Daily Bread for 5.28.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of seventy-nine. Sunrise is 5:20 AM and sunset 8:24 PM, for 15h 03m 36s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 10.8% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the two hundred first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1940, the Belgian army surrenders to Nazi Germany (“The surrender of 28 May was ordered by King Leopold III without the consultation of his government and sparked a political crisis after the war. Despite the capitulation, many Belgians managed to escape to the United Kingdom where they formed a government and army-in-exile on the Allied side.”) On this day in 1864,  the 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 36th Wisconsin Infantry regiments fight at Battle of Bethesda Church during the Wilderness Campaign.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Patrick Marley reports that Wisconsin shuts down unit that found Lincoln Hills abuses:

MADISON – Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is getting rid of the internal affairs unit that exposed abuses at the state’s juvenile prison complex and paved the way for a years-long criminal investigation of the facility.

The Department of Corrections’ unit will be eliminated on June 25, and its investigators will be folded into a bureau focused on reducing sexual assaults behind bars. The change means the state’s prison system will no longer have a dedicated office for investigating employee misconduct.

“I don’t understand the wisdom behind the change,” said Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee). “Why would we return to a setup that could allow future abuse? If it’s shown value, why would we end it?”

Department of Corrections officials said closing the internal affairs division will allow the state agency to concentrate on sexual assaults while still maintaining its ability to thoroughly investigate employee misconduct.

Ulrich Boser writes that Betsy DeVos has invested millions in this ‘brain training’ company. So I checked it out:

I was checking out the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., branch of Neurocore, a “brain performance” company owned by the family of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. DeVos resigned her Neurocore board seat when she joined the Trump Cabinet, but she and her husband maintain a financial stake of between $5 million and $25 million, according to a financial disclosure statement filed with the Office of Government Ethics. The DeVoses’ private-equity firm, Windquest, identifies Neurocore as part of its “corporate family.” The Windquest website posts Neurocore news and includes links for job seekers to apply to Neurocore openings…

When the DeVos-Neurocore connection made headlines during her confirmation hearings, I was skeptical of the company’s claims. I had come across brain training while working on a book, “Learn Better,” about the science of learning. The field is rife with vague and overblown promises. Last year, the creators of Lumosity paid a $2 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission to settle a complaintthat they deceptively advertised that their memory exercises could improve everyday performance and stave off memory loss….

Adam Serwer asks Why Would Jared Kushner Trust Russian Officials So Much?:

But what is also peculiar is the level of trust Kushner would have been placing in Russian officials in asking for such a communications channel. Foreign affairs is often complex, yet Kushner didn’t want the U.S. government’s help—or supervision.

“What is unusual and borderline disturbing about this is less that it cut out the State Department or cut out the intelligence community; I think there is a precedent for both of those things in back-channels,” said Jon Finer, former State Department chief of staff under John Kerry. “It shows a level of trust in Russian intelligence, and Russian diplomatic personnel beyond the level of trust afforded to American intelligence and American personnel.”

Jennifer Rubin lists The Trump team’s five major shams:

First, the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge that it has reneged on its vow not to touch entitlements….

Second, the Trump administration will not admit it is engaged in a massive giveaway to the rich….

Third, the Trump administration has no plausible explanation for why its policies won’t lead to a mammoth increase in the debt….

Fourth, the Trump administration won’t own up to the anti-growth aspect of its immigration stance….

Fifth, the Trump administration won’t present a budget that has a ghost of a chance of passing….

(Rubin details each point.)

Tina Nguyen observes that As Trump’s Problems Mount, Breitbart’s Numbers Are Cratering:

Measuring web traffic is an inexact art, but other web-analytics companies reflect a similar, unusually steep decline in Breitbart’s traffic. ComScore estimated that Breitbart had nearly 23 million unique visitors during the month of November 2016, but only drew 10.7 million in April 2017, a 53 percent drop. Last month, the site had fewer visitors than it did in April 2016, when 12.3 million people visited the site. In contrast, the four sites that Breitbart benchmarked itself against saw nowhere near that drop—and, in the case of both Fox News and Buzzfeed, saw small increases in traffic since the November election….

Other conservative media sites have also experienced declines in traffic in recent months, but none as pronounced as Breitbart’s. According to Alexa data, National Review Online, Infowars.com, The Daily Caller, and Drudge Report all saw slumps in their rankings. Over the last week, as Trump was engulfed in the Comey scandal, Fox News’s viewership dropped to third place behind CNN and MSNBC for the first time in 17 years.

Why would this be? Nguyen quotes a conservative editor who admits how hard defending Trump has become:

At the most basic level, Trump’s struggles are producing a passion gap among news consumers. “If you’re anti-Trump, there’s never been a better time to read news. It’s like Christmas every morning,” an editor at another conservative media outlet told me. “So every time you open the newspaper or open Twitter or turn on Facebook, you get to enjoy the fact that there are a lot of other people who don’t like Trump and there’s a lot of news stories that show Trump in a negative light. Whereas if you’re Breitbart, you’re scrambling to explain or defend or continue to back the guy that you backed throughout the election. And eventually, if your posture continues to just simply be reactive and trying to explain away things that are happening to or by the president, I think people slowly become sort of disheartened by politics.”

(To express this more accurately, those who have opposed Trump from the beginning, as I have, will have an experience like Christmas morning when Trump and his ilk no longer hold federal power. Until then, reading and writing as his many lies, destructive policies, and authoritarianism are exposed is merely the work of defending a free society.)

