Daily Bread for 4.22.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of sixty-four. Sunrise is 6 AM and sunset 7:46 PM, for 13h 45m 55s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 30% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred sixty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in in 1889, approximately 50,000 people take part in the Oklahoma Land Rush. On this day in 1970, the first Earth Day is celebrated, with Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson having been among those advocating for a dedicated day for conservation issues.

Recommended for reading in full —

Sebastian Rotella reports that Russia is engaged in a full-scale shadow war in Europe: “American politics was jolted when 17 intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russia had covertly intervened in the 2016 presidential campaign with the aim of electing Donald Trump. Such activity is nothing new in Europe, where Russia has launched a series of clandestine and open efforts to sway governments and exert influence, according to European and U.S. national security officials, diplomats, academics and other experts interviewed by ProPublica in recent weeks. “The Russians have had an aggressive espionage presence here for a long time,” a senior French intelligence official said. “The Russians now have more spies, more clandestine operations, in France than they did in the Cold War.” European and U.S. security officials say Russian tactics run the gamut from attempted regime change to sophisticated cyber-espionage.”

Aurelien Breeden offers a Guide to the French Vote (and How It Relates to ‘Brexit’ and Trump): “French voters will go to the polls on Sunday for the first round of presidential elections. In the wake of electoral upheavals around the world, including the victory of Donald J. Trump and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, the vote is one of several in Europe being closely watched worldwide….”

Damian Paletta reports that Trump’s ‘Big announcement’ on tax reform unlikely to reveal details, official says: “The White House will release on Wednesday the “broad principles and priorities” of their plans to overhaul federal taxes, a White House official said Friday night, downplaying expectations that the Trump administration would reveal key details underpinning the plan. President Trump said earlier Friday that he would release new information about his plan to overhaul the tax code on Wednesday, a sign that he is trying to accelerate one of his most ambitious campaign promises even though key specifics remain undetermined. “We’ll be having a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform,” Trump said Friday while visiting the Treasury Department. “The process has begun long ago but it really formally begins on Wednesday.”

Brian Fung explains Why Verizon is losing more cellphone customers than ever: “…aggressive moves by smaller carriers to build out their networks are paying off, said Roger Entner, an industry analyst with Recon Analytics, meaning that such companies as T-Mobile are chipping away at Verizon’s network advantage. In a recent federal auction of wireless airwaves, T-Mobile emerged as a major beneficiary, spending $8 billion to acquire rights to radio spectrum it will use to expand its mobile Internet capacity. “At least three of the four nationwide carriers [are] inching closer to network parity in the major markets,” Entner said. In addition, fewer customers are choosing to leave the smaller carriers for Verizon or AT&T, Entner said. This is important because in a market such as the United States, there aren’t many new customers left; most people already have cell service, and as a result, carriers have been forced to engage in costly price wars to poach subscribers from one another.”

Jason Drakeford, Dennis Overbye, and Jonathan Corum describe Dark Oceans: Surveying Saturn’s Moons:

Daily Bread for 4.21.17

Good morning.

Friday win Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of fifty-nine. Sunrise is 6:01 AM and sunset 7:44 PM, for 13h 43m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 27.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred sixty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Today is the anniversary of the legendary date on which Rome was founded (April 21, 753 B.C.). Conservationist John Muir is born on this day in 1838.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Tim Cato writes that the Bucks annihilated the Raptors in Game 3 and it showed a glimpse of their future: “The Milwaukee Bucks stole Game 1, and they nearly did the same in Game 2. They’ll live with the small consolation prize that is Game 3. It was a thorough, brutal beatdown of the Toronto Raptors as the series shifted back to Wisconsin, starting the moment the game began and never letting up for a second. The 104-77 win puts Milwaukee up two games to one, with another game at home coming up. It’s too soon to count out Toronto, because we’ve seen them power through ugly series and inexplicably win them. But right now, it looks like the Raptors are headed for a couple more games, and then a quick extinction. They could easily be down 3-0, and they would need a lot going right to get the turnaround they desire. We’ll have a long talk about Toronto if they do indeed lose. Right now, this is about Milwaukee, and how the Bucks have maybe come together to play incredible basketball….The Bucks have made a clear statement that they should be feared. Even if they somehow seize up and fall apart in a series loss, something nobody is predicting at this point, consider how damn young they are. We see teams rise and fall out of the Eastern Conference constantly — remember how the Knicks were good for a season, and only that? Remember the Indiana dynasties that fell obsolete so, so quickly? Now, Milwaukee might be doing the same thing to Toronto, who has run in the top of the East for a few seasons now. The Bucks, unlike any of those teams mentioned before, are built to last long into the future.”

