling their milk, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent cooperative statistics reports. The number of agriculture cooperatives headquartered in Wisconsin dropped from 180 in 2000 to 113 in 2015. Of those, dairy cooperatives headquartered in Wisconsin dropped from 31 to 21 in that same period. The explanation for the shrinkage is simple but problematic for smaller dairy farms: Cooperatives across the agricultural industry are consolidating. Darin Von Ruden, Westby dairy farmer and president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, finds the increasing number of cooperative mergers worrisome, noting consolidation was especially prevalent in northwestern Wisconsin. “We have fewer and fewer places we can sell our products to,” Von Ruden said. “We’re lucky in southwest Wisconsin we have a few different places, but it’s a different story in the northwest.” He added that cooperatives such as Dairy Farmers of America have become “marketing giants” in the southwest part of the U.S. “If that’s the way they’re going to carry on their business around the rest of the country, that is a scary thought for the 50- to 100-cow operators,” Von Ruden said.”

Emily Guskin and Scott Clement interview independent voters for ‘What the hell is he doing on Twitter and watching cable TV all the time?’: Eight independents talk Trump: “Tom Barnett, an independent from Binghamton, N.Y., said he disapproves of Trump but not strongly, feeling the newly elected president is acting too quickly on some policies. “Sure you make promises, but he’s moving way too fast,” Barnett said. On the travel ban, Barnett said: “I think it’s too quick; he should have looked more into it. And deporting a lot of these people; I don’t think that’s right. Even if they did make a mistake in their lives.” The 51-year-old Barnett also has problems with Trump’s media habits and temperament. “What the hell is he doing on Twitter and watching cable TV all the time?” he asked. “I don’t want a president watching cable TV all the time! That’s my job!” “He’s got very thin skin,” Barnett said, “He can dish it out, but he can’t take it.”

Erin Gloria Ryan sees The Downfall of Kellyanne Conway: “As Kellyanne’s once-forceful cable news denials have disintegrated into whimpers, I can’t say I feel anything for her at all. I don’t mind when people point out how tired she looks. I simply cannot dredge up any sympathy for a person who has acknowledged the structural problems most women face only when she is personally facing them, or used them as derailing tactics when she’s losing an argument. I can’t mourn the downfall of a fair-weather feminist, a woman who has used her power to hurt other women. Ms. Conway made her bed. And now it’s time for her to get some sleep.”

David Frum asks How High Does Russia’s Influence Reach?: “Nobody would care if an incoming national security adviser had confidential conversations with an ambassador of a hostile foreign government before Inauguration Day, if it were believed that the conversations served a legitimate and disinterested public purpose. But that is exactly what is doubted in this case. To put the story in simplest terms: 1) Russian spies hacked Democratic Party communications in order to help elect Donald Trump. 2) Donald Trump welcomed the help, used it, publicly solicited more of it—and was then elected president of the United States. 3) President Obama sanctioned Russia for its pro-Trump espionage. 4) While Russia considered its response, its ambassador spoke with the national security adviser-designate about the sanctions 5) The adviser, Flynn, reportedly asked Russia not to overreact, signaling that the new administration would review the sanctions; Russia did not respond. 6) As president-elect and then president, Donald Trump has indicated that he seeks to lift precisely those sanctions caused by Russia’s espionage work on his behalf.”

It’s a battle between an octopus and a crab, until (at around :55) someone else shows up:

Daily Bread for 2.17.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy and mild, with a high of sixty. Sunrise is 6:47 AM and sunset 5:30 PM, for 10h 43m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 62.2% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1801, the House of Representatives breaks a tie on the thirty-sixth ballot, and chooses Thomas Jefferson to be president.On this day in 2002, West Allis native Chris Witty wins a gold medal in speed skating’s 1000 meter at the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Tracy Jan reports that The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: working-class whites: “Working-class whites are the biggest beneficiaries of federal poverty-reduction programs, even though blacks and Hispanics have substantially higher rates of poverty, according to a new study to be released Thursday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Government assistance and tax credits lifted 6.2 million working-class whites out of poverty in 2014, more than any other racial or ethnic demographic. Half of all working-age adults without college degrees lifted out of poverty by safety-net programs are white; nearly a quarter are black and a fifth are Hispanic.

The result does not simply reflect the fact that there are more white people in the country. The percentage of otherwise poor whites lifted from poverty by government safety-net programs is higher, at 44 percent, compared to 35 percent of otherwise poor minorities, the study concluded.”

David Rothkopf describes The Fog of Trump (Come for the chaos, stay for the consequences. The Flynn debacle is just the tip of the iceberg): “Disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s 24 days in office is by almost half a year the shortest tenure of any national security advisor in history. The scandal that brought Flynn down is almost certainly the earliest of real consequence to hit a fledgling presidency. From Flynn’s apparently illegal communications with the Russian government to Trump’s conducting of what should have been secret business in the middle of a dinner party at his Florida club, no White House has ever shown such contempt for the norms of operational security. Trump’s approval rating is the lowest for a new president in the modern era. His disregard for the Constitution has not only gotten him in trouble with the court system earlier than any president in recent memory, but it quite likely gives him the record for being the earliest serial violator of his oath of office ever. No president has ever been enshrouded by anything remotely like the web of conflicts of interest that envelops Trump, who has made being above the law a foundational principle of his presidency. He has done more to shake the confidence and earn the opprobrium of America’s most important allies — from the U.K. to EU and Mexican leaders to Australia — than any president since the United States became a world power.”