Great Big Story explains How Falconry Shaped the English Language:


How Falconry Shaped the English Language from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

 

Daily Bread for 5.27.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-eight. Sunrise is 5:21 AM and sunset 8:23 PM, for 15h 02m 09s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 4.5% of its visible disk illuminated.Today is the two hundredth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1963, Bob Dylan’s second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is released. Around this time in 1673, Marquette & Joliet reach Green Bay.

Recommended for reading in full —

From March, Caleb Melby and David Kocieniewski describe life Inside the Troubled Kushner Tower: Empty Offices and Mounting Debt:

The Manhattan tower co-owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has been losing money for three years and faces increasing loan fees in 2017, which may explain why the family has been negotiating with Chinese insurance behemoth Anbang on new financing.

The fees, at 666 Fifth Avenue, kicked in last month and escalate with each payment until the loan is repaid, a 2011 refinancing agreement shows. December brings another hurdle: Interest paid on the bulk of about $1.1 billion of loans jumps to 6.35 percent, more than double what it was after the debt was refinanced in 2011.

(The Chinese deal fell through about a week after this story, but the financial plight was present, of course, many months earlier, and explains the pressure Kushner would have been under to make a deal with Chinese, or Russian, financial interests.)

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke to his city on the removal of the Confederate monuments. Here is his full, worthy address:

Mariana Zuñiga and Nick Miroff report that Venezuela’s paradox: People are hungry, but farmers can’t feed them:

With cash running low and debts piling up, Venezuela’s socialist government has cut back sharply on food imports. And for farmers in most countries, that would present an opportunity.

But this is Venezuela, whose economy operates on its own special plane of dysfunction. At a time of empty supermarkets and spreading hunger, the country’s farms are producing less and less, not more, making the caloric deficit even worse.

Drive around the countryside outside the capital, Caracas, and there’s everything a farmer needs: fertile land, water, sunshine and gasoline at 4 cents a gallon, cheapest in the world. Yet somehow families here are just as scrawny-looking as the city-dwelling Venezuelans waiting in bread lines or picking through garbage for scraps.

Having attempted for years to defy conventional economics, the country now faces a painful reckoning with basic arithmetic.

“Last year I had 200,000 hens,” said Saulo Escobar, who runs a poultry and hog farm here in the state of Aragua, an hour outside Caracas. “Now I have 70,000.”

Gina Barton reports that a Man who died in Milwaukee police custody could have lived with treatment, expert says:

Even if Milwaukee police officers thought Derek Williams was faking an inability to breathe in the moments before he died, they violated his civil rights by failing to get him medical help, according to documents filed Thursday in his family’s lawsuit against the city.

Had Williams received emergency treatment before he lost consciousness in the back of a squad car in 2011 “it is highly likely that he would not have died,” according to Trevonne Thompson, a physician who reviewed the case at the request of Williams’ family.

“Additionally, had Williams arrived at the emergency department alive, he would have most likely survived the emergency department visit,” according to Thompson’s report.

Here’s Blowin’ in the Wind, a single that was also part of Dylan’s 1963 album:

Daily Bread for 5.26.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a probability of rain in the afternoon. Sunrise is 5:21 AM and sunset 8:22 PM, for 15h 00m 38s of daytime. The moon is new with .7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1805, Corsican-born French dictator Napoleon has himself declared king of Italy. On this day in 1864, the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry participates in a skirmish at Lanes Prairie, Missouri.

Recommended for reading in full — 

The New York Times states the obvious, in an editorial entitled, President Trump Fails NATO:

What possesses him to treat America’s allies so badly? The NATO nations are mostly democracies with vibrant free markets that have helped America keep enemies at bay, including in Afghanistan. The question is made all the more pressing in view of Mr. Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of countless autocrats, among them Vladimir Putin of Russia and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, where he just paid a deferential visit and assured Sunni Arab leaders that “we are not here to lecture” despite their abominable records on human rights.

This perplexing dichotomy has been vividly captured in video and photographs — Mr. Trump laughing comfortably with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to Washington during a recent Oval Office meeting, while refusing to shake the hand of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany when she came to town. There was more of the same in Brussels, with Mr. Trump shoving aside the prime minister of Montenegro, which recently defied Russia to join NATO, on his way to a front row spot for a photograph.

Anna Nemtsova and Spencer Ackerman report that Ukrainians Say FBI Questioning Them About Manafort—At Last:

KIEV—The Ukrainian parliamentarian Mustafa Nayyem says the FBI has come to him at last, asking about Paul Manafort, who had a long record as a political operative serving pro-Russian figures here before he became the campaign manager for Donald Trump last year.

Nayyem and other Ukrainian officials say they are not only willing to cooperate with the FBI, they have been trying to do that for years, but only recently did American law enforcement show any interest….

“We are not dealing here with some ordinary man. This case requires a deep and global international investigation, it concerns our core values,” said Nayyem.

When we talked to Nayyem, he had just returned from his trip to Washington, where he says he felt a sense of déja vu walking from floor to floor of the State Department. He was surprised to see that most decisions were made in the White House now. “It reminded me of the vertical rule of the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine,” he said, and that felt ominous.

“I believe America will see many more consequences of Paul Manafort’s contamination: what he has first exercised in Russia and Ukraine and now planted in the USA. Americans should be careful— vertical power is quickly built, but it is hard to destroy.”

