Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-six. Sunrise is 7:16 AM and sunset 6:01 PM, for 10h 45m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 3.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred forty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
On this day in 1797, the USS Constitution, later nicknamed Old Ironsides, is launched in Boston Harbor, “Captain James Sever breaking a bottle of Madeira wine on her bowsprit.” On this day in 1897, the Yerkes Observatory is dedicated: “Founded by astronomer George Hale and located in Williams Bay, the Yerkes Observatory houses the world’s largest refracting optical telescope, with a lens of diameter 102 cm/40 inches. It was built through the largess of the tycoon Charles Tyson Yerkes, who rebuilt important parts of the Chicago transportation system after the fire. Situated in a 77-acre park on the shore of Lake Geneva, this observatory was the center for world astronomy in the early 20th century and invited a number of astronomers from around the world, including Japan, for scientific exchange. [Source: Yerkes Observatory Virtual Museum]”
Recommended for reading in full —
Andrew Kramer reports In Russia, a Bribery Case Lifts the Veil on Kremlin Intrigue:
MOSCOW — The Russian elite, the group of oligarchs and other loyalists around President Vladimir V. Putin who amassed great wealth over nearly two decades of hand-in-glove work with the government, is showing signs of cracking.
As the economy stagnates amid international sanctions and low oil prices, a high-profile bribery case has illustrated how the country’s most privileged players have taken to fighting over slices of a smaller economic pie, seeking an advantage over rivals through the courts and law enforcement officials who are widely seen as vulnerable to corruption.
In recordings read aloud by prosecutors in a case being heard in a Moscow courtroom, two men, both Kremlin insiders, are first heard in an assiduously polite conversation recorded by secret listening devices, even as one was preparing to doom the other to a long spell in prison….
There’s no honor among thieves, but Kramer notes something else, that some thieves are less insightful than others:
In the transcripts, published by MediaZona, a Russian news portal, Mr. Sechin appears to know that his nemesis will soon be arrested and vanish into the penal colonies, and seems to toy with him on pivotal issues that have divided the economic policy elite in Russia for years.
He discusses the success of Rosneft in terms of volumes of oil produced, falling back on a Soviet-era fascination with tons of production, whether steel, coal or oil, regardless of its market value.
Mr. Ulyukayev interjects that investors, who can buy shares in Rosneft on the London Stock Exchange, value the company at only a fraction of other oil companies.
“The asset is worth exactly half as much as comparable” companies, he says. In short, Russia’s most important company is not a market success.
Mr. Sechin brushes aside this objection, and then notes the gifts he has prepared. “Take the basket,” Mr. Sechin says, adding, “That’s all, good luck and thank you very much”….
(Although some Russians have grown so rich as to become oligrachs, the fundamental characteristics of a truly productive, and so propsperous, socilety are missng. Some still think in crude quanitative messaures rather than qualititativelu as a matter of relatively productivity, relative market value. Sechin thinks no more insightfully than a Soviet planner.)
Alexis Madrigal interviews U.S. Senator Mark Warner in Facebook’s Evidence of Russian Electoral Meddling Is Only ‘the Tip of the Iceberg’:
Alexis Madrigal: So, as of today, what do we know about the Russian disinformation campaign on Facebook and other social-media platforms?
Mark Warner: First of all, let’s step back and put the Russian involvement in 2016 in the overall context. It was approved at the highest level. It was coordinated in ways that were unprecedented. It included the things that have been much reported on, like hacking into both political parties and releasing information harmful to one candidate, Clinton, and helpful to Trump.
We know that Russians and even Trump’s Department of Homeland Security have acknowledged that 21 states had their electoral systems probed, if not fully hacked into. We know that this is part of a pattern that has been going on and continues after the election. And it included interventions in the French election, where Facebook was much more active.
I think our government and the platform companies were more than a little bit caught off guard. I don’t think anyone had seen anything of this scale before….
Madrigal: In your mind, what are the key outstanding questions?Warner: All these companies need to come fully clean about what happened in 2016. Don’t tell me they found 450 accounts linked to the American election when they found 50,000 in France. And don’t tell me they found all the ads.
The first pass from Twitter was worse. They took only things that were derivative of what Facebook found. And they found some stuff. But I said, you have to go back and dig in. So, we need to figure out, number one, what happened in 2016.
While I’m trying to not get into the whole editorial-content argument, this notion that we can’t curate at all just doesn’t hold water. They’ve had to do it every time there has been something that has created consequences. Child pornography for example, or terrorist activity, or information on how to create bombs.
A lot of that was forced by the European governments. Areas reach a tipping point, the [platform companies] step in and act. They have to, if you don’t want over-the-top regulation, or worse yet, we allow this to continue and we have some massive upheaval or loss of faith in the democratic process. Because people see how bad this was with relatively small amounts of dollars spent….
It was September 1st, 2016. Time to start thinking in earnest about the new school year. Part of that routine that was new involved signing up on Twitter to follow the kid’s bus route delays, specific school events in real time, etc. This would be my first foray ever into social media, and I was really hesitant. But, to make life practical and more convenient for our family, I took the plunge and set up my Twitter account….
Without realizing it, I became an accidental activist. I was sending emails, signing petitions, making phone calls every day and suddenly very passionate about politics. Like many Americans, it’s become part of my daily routine: Have coffee, sign/send petitions, make phone calls- #Resist….
Now that the big, showy displays of massive protest are over, the bulk of the Resistance work involves joining forces online, taking action daily through PAC’s like “The Loyal Opposition” or “Demo Coalition”. These calls to resistance organize masses of followers into the equivalent of a national PTA phone tree, overpowering social media and sending congressional staffers scurrying.
Great Big Story explains How Mario Got His Mustache (and His Name!):