Sari Horwitz and Adam Entous report Flynn in FBI interview denied discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador: “Former national security adviser Michael Flynn denied to FBI agents in an interview last month that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States before President Trump took office, contradicting the contents of intercepted communications collected by intelligence agencies, current and former U.S. officials said. The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy. Lying to the FBI is a felony offense. But several officials said it is unclear whether prosecutors would attempt to bring a case, in part because Flynn may parse the definition of the word “sanctions.” He also followed his denial to the FBI by saying he couldn’t recall all of the conversation, officials said.”

Julie Hirschfeld and Eric Schmitt report that Trump’s Pick to Replace Flynn Turns Down the Job: “Current and former national security officials familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said Mr. Harward had harbored strong reservations from the beginning about taking the post because of Mr. Trump’s unpredictable style and the level of chaos that has engulfed his White House. Those were only underscored this week in the politically charged aftermath of Mr. Flynn’s ouster, despite the attempts of Mr. Trump’s inner circle to allay his concerns. One person briefed on the discussions said that Mr. Harward, who had been interviewing for a different administration post when he was tabbed for the N.S.C., had been startled by media accounts of Mr. Trump telling the deputy national security adviser, who was close to Mr. Flynn, that she could stay in her post. It added to his concerns about working for a mercurial president.”

A Japanese man’s persistence has been rewarded, and after ten years’ time, he’s solved a puzzle that perplexed him. Well done —

Underestimating Opposition

I’m libertarian, not liberal, but a quoted remark from some conservative teenagers about liberals caught my attention. In an essay in the New York Times (Why Rural America Voted for Trump), Robert Leonard describes how two conservative eighteen-year olds think of liberals. Here’s the essay’s introductory paragraph, containing the quote:

Knoxville, Iowa — One recent morning, I sat near two young men at a coffee shop here whom I’ve known since they were little boys. Now about 18, they pushed away from the table, and one said: “Let’s go to work. Let the liberals sleep in.” The other nodded.

Perhaps some liberals find this unfair or irritating, but I’ll leave them to their own assessment. Here’s what matters about the teenagers’ remark: they’re assuming their ideological opponents are lazy, and there are few greater mistakes than assuming weakness in one’s political opponents.

On the contrary, the better approach is to assume strength, skill, and tenacity in one’s opponents, and to prepare oneself to face capable adversaries.

Although one’s opponents might be lazy – and should be called out accordingly if that should prove true – one should prepare to face them as though they were industrious, relentless, insatiable. I’ve never prepared for any exchange in my life as though the other side were weak; one prepares as best one can under the assumption that a political adversary is formidable.

A liberal might look at the boys’ remark and take umbrage, but anyone (conservative, liberal, or libertarian) should look at it and notice instead the risk of underestimating others.

Wisconsin’s Best & Brightest Vie for Office

Molly Beck reports that two of the three candidates for state superintendent discussed an arrangement – not illegal yet astonishingly cynical –  about one of them dropping out in exchange for a state job:

A candidate for state superintendent offered an opponent a taxpayer-funded $150,000 job if he dropped out of the race and sought the same for himself if he were the one to drop out, his challenger alleged Wednesday.

Candidate John Humphries said in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal that during discussions between him and opponent Lowell Holtz, Holtz proposed in writing that either he or Humphries should drop out in exchange for the guaranteed three-year job with the Department of Public Instruction should one of them defeat incumbent Tony Evers in the general election.

But Holtz said in an interview with the State Journal that the proposal — including a driver, benefits and sweeping control over several urban school districts, including Madison — was a “rough draft” of ideas assembled at the request of business leaders he declined to name of how the two conservative candidates could work together instead of running against each other. Both candidates said the proposal went nowhere.

Holtz said the proposal was intended for consideration after the primary, but Humphries said Holtz meant for it to be weighed before the race even began and contemplated scenarios under which one or the other candidate would drop out.

Each sought to make his case with dueling documents released Wednesday, although it was impossible to ascertain whether either had been altered.

Via State superintendent candidate: Challenger offered 6-figure job to drop out of race @ Wisconsin State Journal.

Credit where credit is due: this is industrial-grade jackassery.

Download (PDF, 443KB)

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Daily Bread for 2.16.17

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of forty. Sunrise is 6:48 AM and sunset 5:28 PM, for 10h 40m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 71.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one-hundredth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Update: these meetings are for 2.23:  Whitewater’s Community Development Authority Seed Capital Screening Committee meets at 4 PM, and the CDA —Board of Directors meets thereafter at 5 PM.

On this day in 1937, Wallace H. Carothers, a research chemist for Du Pont, received a patent for nylon. On this day in 1943, Milwaukee native Mildred Harnack is executed in Berlin for her service in the German resistance.

Jacob Carpenter reports that Wisconsin dog and Westminster winner Rumor conquers New York City: “With their Best in Show victory Tuesday night, Rumor and [owner Kent] Boyles, who runs a kennel between Janesville and Madison, became the toast of New York City, embarking on a whirlwind tour of the Big Apple. Five-year-old Rumor, named after the song “Rumour Has It” by British songstress Adele, became the second German shepherd to claim top dog in the 141-year history of the competition. “To be the old, retired one, and to come out and take on the new champion, it was a whole lot of fun,” Boyles said Wednesday. Working on just three hours of sleep, Rumor made several television appearances, snapped majestic photos atop the Empire State Building and One World Observatory, and kept with tradition by politely noshing on a pair of steaks at Sardi’s. Rumor handled the onslaught famously before crashing in the afternoon, her 65-pound body weighed down by meat and media attention.”

Ana Fifield reports that Airport assassination of half brother focuses new attention on North Korean leader: “For the victim was his older half brother, Kim Jong Nam, traveling on an apparently fake passport that said he was a 46-year-old named Kim Chol. It was an attack that South Korea’s spy chief asserted was directly ordered from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. One of the women grabbed the man as the other sprayed liquid on his face and held a cloth over it for about 10 seconds. In the hullabaloo of the check-in area, no one even seemed to notice. This account of the attack and its aftermath was pieced together from interviews with staff at the airport, police and other official statements, and leaks to the local media. The women left swiftly, but not that swiftly. They went down three sets of escalators, past an H&M and a Baskin-Robbins, and out of the terminal to a taxi stand, where they needed to buy a voucher for their journey before lining up for a cab. They got in and told the driver to take them to the Empire Hotel, some 40 minutes from the airport.