AJ Vicens writes that New Report Details What Dirty Tricks Russian Cyber Hackers Use to Spread Lies and Mayhem:

Citizen Lab, a Toronto-based human rights research group that focuses on cyber security and surveillance, issued a report Thursday offering a detailed look at what they call an “extensive Russia-linked phishing and disinformation campaign” that targeted journalists and others, many of whom could be seen as undermining Russian President Vladimir Putin, those close to him, or Russian geopolitical interests.

Entitled “Tainted Leaks,” the report traces the evolution of how stolen emails are altered and eventually used to disrupt political campaigns or dishonestly shape public opinion. In this case, the emails and other documents were stolen from the targets, modified in subtle but meaningful ways, published by pro-Russian hacktivists, and amplified by pro-Russian media in an attempt to discredit negative reporting about Putin and his inner circle. It showed how critical journalism was made to appear more subversive than it was by having locally-based stories appear to be the work of a CIA operation looking to foment revolution. Aimed at Russia’s domestic population, the disinformation campaign appears designed to distract from any anger or distrust that reporting about Putin’s and his associates’ corruption may have created.

Malachy Browne, Troy Griggs, Chris Cirillo, and Natalie Reneau investigate Did the Turkish President’s Security Detail Attack Protesters in Washington? What the Video Shows:

The New York Times reviewed videos and photos to track the actions of 24 men, including armed members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail, who attacked protesters in Washington last week. Many of the protesters were American citizens.

The men kicked people lying on the ground and put a woman in a chokehold just a mile from the White House. They outnumbered the protesters nearly two to one.

The State Department has condemned the episode, and some American lawmakers have called for the men to be prosecuted. But none have been charged with a crime. Here’s what video of the main actors shows about the identities of the men and the roles they played in the clash.

Alexandra Horowitz explains dogs’ different barks:

It’s What’s Inside That Truly Matters

 

For years, Whitewater has seen construction project after construction project: a new high school, remodeled buildings, a Bridge to Nowhere, a roundabout, an Innovation Center, a Starin Road extension, an East Gate project, etc.

 

And yet, and yet…it’s what’s inside that truly matters.

While many a formerly-fine church has come to ruin for its neglected teachings, still house churches of true devotion emerge across the planet.

Old Whitewater – a state of mind, not a person or chronological age – loves nothing so much as a big project & a big show.

For it all, shovels, construction helmets, ceremonies, contractors, architects, politicians, and photo opportunities will instruct not one student for even one day.

Update 2: See in the comments section below insightful comments from George Bailey and J, and my reply.

Daily Bread for 5.25.17

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with a high of seventy. Sunrise is 5:22 AM and sunset 8:21 PM, for 14h 59m 05s of daytime. The moon is new today, with just .1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets today at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1977, Star Wars opens. On this day in 1889, Wisconsin Gov. Oscar Rennebohm is born.

(The Star Wars trailer was so new at the time that it did not capture the setting as “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”)

Recommended for reading in full —

Karla Adam reports British outraged over alleged U.S. leaks in the Manchester bomb investigation:

LONDON — British indignation over alleged American leaks of investigative material related to the Manchester bombing will likely create a charged environment Thursday when British Prime Minister Theresa May meets later with President Trump.

May said Thursday morning she would “make clear” to Trump when they meet later in the day at a NATO summit in Brussels that “intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure.”

Leaks from the ongoing investigation — including the publication of crime-scene photos in the New York Times and the naming of the suspected bomber by U.S. broadcasters — have provoked ire from British officials.

Betsy Woodruff, Lachlan Markay, and Asawin Suebsaeng report Reince Priebus Sweating Secret Comey Memos, White House Sources Say:

Three White House officials told The Daily Beast that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has privately expressed worry about a possible Comey memo specifically involving one of their reported chats, and how it might play in the press and to investigators.

“Nervous laughter,” one official succinctly characterized Priebus’ demeanor in the midst of recent revelations.

In late February—long before Trump fired Comey over the “this Russia thing”—Priebus had reportedly already acted on the president’s behalf in trying to use the FBI to quash the Trump-Russia news.

According to CNN, Priebus asked Comey and his then-top deputy, Andrew McCabe, on Feb. 15 to refute news reports about conversations between Trump campaign staff and Russian government officials. Comey and McCabe reportedly refused. The White House denied the story at the time.

Matt Ford writes of The Known Unknowns of the Russia Investigation:

On Friday, CNN reported on similar Russian conversations held last summer about Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who spent two years as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency under the Obama administration. Those exchanges prompted a “five-alarm fire” within the American intelligence apparatus, according to an anonymous U.S. official quoted by CNN. The Times reported that the findings were then passed to the FBI, which opened a counterintelligence probe that eventually grew into the sprawling investigation that has consumed Trump’s nascent administration.

Many questions still remain about the inquiry’s origins. It’s not clear if the FBI and other agencies already had other curious information in their possession before learning about Russian officials’ conversations and deciding to launch the probe. Both outlets’ descriptions of the talks suggest a familiarity with Trump campaign staffers and a desire to sway them somehow. They also underscore the lopsided efforts to undermine last year’s presidential election, a plot that U.S. intelligence officials concluded in January was designed to hinder Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Dan Bice reports that Sheriff Clarke directed staff to hassle plane passenger after brief exchange:

Sitting on the tarmac at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Jan. 15, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. sent a text message to one of his captains after a brief verbal exchange with a passenger.

The sheriff explained in the text what should be done when Riverwest resident Dan Black got off the plane.

“Just a field interview, no arrest unless he become an asshole with your guys,” Clarke wrote Captain Mark Witek. “Question for him is why he said anything to me. Why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut?”

“Follow him to baggage and out the door,” Clarke continued. “You can escort me to carousel after I point him out.”

One man was fortunate to escape with only minor injuries after a bear charged him:

Daily Bread for 5.24.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of sixty-three. Sunrise is 5:23 AM and sunset 8:20 PM, for 14h 57m 29s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent today with 2.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opens for traffic. On this day in 1864, the 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 36th Wisconsin Infantry regiments participate in the Battle of North Anna, Virginia.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Michael Grynbaum and Daniel Victor report that Fox News Retracts Story Linking Murder of D.N.C. Aide to 2016 Presidential Campaign:

Fox News on Tuesday retracted a story linking the murder of a Democratic National Committee staff member with the email hacks that aided President Trump’s campaign, effectively quashing a conspiracy theory that had taken hold across the right-wing news media.

It was a rare acknowledgment of error by the network. But it also underscored a schism between the network’s news-gathering operation and one of its biggest stars: the conservative commentator Sean Hannity, who has unapologetically promoted the theory and remained defiant on Tuesday.

“These are questions that I have a moral obligation to ask,” Mr. Hannity said on his radio show, shortly after Fox News announced its mistake. “All you in the liberal media — I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com. I retracted nothing.”

(Hannity later said on his evening television program of 5.23.17 that “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”)

Jennifer Rubin poses Questions Fox and the right need to answer:

What is this “high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting”? Who is responsible for maintaining such high standards?

Does the alleged high scrutiny apply to Fox’s nighttime shows?

How did the story manage to slip by this exacting scrutiny?

How did it remain on the website and on Hannity’s show despite widespread calls to cease airing a debunked story?

Who, if anyone, is going to be held accountable for this?

Will Fox real-news cover the incident?

How did widespread coverage of birtherism slip by Fox’s “high degree of editorial scrutiny”?

Are evening shows’ coverage of the Russia scandal subjected to a “high degree of editorial scrutiny”?

Binyamin Applebaum  describes Trump’s Problematic Math: Budget Plan Adds Growth, but Doesn’t Subtract Cost:

When the government cuts taxes, it collects less money. That is the purpose of a tax cut. But Mr. Trump’s budget does not include any hint of a downturn in federal revenue. To the contrary, it projects that federal tax revenue will increase every year for the next decade.

The White House is indeed projecting faster economic growth as a consequence of tax cuts. What it is not doing is projecting the cost of those tax cuts, that is, the loss in tax revenue. It is the rough equivalent of trying to raise $10,000 for a project expected to produce $100,000 in revenue, and telling investors the profit will total $100,000. It won’t be, because you have to account for the cost.

Lawrence H. Summers, the Harvard economist who served in senior roles in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, writing for The Washington Post, declared it “the most egregious accounting error in a presidential budget in the nearly 40 years I have been tracking them.”

Matt Valazquez reports on John Hammond leaving Bucks to become [Orlando] Magic GM:

Hammond’s hiring came on the heels of Orlando’s announcement Tuesday morning that it had hired Weltman as its president of basketball operations, a position that Hammond also had applied for according to multiple reports. Weltman and Hammond worked together in Detroit for a year before Hammond took the GM job in Milwaukee in 2008 and brought Weltman with him as his assistant general manager. Weltman left for Toronto in 2013 and was promoted to the GM job there before last season.

Someone enjoyed a trip in a cycling jersey:

Daily Bread for 5.23.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy, with afternoon thunderstorms and a high of sixty-four. Sunrise is 5:23 AM and sunset 8:19 PM, for 14h 55m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 8.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

The City of Whitewater’s Finance Committee will meet at 5:30 PM today.

On this day in 1934, the crime spree of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow meets a violent end. On this day in 1854, the first railroad reaches Madison: “When the cars pulled into the depot, thousands of people gathered to witness the ceremonial arrival of the first train, and an enormous picnic was held on the Capitol grounds for all the passengers who’d made the seven-hour trip from Milwaukee to inaugurate the line.”

Recommended for reading in full —

Jonathan Chait writes that Trump’s Russia Scandal Is Becoming a Corruption Scandal:

Ominously for Trump, the Post reports that the FBI is “determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president.” While Kushner’s public persona differs wildly from that of the president in the functioning of his real-estate work, he is a kind of mini Trump. Inheriting an empire from his father, he has operated in gray areas of the world economy and positioned himself to gain handsomely from Trump’s election. Kushner has met with the head of a Russian bank functionally controlled by Vladimir Putin. He appears to be eager to use his proximity to Trump to make a buck; his family business is exploiting the familial connection to sell visas in China. Trump himself has a long, nontransparent history of business dealings with organs of the Russian state. (Last week, The Wall Street Journal dug up another case.)

….All this implies that the probe is scrutinizing the financial aspects of Trump’s business, which is a family operation. While some Trump advisers opposed the firing of Comey, Kushner reportedly advocated for it. That fact may seem strange if one thinks of Kushner as a voice of pragmatism. But it is easier to understand if you think of him as a figure sitting near the heart of a financial scandal, who harbors a strong interest in suppressing the investigation.