Michael D. Shear observes that After Election, Trump’s Professed Love for Leaks Quickly Faded: “WASHINGTON — As a candidate for president, Donald J. Trump embraced the hackers who had leaked Hillary Clinton’s emails to the press, declaring at a rally in Pennsylvania, “I love WikiLeaks!” To the cheering throngs that night, Mr. Trump marveled that “nothing is secret today when you talk about the internet.” The leakers, he said, had performed a public service by revealing what he called a scandal with no rival in United States history. Now, after less than four weeks in the Oval Office, President Trump has changed his mind. At a news conference on Wednesday and in a series of Twitter postings earlier in the day, Mr. Trump angrily accused intelligence agencies of illegally leaking information about Michael T. Flynn, his former national security adviser, who resigned after reports that he had lied about conversations with the Russian ambassador.”

Charles Blow describes a slow, Drip, Drip, Drip: “In July, at a televised campaign event, Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” Then in October, an hour after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tapes of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women, WikiLeaks began to dump the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails on the internet. Coincidence? Maybe. But that would be one hell of a coincidence, considering all the other reinforcing “coincidences”: Trump’s inexplicable, inexhaustible praise of Russia and Vladimir Putin; Putin’s failure to respond to Obama’s sanctions; an explosive report last week from CNN that read: “For the first time, U.S. investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent.” What we know only makes what we don’t know feel all the more ominous. But I believe that facts are forthcoming. Reporters are digging like a crew of coal miners hopped up on a case of Red Bull, and sources in Washington are leaking to anyone with a press credential. Drip, drip, drip it goes until the dam breaks and the truth spills.”

These are the bees that give us almonds:

Mark Hamill’s Two-Point Plan

Regarding Trump, Mark Hamill (that Mark Hamill, the one who plays Luke Skywalker), tweeted that two aspects of recent politics deserve diligent inquiry:

Of all Trump’s objectionable actions and qualities, these two topics – Russian involvement in the election and Trump’s taxes – are wisely chosen: they both address questions of law and legitimacy, and they are both related to whether Trump is Putin’s useful fool. (Looking at his tax returns would show Trump’s income and how significantly that income rests on Russian loans.)

That’s not all there is to Trump, to be sure: he has other objectionable qualities.

Yet for it all, there’s never been a president so servile, so fawning, before a foreign leader as Trump is toward Putin. (No one thought, for example, that Nixon was weak on the dictators then in Moscow and Beijing. Quite the opposite: Only Nixon could go to China, for example, precisely because he was considered firm, not fawning, to that foreign power.)

There’s much to go, and many setbacks yet ahead, but Trump shows every sign of being Putin’s tiny dancing monkey.

An Eminent Psychiatrist on Trump

Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College, who served as chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (D.S.M.-IV), on 2.14.17 sent a letter to the New York Times in which he addresses questions about Donald Trump’s mental state. (SeeAn Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump’s Mental State.)

Frances is addressing a debate about whether Trump is mentally ill (Andrew Sullivan, The Madness of King Donald) or is simply a lifelong conniver who has profited from his misconduct (Eric Posner, Is Trump Mentally Unstable?)

Dr. Frances concludes that Trump’s behavior is worse than a person with mental illness, that Trump shows no signs of distress from his “grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy” (as a clinically-ill person would), and so suggesting Trump is mentally ill only stigmatizes those who suffer from properly-diagnosed conditions.

The full text of letter appears below (emphasis mine).

To the Editor:

Fevered media speculation about Donald Trump’s psychological motivations and psychiatric diagnosis has recently encouraged mental health professionals to disregard the usual ethical constraints against diagnosing public figures at a distance. They have sponsored several petitions and a Feb. 14 letter to The New York Times suggesting that Mr. Trump is incapable, on psychiatric grounds, of serving as president.

Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.

Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).

Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.

ALLEN FRANCES

Coronado, Calif.

Needless to say, I’ve neither the ability nor inclination to diagnose Trump; the better course is to defer to the judgment of those properly trained for this work (as Allen Frances surely is).

Frances’s point, however – that Trump’s “psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab” – seems profoundly right. The Ancients, with a sense of psyche but without the insights of modern psychiatry, yet would have been able to understand Trump well. We are right to see him as they would have, and as Dr. Frances does, and to conclude that the “antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.”

Daily Bread for 2.15.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of thirty-two. Sunrise is 6:50 AM and susnet 5:27 PM, for 10h 37m 33s of daytime. The mon is a waning gibbous with 79.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the ninety-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Tech Park Board meets this morning at 8 AM.

On this day in 1820, social reformer and women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony is born. On this day in 1865, the 12th Wisconsin Light Artillery participated in the Union victory at Congaree Creek near Columbia, South Carolina.