Jenny Luna reports that Trump Takes a Big Bite Out Of His Voters’ Food Stamps:

As the Associated Press reported, the budget is expected to include $193 billion in cuts over a decade to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps—25 percent of the program’s budget. About 44 million people benefit from food stamps in the US, especially poorer states in the Southeast. For example, one out of every five people in Louisiana receives food stamps in a given month, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Trump’s proposed cuts to food stamps will by and large hit his own voters the hardest. Louisiana voted overwhelmingly for Trump, as did its Southeast counterparts Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and Georgia. Out of the ten states with the highest food stamp-use by population, seven voted Republican in last year’s presidential election….

Catherine Rampell asks Want to know what Trumpcare would do to the country? Look at the implosion in Iowa:

As passed in the House, the American Health Care Act would let states get waivers allowing insurers to offer new plans that don’t meet Obamacare’s coverage or cost requirements. In other words, as in Iowa, Trumpcare would permit healthier and younger people to sort themselves into cheaper plans that cover little, and leave sicker and older people in more expensive plans. Which, as in Iowa, would probably cause markets to unravel.

This isn’t the only thing throwing Iowa’s individual markets out of whack. The state also has one very sick, very expensive enrollee on its Obamacare exchange — and the predicament this presents offers a further lesson for what we should expect from Trumpcare.

Richard Cohen contends that The definitive book about the Trump administration was written in 1951:

Back in 1951, Herman Wouk published the definitive book about the Trump administration. He set it in the 1940s, during the war in the Pacific, aboard a destroyer-minesweeper skippered by a paranoid man with a compulsion to blame others for his mistakes. The captain was named Philip Francis Queeg, his ship was called the USS Caine, and the novel was “The Caine Mutiny.” It won the Pulitzer Prize. It’s a dead certainty President Trump never read it.

But maybe he saw the movie , in which Humphrey Bogart plays Queeg, a performance that earned him an Oscar nomination, or the Broadway play, “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” — but none of that is likely, either. The character of Queeq would have been too close to home for him and the mutiny too terrible to contemplate….

Those who live in states with lots of deer know that their collisions with vehicles can be devastating:

The National Increase in Reported Campus Sexual Assaults

The latest federal study on crime and safety in schools (at all levels), Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016, is now available from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education in the United States and other nations.” A portion of the report concerns sexual assaults on campus (beginning on page 121), and in tables after the narrative. I’ve embedded the full document, below.

The report (pg. 122) makes plain the large national increase in reported campus sexual assaults:

The number of reported forcible sex crimes on campus increased from 2,200 in 2001 to 6,700 in 2014 (a 205 percent increase).

Focusing on more recent data years, the number of reported forcible sex crimes increased by 34 percent between 2013 and 2014 (from 5,000 to 6,700). It should be noted that data on reported forcible sex offenses were collected differently in 2014 than in prior years. In 2014, schools were asked to report the numbers of two different types of forcible sex offenses, rape and fondling, and these were added together to reach the total number of reported forcible sex offenses. In years prior to 2014, schools only reported a total number of reported forcible sex offenses, with no breakouts for specific types of offenses. About 4,400 rapes and 2,300 fondling incidents were reported in 2014.

(Writing about the reported increase in the Daily Beast, Lizzie Crocker (who has reported previously on campus sexual assault) considers a few points: (1) numbers may be higher now because campus assaults are more frequently reported, (2) the federal data do not, necessarily, “confirm the campus rape epidemic narrative perpetuated by high profile cases like that of convicted rapist Brock Turner and Alec Cook, who was recently expelled from the University of Wisconsin after being charged with sexually assaulting multiple women,” but (3) “[b]ecause sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, some advocates say that these figures likely underestimate the prevalence of sexual assault on campus.” Crocker’s article also mentions recent, relevant studies on the matter and the claims derived from them.)

Download (PDF, 4.47MB)

Film: Tuesday, May 23rd, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park: Hidden Figures

This Tuesday, May 23rd at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of Hidden Figures @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin community building.

Hidden Figures (2016) is the true story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who were vital contributors to the early America space program. Theodore Melfi directs the two hour, seven minute film, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe. Hidden Figures received three 2017 Academy Award nominations (Best Motion Picture, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Octavia Spencer, and Best Adapted Screenplay by Allison Schroeder & Theodore Melfi). The film carries a PG rating from the MPAA.

One can find more information about Hidden Figures at the Internet Movie Database.

Enjoy.

Daily Bread for 5.22.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be increasingly cloudy, with an even chance of afternoon thundershowers, and a high of seventy-two. Sunrise is 5:24 AM and sunset 8:18 PM, for 14h 54m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 16.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM today. At 5 PM, a local private group has scheduled a rally to garner support for preserving the building at 507 W. Main Street. Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6 PM for a community forum on the construction of a new library. (There’s a possible relationship between the private action’s preservation goal and library construction, although one would need to know more about construction options before having confidence whether one might affect the other. There’s time enough to hear patiently the arguments involved.)

Whitewater’s School Board meets tonight, with an open session beginning at approximately 7 PM.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is born this day in 1859. On this day in 1968, the Milwaukee Bucks get their name: “On this date “Milwaukee Bucks” was selected as the franchise name after 14,000 fans participated in a team-naming contest. 45 people suggested the name, one of whom, R.D. Trebilcox, won a car for his efforts.”

Recommended for reading in full —

Jennifer Rubin describes Trump’s un-American speech in Saudi Arabia:

At times Trump’s language was cringe-worthy. It is all well and good to explain we have shared “interests” — with regard to fighting Iran and the Islamic State, most clearly. To say we have shared “values” with Saudi Arabia, however, is daft, and shows how deficient is Trump’s understanding of American values and their role in American foreign policy. In so starkly diminishing the importance of human rights, he foolishly sacrificed our moral authority and risked repeating his predecessor’s foolish, unqualified support of Middle Eastern dictators.

When after the speech Trump attempted to scold Iran for its human rights policy, the flaw in this approach was evident. For both Iran and Saudi Arabia, we are not “tell[ing] other people how to live” but standing up for universal human rights. We are not “lectur[ing]” but extolling the importance of recognizing human dignity. And we give a flawed message that modernization and full inclusion in the community of nations are possible without basic rights for women, religious minorities, et al.

One tool, a critical one, the United States has against repressive regimes such as Russia, China, Iran and Cuba, is that we can undermine their legitimacy by appealing to universal values and exposing their cruelty, corruption and repression. We give hope to the oppressed and whittle away at despots’ grip on power by excoriating them for human rights abuses. When, however, we not only ignore but also give unqualified praise to autocratic allies, we leave ourselves open to charges of gross hypocrisy.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty explains how Baltic Elves Fight Kremlin Trolls:

Dave Weigel observes that The Seth Rich conspiracy shows how fake news still works:

On July 10, at 4:19 a.m., gunfire was detected in the District’s Bloomingdale neighborhood. Not five minutes later, police found Seth Rich, a 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer, lying on the ground, dying from a bullet wound to his back. A conscious Rich was transported to the hospital; by daybreak, he was dead.

Nearly one year later, Rich’s death remains one of America’s thousands of unsolved murders — and the focus of endless conspiracy theories, spread this past week by Fox News, alt-right social media, a local D.C. news station and the Russian embassy in Britain. The reemergence of the conspiracy theory this week, which did not lack for real news, revealed plenty about the fake news ecosystem (or to use BuzzFeed’s useful phrase, “the upside-down media”) in the Trump era. It also happened to cause untold pain for the Rich family, which has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the so-called private investigator who led this dive back into the fever swamp.

[Family of slain DNC staffer fights back against conspiracy theories with cease-and-desist letter]

Here’s what we learned….

Bill Vlasic reports that Ford Motor Is Replacing Mark Fields as C.E.O.:

Jim Hackett, who oversees the Ford subsidiary that works on autonomous vehicles, will take the reins from Mr. Fields. Ford plans to make an announcement on Monday morning, the officials said.

During Mr. Fields’s three-year tenure — a period when Ford’s shares dropped 40 percent — he came under fire from investors and Ford’s board for failing to expand the company’s core auto business and for lagging in developing the high-tech cars of the future.

The change came less than two weeks after Mr. Fields was sharply criticized during the company’s annual shareholders meeting for Ford’s deteriorating financial results.

Science Magazine reports that Bees have more brains than we bargained for:

Daily Bread for 5.21.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of sixty. Sunrise is 5:25 AM and sunset 8:17 PM, for 14h 52m 21s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 25% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1673, Marquette and Joliet reach the Menominee:

On or about May 21, 1673, Fr. Jacques Marquette, fur-trader Louis Joliet, and five French voyageurs pulled into a Menominee community near modern Marinette, Mich. Marquette wrote that when the Menominee learned that he and Joliet intended to try to descend the Mississippi River all the way to the sea, “They were greatly surprised to hear it, and did their best to dissuade me. They represented to me that I should meet nations who never show mercy to strangers, but break their heads without any cause; and that war was kindled between various peoples who dwelt upon our route, which exposed us to the further manifest danger of being killed by the bands of warriors who are ever in the field.

They also said that the great river was very dangerous, when one does not know the difficult places; that it was full of horrible monsters, which devoured men and canoes together; that there was even a demon, who was heard from a great distance, who barred the way, and swallowed up all who ventured to approach him; finally that the heat was so excessive in those countries that it would inevitably cause our death.”

Recommended for reading in full —

Andrew Kaczynski, Christopher Massie and Nathan McDermott contend that Sheriff David Clarke plagiarized portions of his master’s thesis on homeland security:

Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who this week announced he will be joining Donald Trump’s administration as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, plagiarized sections of his 2013 master’s thesis on US security, a CNN KFile review has found.

Clarke, a visible surrogate for Trump during the campaign known for his incendiary rhetoric, earned a master’s degree in security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In his thesis, “Making U.S. security and privacy rights compatible,” Clarke failed to properly attribute his sources at least 47 times.

In all instances reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Clarke lifts language from sources and credits them with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim.

According to guidelines on plagiarism posted on the Naval Postgraduate School’s website, “If a passage is quoted verbatim, it must be set off with quotation marks (or, if it is a longer passage, presented as indented text), and followed by a properly formulated citation. The length of the phrase does not matter. If someone else’s words are sufficiently significant to be worth quoting, then accurate quotation followed by a correct citation is essential, even if only a few words are involved.”

See, also, from RightWisconsin, What’s Up With Sheriff Clarke’s Bizarre Uniform? (A closer look at all those fake medals):

Along with the cowboy hat, Sheriff David Clarke’s uniform — loaded with bling — has been a reliable prop for his media career. But Army veteran Charles Clymer took a close look at all of the hardware on Clarke’s chest… and wasn’t impressed.