Tom Kertscher reports that three (Seventh Circuit Appellate) Judges question investigators’ conduct in Brendan Dassey ‘Making a Murderer’ case: “CHICAGO – Guessing how federal appeals court judges will rule based on the questions they ask in a hearing is more parlor game than science. Nevertheless, an attorney for the state of Wisconsin had barely started his argument Tuesday that Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction should be reinstated when Judge Ilana Rovner stopped him cold. Rovner wanted to know if Dassey, convicted in the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, would have concluded he could go home after answering questions by investigators, instead of being arrested. After all, he was a low-IQ, “extremely suggestible” 16-year-old, she noted. Wisconsin’s deputy solicitor general, Luke Berg, was firm in his response: No specific promises were ever made. However, the exchange immediately highlighted a critical issue in the case: Even if Dassey wasn’t given an explicit promise of leniency, did the way he was questioned — including lines such as, “The truth will set you free” — produce an involuntary confession? Don’t you think, Rovner asked Berg, that investigators “crossed the line?” Rovner, nominated to the court by Republican President George W. Bush, is leading a three-judge panel of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Dassey’s murder conviction, sensationalized in the “Making A Murderer” documentary, was overturned last August by William Duffin, a federal magistrate judge in Milwaukee. Duffin ruled that Dassey’s constitutional rights were violated because investigators for the prosecution made false promises to Dassey during multiple interrogations.”

Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo report that Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence: “WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials. American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election. The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation. But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.”

Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima report on Flynn’s swift downfall: From a phone call in the Dominican Republic to a forced resignation at the White House: “Michael Flynn was at a beachside resort in the Dominican Republic, a stretch of sand and sun that he and his wife had visited for years, when he took a few moments out of their post-election vacation for a call with the Russian ambassador to the United States. As a veteran intelligence officer, Flynn must have known that a call with a Russian official in Washington would be intercepted by the U.S. government, pored over by FBI analysts and possibly even shared with the White House. But six weeks later, Flynn was forced out of his job as national security adviser to President Trump over what was said in that conversation and Flynn’s inability to be truthful about it with then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence and other officials now in senior positions at the White House.”

Dave Gold (a Democrat) writes that ‘Data-Driven’ Campaigns Are Killing the Democratic Party: “Though the problem for Democrats is urgent, the challenge is not new. Before the clamor for a “data-driven” approach, the “best practices” embraced by much of the Democratic Party apparatus encouraged campaigns that were predominantly driven by issue bullet points. In 2000, for example, the Gore presidential campaign had no shortage of position papers, but it would be challenging (at best) to say what the campaign’s message was. In contrast, in Obama’s 2008 campaign, “Hope and Change” was not only a slogan, but a message frame through which all issues were presented. Years ago, my political mentor taught me the problem with this approach, using a memorable metaphor: issues are to a campaign message what ornaments are to a Christmas tree, he said. Ornaments make the tree more festive, but without the tree, you don’t have a Christmas tree, no matter how many ornaments you have or how beautiful they are. Issues can advance the campaign’s story, but without a narrative frame, your campaign doesn’t have a message, no matter how many issue ads or position papers it puts forward. Storytelling has been the most effective form of communication throughout the entirety of human history. And that is unlikely to change, given that experts in neurophysiology affirm that the neural pathway for stories is central to the way the human brain functions (“The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor,” as social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has written).”

Tech Insider contends that The ‘alpha dog’ myth is leading countless owners to mistreat their dogs:

Where Reaction Leads

What happens when the municipal officials of a small college town repeatedly malign – in print and on camera – a private business and college residents for the conduct of unrelated third-parties?

This is what happens:

The City of Whitewater Clarifies Recent Comments Regarding Spring Splash, Encourages Residents to Celebrate Responsibly 

Whitewater, Wis., February 11th, 2017 – For several years, many residents, primarily students, have come to look forward to gathering and celebrating together in early spring. Since 2013, Wisconsin Red has joined in the celebration through the organization and sponsorship of Whitewater’s Spring Splash. Spring Splash 2016 was, quite possibly, the most successful event to date; drawing more participants than prior years for what was a very well-run event.

While Spring Splash 2016 was well organized and free of problems, many other parties and events hosted elsewhere in the City [sic] were not. Due to the magnitude of visitors, many parties outside of Spring Splash outgrew their designated space resulting in large mobs of party goers roaming the city. Many groups quickly became unruly and dangerous.

In recent meetings with city staff, Wisconsin Red stressed that the events that transpired outside of Spring Splash were in no way representative of the organization’s mission or values. However, many officials believed that the successful promotional campaign on the Wisconsin Red website and social media pages had contributed to the large turnout of visitors and the mobs that continued throughout the day and night.

City staff met with Wisconsin Red representatives earlier this month to discuss its plans for Spring Splash 2017. While Wisconsin Red displayed great respect and organizational ability, anxiety over what could happen outside of the event prompted city officials to express continued concerns. After discussing the anticipated negatives that could result from a repeat of last year’s ancillary events, all parties agreed that it would be in the City’s best interest to cancel Spring Splash 2017 and consider revisiting in 2018.

“All the reports I’ve received regarding Spring Splash 2016 have confirmed that Wisconsin Red’s event was well organized and well run,” says Cameron Clapper, Whitewater City Manager. “It is the other parties and the meandering mobs we’re concerned about. Everyone deserves a chance to relax and unwind but no one can be excused from their civic responsibility to exercise good judgment, avoid dangerous behaviors and be respectful of our neighbors.”

The City of Whitewater recognizes most of the negative behavior that occurred last year was not from Whitewater students. The City does not want to limit celebrative opportunities for any group or individual but rather encourages safe and controlled gatherings.

The City of Whitewater and Wisconsin Red would like to express a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all those who celebrated responsibly last year and who assisted with the clean-up following the day’s activities. Thanks to the volunteer efforts of many community members, including UW-Whitewater students, the city was cleaned-up in less than a day.

“We hope that if an individual or group chooses to celebrate and have gatherings throughout the year, they continue to do so in a safe and respectful manner as Whitewater students have been known to do,” Clapper says. “Encourage party hosts to be respectful of their neighbors as well as their guests by not promoting bad behavior or inviting those that would. We are proud of our student body and want to continue to support them in hopes they can support and care for the city they live in.”

The City of Whitewater provides efficient and high quality services which support living, learning, playing and working in an exceptional community. Visit www.whitewater-wi.gov for community information and updates.

Via http://www.whitewater-wi.gov/residents/recent-news/3257-spring-splash.

The simple truth is that Whitewater’s town-gown divide is debilitatingly wide, despite empty insistence to the contrary, her municipal officials shuttle between support of one contesting faction within the city and another, overreacting to events, with over-wrought assertions and language, and without the detached and dispassionate view that would prevent the need for printed clarifications.

Daily Bread for 2.14.17

Good morning.

Valentine’s Day in Whitewater will be mild and partly sunny, with a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 6:51 AM and sunset 5:26 PM, for 10h 34m 50s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 87.2% of its visible disk illuminated.Today is the ninety-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1859, Oregon became America’s thirty-third state. On this day in 1819, C. Latham Sholes, one of the inventors of the typewriter, is born. Sholes lived much of his life in Wisconsin, and served in both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate.

Recommended for reading in full —

Patrick Marley reports that Syrian man files lawsuit in Wisconsin over Trump refugee ban: “MADISON – Wisconsin was pulled into the legal fight Monday over President Donald Trump’s refugee and immigration ban, with a Syrian man filing suit over his inability to finalize asylum for his wife and 3-year-old daughter. The man – a Sunni Muslim who filed the federal lawsuit under the name John Doe to protect his family’s identity – arrived in the United States in 2014 after two military forces extorted, falsely imprisoned and tortured him. He was granted asylum in May 2016 and soon afterward sought asylum for his wife and daughter, who remain in war-torn Aleppo. According to the lawsuit, the grants of asylum for his wife and daughter were in the final stages of being processed when they were halted by Trump’s executive order that barred Syrian refugees from the United States. The order also suspended immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.”

Eric Posner asks Is Trump mentally unstable? and concludes that he’s not unstable, but rather a lifelong liar:  “But if Trump’s behavior is politically pathological, it is psychologically natural. If biographic accounts are to be believed, he has spent his entire life telling lies and profiting from them. The lies helped his business, his love life, and his endless efforts at self-promoting. They helped him win the election. And not just the lies, but the incessant bloviating about things he knows nothing of. Having won the campaign, he has gained immense self-confidence in his political instincts. Three weeks in, he sees no reason (yet) to depart from his modus operandi of chattering, lying, bloviating, and tweeting, in order to provoke people, gain attention, and control the agenda. He enjoys it all too much, maybe he can’t really help it, but he has not been convinced that his lies harm him. He makes up facts to make himself look good because he is like everyone else except more so. Unlike everyone else, he is publicly contradicted by the press. When this happens, he doubles down rather than take the risk of losing face. Trump believes that the press is controlled by his enemies; he cannot afford to make concessions to it.”

Andrew Roth reports that Russian lawmakers rush to the defense of Trump’s ex-national security adviser: “ Leading Russian lawmakers rushed to defend President Trump’s former national security adviser on Tuesday after he resigned for misleading senior White House officials, including Vice President Pence, about his contacts with Russia. The heads of the foreign affairs committees in both Russia’s upper and lower houses of parliament chalked up Michael Flynn’s resignation to a dark campaign of Russophobia in Washington, and said it would undermine relations between the White House and the Kremlin.”

The 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is under way. The Journal Sentinel has a 51-photograph slideshow.

Iceland, under a full moon

 

Iceland under Full Moon from O Z Z O Photography on Vimeo.

 

Daily Bread for 2.13.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of forty-six. Sunrise is 6:52 AM and sunset 5:25 PM, for 10h 32m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 92.9% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the ninety-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets tonight at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1935, a New Jersey jury convicts Bruno Richard Hauptmann of the kidnapping and murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s son. For further reading on the case, see The Sixteenth Rail, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, ISBN 978-1-55591-716-6, copyright by Adam Schrager, 2013, 314 pages. On this day in 1935, Wisconsin establishes a minimum gasoline price per gallon.

Piet Levy reports that Al Jarreau, celebrated vocalist, Milwaukee native, dies at 76: “Al Jarreau has said his yellow brick road started in Milwaukee. From singing songs as a child at church and PTA meetings, to his first paid gigs at the Pfister Hotel, the genre-blending jazz singer went on to tour the world, record 21 albums and earn seven Grammys. He remains the only vocalist in Grammy history to win in the jazz, pop and R&B categories. But Jarreau’s heart was always at home. “Practically every night from stage, he would say, ‘I’m from Milwaukee,’ ” said fellow Milwaukee native Joe Turano, a member of Jarreau’s band for 17 years and his musical director since 2008. When they met, Turano said, Jarreau asked, “‘You’re from Milwaukee? I never had a guy from Milwaukee in my band before.’ And he gave me a big hug.” Jarreau, 76, died in a Los Angeles hospital early Sunday morning, with his wife, Susan, their son Ryan and a few friends and relatives by his side. On Wednesday, Jarreau announced through his website that he would have to retire from touring on medical orders, due to “exhaustion.” A cause of death was not immediately known. “He was just a great human and talented and wonderful to be around,” said friend Greg Marcus, CEO of the Marcus Corp. “He made you feel good. The world has lost someone special.”

Philip Rucker reports that Trump friend says Priebus is ‘in way over his head’: One of President Trump’s longtime friends made a striking move on Sunday: After talking privately with the president over drinks late Friday, Christopher Ruddy publicly argued that Trump should replace his White House chief of staff. “A lot of people have been saying, ‘Look, Donald has some problems,’ and I think he realizes that he’s got to make some changes going forward,” Ruddy said in an interview with The Washington Post. Ruddy went on to detail his critique of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus: “It’s my view that Reince is the problem. I think on paper Reince looked good as the chief of staff — and Donald trusted him — but it’s pretty clear the guy is in way over his head. He’s not knowledgeable of how federal agencies work, how the communications operations work. He botched this whole immigration rollout. This should’ve been a win for Donald, not two or three weeks of negative publicity.”