His tweet storm went viral: (LANGUAGE WARNING)….

(I’ve included parts of Charles Clymer’s full tweet thread. He’s an American military veteran with respect for our country’s long-established service uniform protocols.)

Craig Gilbert reports that As chaos mounts, House Speaker Paul Ryan tries to power through the Trump turmoil:

“He’s walking on an ice rink and trying to stay upright,” said the speaker’s former GOP colleague, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin.

No politician other than the president has seen his poll ratings decline more than Ryan’s amid the upheaval of the Trump presidency. Arguably, no one’s task has been more complicated by Trump’s turmoil.

“There are more and more minefields coming up for Ryan, compounded by the dragging down of the Republican brand,” said congressional scholar Sarah Binder of George Washington University.

David Weigel explains that The Seth Rich conspiracy shows how fake news still works:

On July 10, at 4:19 a.m., gunfire was detected in the District’s Bloomingdale neighborhood. Not five minutes later, police found Seth Rich, a 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer, lying on the ground, dying from a bullet wound to his back. A conscious Rich was transported to the hospital; by daybreak, he was dead.

Nearly one year later, Rich’s death remains one of America’s thousands of unsolved murders — and the focus of endless conspiracy theories, spread this past week by Fox News, alt-right social media, a local D.C. news station and the Russian embassy in Britain. The reemergence of the conspiracy theory this week, which did not lack for real news, revealed plenty about the fake news ecosystem (or to use BuzzFeed’s useful phrase, “the upside-down media”) in the Trump era. It also happened to cause untold pain for the Rich family, which has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the so-called private investigator who led this dive back into the fever swamp…

Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward report that At the Pentagon, overpriced fuel sparks allegations — and denials — of a slush fund:

The Pentagon has generated almost $6 billion over the past seven years by charging the armed forces excessive prices for fuel and has used the money — called the “bishop’s fund” by some critics — to bolster mismanaged or underfunded military programs, documents show.

Since 2015, the Defense Department has tapped surpluses from its fuel accounts for $80 million to train Syrian rebels, $450 million to shore up a prescription-drug program riddled with fraud and $1.4 billion to cover unanticipated expenses from the war in Afghanistan, according to military accounting records.

The Pentagon has amassed the extra cash by billing the armed forces for fuel at rates often much higher — sometimes $1 per gallon or more — than what commercial airlines paid for jet fuel on the open market.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty explains How to change a country’s alphabet — and how not to:


Daily Bread for 5.20.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of fifty-nine. Sunrise is 5:26 AM and sunset 8:16 PM, for 14h 50m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 35% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1961, 400 U.S. Marshals Sent to Alabama as Montgomery Bus Riots Hurt 20; [the] President Bids State Keep Order: “Washington, May 20 — The Federal Government dispatched 400 marshals and other armed officers to Alabama tonight to restore order in areas that were torn by racial violence. The Government acted after a mob of white persons attacked a racially mixed group of bus riders in Montgomery, Ala. The disorders lasted two hours. At least twenty of the riders were beaten. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy announced the Federal action in a telegram to Alabama officials.” On this day in 1863, Union Forces Regroup at Vicksburg, Mississippi: “The 1st Wisconsin Light Artillery and the 8th, 11th, 18th and 23rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments joined the 14th and 17th Infantries to prepare for the next attack. While these arrangements were taking place at Vicksburg, the 4th Wisconsin Infantry fought in a skirmish in Cheneyville, Lousiana.”

Recommended for reading in full —

Janell Ross explains ‘They were not patriots’: New Orleans removes monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee:

Mayor Mitch Landrieu marked the historic moment with a rousing speech that sought to end nearly two years of heated debate in the city over what the monuments said about its past.

“They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for,” Landrieu said, adding that Lee and the Confederate army fought against the United States. “They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.”

(Exactly right: the Confederacy was an organized expression of racism and treason. Neo-Confederates have any number of false justifications for their views, but they are, in fact, the closest homegrown movement America has to Holocaust denial. They all regurgiate variations of the RedeemersLost Cause‘ lies and rationalizations for slavery. Some are practiced at it, but even the best of them are among the worst of our society.)

Karoun Demirjian reports that Former FBI director Comey to testify publicly:

Former FBI director James B. Comey will testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee at a date to be set after Memorial Day, committee leaders announced Friday night.

The public commitment to testify comes after a tumultuous week and a half since President Trump dismissed Comey — a move that perplexed committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), who vowed to bring Comey before the committee nonetheless to testify as part of their probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, including potential ties between the Trump campaign and Kremlin officials.

(This assumes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not request that Comey refrain from public comment during this part of Mueller’s investigation.)

Connon Friedersdorf describes The World’s Worst Negotiation:

“The conversation [Trump in Oval office with Russian FM and Ambassador], during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that Mr. Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives,” the Times wrote. And that’s right. That it leaked clearly hurts the White House.

If I see that it hurts them, and you see it, and TheNew York Times saw it? Then so did the Russians. The highest-ranking Russian diplomats in the United States are not idiots. They are savvy. And while it appears they weren’t the ones who leaked the story, that means Trump gave the Russians information they could have used to weaken him.

And he did so without even realizing it.

That is unnerving, because it suggests that even if Trump is innocent of Russia ties and obstruction of justice—and he may be!—he cannot hold his own in a low-pressure meeting, on his own turf. He wasn’t even pressured in a clever bid to extract information; Trump’s words here were self-sabotage, a totally unforced error.