David Sanger, Eric Schmitt, and Peter Baker describe Turmoil at the National Security Council, From the Top Down: “Three weeks into the Trump administration, council staff members get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls. Some staff members have turned to encrypted communications to talk with their colleagues, after hearing that Mr. Trump’s top advisers are considering an “insider threat” program that could result in monitoring cellphones and emails for leaks. The national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, has hunkered down since investigators began looking into what, exactly, he told the Russian ambassador to the United States about the lifting of sanctions imposed in the last days of the Obama administration, and whether he misled Vice President Mike Pence about those conversations. His survival in the job may hang in the balance. Although Mr. Trump suggested to reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday that he was unaware of the latest questions swirling around Mr. Flynn’s dealings with Russia, aides said over the weekend in Florida — where Mr. Flynn accompanied the president and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe — that Mr. Trump was closely monitoring the reaction to Mr. Flynn’s conversations. There are transcripts of a conversation in at least one phone call, recorded by American intelligence agencies that wiretap foreign diplomats, which may determine Mr. Flynn’s future.”

Tom Boggioni relates a comment from Charlie Sykes in Conservative pundit: Trump only uses ‘cringe-worthy’ surrogates because no one else will lie for him: ““I want to know who will play him on SNL next week,” Sykes said after watching Miller yell at multiple Sunday morning hosts. “What an extraordinary choice by the Trump administration to push Stephen Miller out when they actually do have some credible spokesmen. This was a cringe-worthy performance.” “Stephen Miller has only one audience,” Sykes continued. “He’s playing to Donald Trump. This is somebody proving that he is the loyalist possible spokesman. But what you have there [in Miller] is you have the intersection of inexperience, incompetence and zealotry, and the fact that he is doubling down on something that is clearly just not true.”

On February 7, 2017 a tornado hit NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Employees shot video of the tornado and its aftermath:

Film: Hawaii – The Pace of Formation

Hawaii – The Pace of Formation from Givot on Vimeo.

“Hawaii – The Pace of Formation” is a window into the creation of an island. The Kilauea Volcano’s continued flow of lava into the ocean is one of the few places in the world to provide a front row seat of an island’s formation. The Big Island is literally changing before your eyes. This vast island contains 8 out of 13 different climate zones in the world, each with unique ecosystems, making the Big Island one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world. To showcase its diversity, we wanted to slow things down and let its beauty speak for itself. Enjoy!

Visit all the locations in this video for yourself in this unique 8k 360 video experience: youtube.com/watch?v=c858UGeCeG4

Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of this adventure: vimeo.com/203005247

Daily Bread for 2.12.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see morning rain give way to occasional sunshine and a high of thirty-nine. Sunrise is 6:54 AM and sunset 5:23 PM, for 10h 29m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 97.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the ninety-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Abraham Lincoln is born this day in 1809. On this day in 2002, Verona, Wisconsin’s Casey FitzRandolph wins a gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games in the Men’s 500 Meters.

Recommended for reading in full —

J. Weston Phippen writes that Yale Changes the Name of Calhoun College Over Ties to Racism: “Yale University announced Saturday that it would rename its residential college that bore the name of John C. Calhoun, a Yale graduate, U.S. vice president, white supremacist and advocate of slavery. The college will now be named after Grace Murray Hopper, a mathematician who graduated from the university in 1934 and left a teaching role to enlist in the Navy during World War II. The name change is a reversal of a decision made last spring, when Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, said he would not remove Calhoun’s name, because he thought it better to confront history, not to erase it. In that same spirit, Calhoun’s name will not be removed from the college, but will appear alongside Hopper’s, although the college will only be referred to by the latter. Hopper left her teaching job at Vassar and joined the Navy to help defeat Fascism, and she remained in service most of her life. But she is much better known for her work on early computers, developing code and language that allowed non-specialists to use them. ”

Oliver Willis describes How To Fight Cult Leaders Like Donald Trump And L. Ron Hubbard And Win (Willis – a progressive, not a libertarian – has for months now described Trump’s appeal as that of a cult leader): “In the last fifteen years or so there has been a steady stream of books, tv series, and documentaries about just how crazy the behavior of the church [of Scientology] has been historically and leading up to the bizarre behavior of current leader (and Tom Cruise bestie) David Miscavige. This informational war has demystified the church in the minds of most of the public, turning it into more of a punchline than anything….In an ideal world, a Trump supporter would learn about the bed of lies his entire persona is built on and simply leave the Trump compound of their own accord. But in the real world, this is unlikely to happen. If anything, Trump cultists will double down on their loyalty due to external attacks, with Trump issuing verbal kool-aid to them by describing everything outside the bubble as “fake news.” But outside reporting and debunking of his lies and mendacity does erode the cult of Trump. It galvanizes those of us on the left who are opposed to him with a shared set of information and logic to pass back and forth within our ranks as ammunition. Then for those moderates who are open to a logical argument, it arms them with information they need to form an informed opinion. With these two divisions of an information army continually supplied with material, you can win a war.”

Emma Green describes how These Conservative Christians Are Opposed to Trump—and Suffering the Consequences: “Earlier this month, Jonathan Martin jotted off a sad tweet. “I’ve lost count of the number of people who say they’ve had ministry jobs threatened/been fired for speaking out in some way in this season,” the Christian author and speaker wrote. Confirmation rolled in: one story from a church planter in California, another from a former worship leader in Indiana. These are “not people who would historically self-identify as progressives, at all,” Martin told me later. They’re “people who see themselves as being very faithful evangelicals.” Donald Trump has divided conservative Christian communities. Most white Christians support Trump, or at least voted for him. Some who have spoken out against his presidency or his policies, though, have encountered backlash. For a small group of people working in Christian ministry, music, and nonprofit advocacy, the consequences have been tangible: They’ve faced pressure from their employers, seen funds withdrawn from their mission work, or lost performing gigs because of their political beliefs.”

Daniel Dale has The complete list [so far – it’s only been three weeks] of all 57 false things Donald Trump has said as president: “U.S. President Donald Trump makes frequent false claims about matters big and small. The Star is planning to track them all. Contact Daniel Dale at ddale@thestar.ca if you hear Trump say anything you know is false or should be checked. Last updated: Feb. 10, 2017….

53. Feb. 7, 2017 —

Meeting with the National Sheriffs’ Association

The claim: “The murder rate in our country’s the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? 47 years? I’d say that in a speech and everybody’s surprised. Because the press doesn’t tell it like it is. It wasn’t to their advantage to say that.”

In fact: The homicide rate is not even close to a 47-year high. In fact, it remains near historic lows. There were 10 homicides per 100,000 residents in 1980, eight per 100,000 residents in 1995; in 2015, the latest year for which there is national data, it was five per 100,000 residents. Trump sometimes correctly notes that the increase in the homicide rate between 2014 and 2015 was the largest in more than 40 years. But that is far different than the actual rate being the highest.”

Tea & Kung Fu? Of course —

Ya’an, China, is home to some of the country’s best tea. It’s also home to the amazing long spout tea performers. This performance art, which dates back to 220 AD, mixes Kung Fu and the long spout metal teapot. Liu Xumin is a tea performer who has spent years mastering this ancient art form. His hope, he says, is to “achieve the integration of tea pot and human, of heaven and human, and of tea and human.”

Daily Bread for 2.11.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be forty-five and partly cloudy. Sunrise is 6:55 AM and sunset is 5:22 PM, for 10h 26m 46s of daytime. The moon is full today, with 99.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the ninety-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s annual Freeze Fest at Cravath Lakefront takes place today, with a Polar Plunge from Noon – 3:00 PM to benefit Special Olympics of Wisconsin and a Chili Cook Off 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM.

Thomas Edison is born this day in 1847. On this day in 1842, Territorial Legislature member James R. Vineyard shoots fellow legislator Charles C.P. Arndt shortly after a session’s adjournment.

Recommended for reading in full —

Jason Horowitz reports that Steve Bannon Cited Italian Thinker Who Inspired Fascists: “ROME — Those trying to divine the roots of Stephen K. Bannon’s dark and at times apocalyptic worldview have repeatedly combed over a speech that Mr. Bannon, President Trump’s ideological guru, made in 2014 to a Vatican conference, where he expounded on Islam, populism and capitalism. But for all the examination of those remarks, a passing reference by Mr. Bannon to an esoteric Italian philosopher has gone little noticed, except perhaps by scholars and followers of the deeply taboo, Nazi-affiliated thinker, Julius Evola. “The fact that Bannon even knows Evola is significant,” said Mark Sedgwick, a leading scholar of Traditionalists at Aarhus University in Denmark. Evola, who died in 1974, wrote on everything from Eastern religions to the metaphysics of sex to alchemy. But he is best known as a leading proponent of Traditionalism, a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes progress and equality are poisonous illusions.  Evola became a darling of Italian Fascists, and Italy’s post-Fascist terrorists of the 1960s and 1970s looked to him as a spiritual and intellectual godfather. They called themselves Children of the Sun after Evola’s vision of a bourgeoisie-smashing new order that he called the Solar Civilization. Today, the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn includes his works on its suggested reading list, and the leader of Jobbik, the Hungarian nationalist party, admires Evola and wrote an introduction to his works. More important for the current American administration, Evola also caught on in the United States with leaders of the alt-right movement, which Mr. Bannon nurtured as the head of Breitbart News and then helped harness for Mr. Trump.”

Andrew Sullivan considers The Madness of King Donald: “Then there is the obvious question of the president’s mental and psychological health. I know we’re not supposed to bring this up — but it is staring us brutally in the face. I keep asking myself this simple question: If you came across someone in your everyday life who repeatedly said fantastically and demonstrably untrue things, what would you think of him? If you showed up at a neighbor’s, say, and your host showed you his newly painted living room, which was a deep blue, and then insisted repeatedly — manically — that it was a lovely shade of scarlet, what would your reaction be? If he then dragged out a member of his family and insisted she repeat this obvious untruth in front of you, how would you respond? If the next time you dropped by, he was still raving about his gorgeous new red walls, what would you think? Here’s what I’d think: This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional. If he kept this up, at some point you’d excuse yourself and edge slowly out of the room and the house and never return. You’d warn your other neighbors. You’d keep your distance. If you saw him, you’d be polite but keep your distance. I think this is a fundamental reason why so many of us have been so unsettled, anxious, and near panic these past few months. It is not so much this president’s agenda. That always changes from administration to administration. It is that when the linchpin of an entire country is literally delusional, clinically deceptive, and responds to any attempt to correct the record with rage and vengeance, everyone is always on edge.”

Greag Sargent believes that A blueprint for resistance to Trump has emerged. Here’s what it looks like: “1) Have (guarded) faith in our system….2) Keep pressuring Republicans to exercise real oversight on Trump….3) Fight hard in the Senate will all available procedural weapons….4) Keep looking to civil society and try to fortify it where possible….5) Keep Trump distracted and off balance, to minimize the damage he can do….”

(I’d say it’s still early, and there will be much more difficult days, with significant setbacks, along the way.)