(Even under the most charitable interpretation – and I do not believe the most chartible view is an accurate one – Trump’s in over his head.)

Evan Perez reports that, to defend Trump from all possibilities, White House lawyers research impeachment:

Washington (CNN) White House lawyers have begun researching impeachment procedures in an effort to prepare for what officials still believe is a distant possibility that President Donald Trump could have to fend off attempts to remove him from office, two people briefed on the discussions tell CNN.

White House officials believe the President has the backing of Republican allies in Congress and that impeachment is not in the cards, according to the people briefed on the legal discussions. Even Democrats have tried to calm impeachment talk out of concern it is premature.

But lawyers in the White House counsel’s office have consulted experts in impeachment during the past week and have begun collecting information on how such proceedings would work, a person briefed on the matter told CNN.

SpotMini, Boston Dynamics’ dog-like robot is versatile:

Daily Bread for 5.19.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with occasional afternoon showers, and a high of fifty-two. Sunrise is 5:27 AM and sunset 8:15 AM, for 14h 48m 42s of daytime. The moon is in its last quarter, with 45% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1675, noted explorer Fr. Jacques Marquette passes: “After the famous voyage down the Mississippi that he made in 1673 with Louis Joliet, Marquette vowed to return to the Indians he’d met in Illinois. He became ill during that visit in the spring of 1675 and was en route to Canada when he passed away. His diary of the trip is online in our [Wisconsin Historical Society] American Journeys collection.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous report that Comey prepared extensively for his conversations with Trump:

FBI Director James B. Comey prepared extensively for his discussions with President Trump, out of concern that the president was unlikely to respect the legal and ethical boundaries governing their respective roles, according to associates of the now-fired FBI chief.

The associates recounted how worried Comey was about meeting with Trump and recalled conversations in which they brainstormed how to handle moments in which the president asked for details of an investigation.

One associate referred to Comey’s preparation as a kind of “murder board” — a phrase used to describe a committee of questioners that hurls tough questions at someone as practice for a difficult oral examination.

(One prepares this way if one is uncomfortable, but also if one wants to build a case.)

Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Mark Mazzetti report that Trump Ally Was Once a Target of Russian Spies:

The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia. He claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match with the current Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the 1990s. He is one of President Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill….

But the F.B.I. has taken seriously the possibility that Russian spies would target American politicians. In a secure room at the Capitol, an F.B.I. agent told Mr. Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him as an “agent of influence” — someone the Russian government might be able to use to steer Washington policy-making, former officials said.

Mr. Rohrabacher said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the meeting had focused on his contact with one member of the Russian Foreign Ministry, whom he recalled meeting on a trip to Moscow. “They were telling me he had something to do with some kind of Russian intelligence,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. He recalled the F.B.I. agent saying that Moscow “looked at me as someone who could be influenced.”

(Imagine ‘prospect for Putin’ as one’s reputation. Better to be nothing than to descend so low.)

Brandon Patterson reports that The Feds Had Been Moving Away From Mass Incarceration For Years. Then Jeff Sessions Came Along:

Bipartisan support for shifting away from mandatory minimums has grown in recent years, as research has shown that incarceration does little to improve public safety and has had a disparate impact on communities of color—and as lawmakers have decided that running prisons costs too much.

Sen. Rand Paul said mandatory minimums have a racially disparate impact, and that Sessions’ policy shift would “accentuate” that “injustice.”

On Tuesday, in response to Sessions’ policy announcement, Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy proposed legislation more in line with Holder’s approach: It would allow judges to tailor sentences on a case-by-case basis, regardless of whether a mandatory minimum sentence applies. Paul said these minimums have a racially disparate impact, and that Sessions’ policy shift would “accentuate” that “injustice.” He also said his bill would save the DOJ money—the department currently spends nearly a third of its budget on corrections. A group of House members plan to introduce similar legislation.

Megan Garber describes Roger Ailes’s (Other) Legacy:

Karem Alsina, a makeup artist formerly employed by Fox News, recently shared a memory of her time at the network with New YorkMagazine’s Gabriel Sherman. The women anchors of Fox, Alsina recalled, would sometimes come to see her before they went to private meetings with Roger Ailes—the man who, until last year, was Fox’s chairman and CEO. “They would say, ‘I’m going to see Roger, gotta look beautiful!’” Alsina recalled. She also recalled this: “One of them came back down after a meeting, and the makeup on her nose and chin was gone.”

Ailes has another legacy, though, and it’s the one Karem Alsina suggested when she recalled her time preparing the women to meet with their boss: Ailes’s alleged pattern of sexual harassment—and, you could also argue, psychological manipulation—of his employees. He was accused of it by more than two dozen women, some anonymous, some named, some through lawsuits, some through testimony to the media. The allegations included not just direct harassment, but also surveillance, smear campaigns, hush money, and a general culture of misogyny at the network that claimed to be the only source of “fair & balanced” news in a nation rife with liberalism. Ailes vehemently denied the allegations. But there were so many women. They had so many stories—all unique, yet all troublingly similar. In July of 2016, under pressure from Rupert Murdoch and, more notably, Murdoch’s sons, Ailes resigned. He received $40 million from Fox as part of his exit agreement.

Anna Rubincam creates portraits as A Continuous Shape:

A Continuous Shape from Eyes & Ears on Vimeo.