Rosie Gray asks, and answers, What is the NRx (Neoreaction) Movement?: “White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been in contact via intermediaries with Curtis Yarvin, Politico Magazine reported this week. Yarvin, a software engineer and blogger, writes under the name Mencius Moldbug. His anti-egalitarian arguments have formed the basis for a movement called “neoreaction.” The main thrust of Yarvin’s thinking is that democracy is a bust; rule by the people doesn’t work, and doesn’t lead to good governance. He has described it as an “ineffective and destructive” form of government, which he associates with “war, tyranny, destruction and poverty.” Yarvin’s ideas, along with those of the English philosopher Nick Land, have provided a structure of political theory for parts of the white-nationalist movement calling itself the alt-right. The alt-right can be seen as a political movement; neoreaction, which adherents refer to as NRx, is a philosophy. At the core of that philosophy is a rejection of democracy and an embrace of autocratic rule.”

In Alaska, it’s Moose v. Moose:

Friday Catblogging: Cats Make Appearance at Westminster Dog Show

Cats are not about to tread on show dogs’ sovereign terrain or usurp their hold on prime-time television pageantry (kitties already rule the Internet, after all). Westminster is still a dog-only show — for now.

What is true: Cats will, for the first time in several years, be on display at a joint Westminster-American Kennel Club event on Feb. 11, two days before the actual canine competition begins. It’s called “Meet the breeds,”  an occasion where members of the public can ogle and learn about many dozens of dog breeds, each with its own booth.

This year, out of the kindness of their canine-loving hearts, and because of a bit of public pressure, the American Kennel Club (AKC) decided to bring back cats, giving forty breeds of felines their own booths.

“We have heard people’s demands for the cats. And they returned,” said Brandi Hunter, an AKC spokeswoman who, without a hint of resentment in her voice, added, “Cats are pets, too.”

Via The truth about cats at the Westminster dog show @ Washington Post.

Daily Bread for 2.10.17

Good morning.

Here in Whitewater, we’ll have a partly cloudy and windy day, with a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 6:56 AM and sunset 5:21 PM, for 10h 24m 06s of daytime. Today is the ninety-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1763, the Treaty of Paris leaves Britain with most of France’s New World possessions. On this day in 1950, Sen. McCarthy again claims, without revealing a single name, communist infiltration within the U.S. government.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Despite official denials, Kylie Atwood and Brian Gottlieb report that Mexican foreign minister helped Jared Kushner re-write Trump border wall speech: “Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray personally made changes to President Donald Trump’s speech announcing an executive order calling for the construction of a border wall, according to Mexican officials. When Videgaray came to the White House in January, on the same day that Mr. Trump was to sign the executive order, Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and the president’s son-in-law, showed him the speech Mr. Trump planned to deliver that day at the Homeland Security Department. Videgaray was horrified, according to the Mexican officials, and deemed the speech a non-starter. If the remarks were not changed, they would likely drive the two countries, whose relationship Videgaray was there to try and redress, even further apart. Such a speech would also do little to help President Pena’s approval ratings in his own country. Kushner suggested they re-write the speech together to make it less damaging.”

James Pethokoukis believes that The US economy may be growing faster than we think — and has been for a long time: “Might we somehow be statistically mismeasuring economic growth? Might growth be faster than we think? (It’s a topic I’ve written frequently about.) And now there’s a new research paper on the subject. See, it’s widely known that measuring quality improvements in a product is tough. So perhaps traditional inflation measures like the consumer price index fail to fully capture the benefits of new or upgraded products. (This seems to be particularly true when it come to software.) In a San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank working paper, “Missing Growth from Creative Destruction,” researchers add to that argument:

We argue that there exists a subtler, overlooked bias in the case of creative destruction. When the producer of the outgoing item does not produce the incoming item (i.e., when there is creative destruction), the standard procedure at statistical offices is to resort to some form of imputation. Imputation inserts the average price growth among a set of surviving products that were not creatively destroyed. We think this misses some growth because inflation is likely to be below-average for items subject to creative destruction. … As some products disappear precisely because they are displaced by better products, inflation may be lower at these points than for surviving products. As a result, creative destruction may result in overstated inflation and understated growth.”

Tyler Kingkade reports that Campus Rape’s Toughest Young Attorney Is Ready For Trump And DeVos: “Lately, Laura Dunn has tried to avoid thinking about rape on the weekends, but it doesn’t come naturally for the meticulous lawyer. Her idea of unwinding includes binge-watching Law & Order: SVU, not exactly light entertainment for a woman whose weeks are spent fielding calls and emails about the very topic — sexual assault — that dominates the show. For Dunn, though, this world of virtuous detectives and prosecutors is an escape from the calls and emails she receives from people asking for help, from the start of her workday at 8 a.m. until she’s collapsing into bed around 11 p.m. People who’ve been raped, people whose children were raped, people whose reports of rape were ignored and who finally got fed up enough to do something about it.”

Molly Ball considers The Anti-Trump Resistance and the Lessons of the Tea Party: “It’s too soon to tell if the current resistance movement will follow the tea party’s pattern. But there are already many parallels. It has arisen spontaneously and en masse. Many Republicans believe it’s not real: The protests, they tell me, are Astroturf funded by George Soros; the opposition to Betsy DeVos as education secretary, which jammed Senate switchboards, was merely manufactured by the teachers’ unions. But the unions and Soros didn’t start this fire any more than the Kochs started the tea party—they’re merely riding the wave in hopes it will advance their goals. Second, Trump’s election appears to have galvanized a lot of people who weren’t previously Democratic activists or politically minded at all. They may have voted Democrat, they may consider themselves “progressive,” but they’re not the Democratic base that donated to politicians and knocked on doors in years past. Commentators on the right have seized on the violent sentiments expressed by some participants as proof the whole movement is composed of frightening extremists.”

One falcon pursues many starlings, but still comes away empty –