Michael Wines writes of a ‘Pivotal Moment’ for Democrats? Gerrymandering Heads to Supreme Court: “A bipartisan group of voting rights advocates says the lower house of the Wisconsin Legislature, the State Assembly, was gerrymandered by its Republican majority before the 2012 election — so artfully, in fact, that Democrats won a third fewer Assembly seats than Republicans despite prevailing in the popular vote. In November, in a 2-to-1 ruling, a panel of federal judges agreed. Now the Wisconsin case is headed to a Supreme Court that has repeatedly said that extreme partisan gerrymanders are unconstitutional, but has never found a way to decide which ones cross the line. Some legal scholars believe this could be the year that changes that. If that happens, they say, an emphatic ruling against partisan gerrymanders would rank with another redistricting decision: Baker v. Carr, the historic 1962 case that led to the principle of one person, one vote.”

Charlie Savage writes that Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as ‘an Island in the Pacific’: “WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the State of Hawaii while criticizing a Federal District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world. “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Mr. Sessions said this week in an interview on “The Mark Levin Show,” a conservative talk radio program….“Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences — including my own,” Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, wrote on Twitter. “Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous.” The other senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz, who is also a Democrat, expressed similar sentiments, writing on Twitter: “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect.”

Jeremy Venook explains The Product-Placement Presidency: “Nevertheless, Ivanka’s quest to legally protect her own name is yet another demonstration of the ethical ambiguities that arise from a powerful businessman in the White House, staffed by members of his family. Quite often, the line between the Trump brand and the Trump administration is not a clear one. Famous (and profitable) as the family’s names were before Donald became president—there’s speculation that the name is the Trump Organization’s most valuable asset—Trump’s ascension to arguably the highest office on earth, and his subsequent decision to bring his daughter into the White House, have drastically increased their visibility. This fact has not escaped them. Speaking to The New York Times in March, Eric Trump said he believes “the stars have all aligned” to make their brand “the hottest it has ever been”—although he didn’t go so far as to explicitly acknowledge the role his father’s presidency may be playing in that heat. Likewise, the Trump Organization’s decision to double the initiation fee at Mar-a-Lago in January has been read by many critics as an implicit acknowledgement that Trump’s brand is more valuable now that he’s in the Oval Office.”

Why do we have grass lawns? Here’s why —

Daily Bread for 4.20.17

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with isolated thunderstorms and a high of sixty-three. Sunrise is 6:03 AM and sunset 7:43 PM, for 13h 40m 34s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 39.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred sixty-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1861, Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army. On this day in 1836, an act of Congress creates the Territory of Wisconsin.

Recommended for reading in full — 

James B. Nelson reports that Milwaukee makes Conde Nast list of ‘6 U.S. Cities to Watch’: “Milwaukee made the Conde Nast Traveler list of “6 U.S. Cities to Watch in 2017,” thanks to its vibrant restaurant scene and “endless party” during the summer. The magazine compares Milwaukee favorably to Chicago, Minneapolis and Madison and says “Milwaukee has many, if not all, of the same qualities that make these sister cities buzz — and then some.” Conde Nast said the city is a “hotbed of locavore cuisine, and a spate of award-winning restaurants have helped the city shed its beer-and-cheese reputation.” The magazine cited Ardent, Wolf Peach, Odd Duck and Vanguard as examples — all on the Journal Sentinel’s Carol Deptolla’s Top 30 or Top Eats restaurant lists. Also cited are new hotels, including the Kimpton in the Historic Third Ward and the Westin coming later this spring downtown.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee fact-checks Trump’s claim that Korea ‘actually used to be a part of China’: “He then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years . . . and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes, I realized that it’s not so easy.” — President Trump, interview with the Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2017….If Trump was actually referring to the tributary system between Korea and China, then he left out a significant amount of context that distorted the relationship between them. Korea and China have long been intertwined, geopolitically and culturally. But Korea, or even Goguryeo, was not a spinoff of China, as he made it seem. Korea has its own unique roots and history. It would be worthwhile for the president to get his history lesson from Korean experts, perhaps at the State Department, rather than potentially self-serving accounts from foreign leaders.”

Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti, and Adam Goldman report that Trump Adviser’s Visit to Moscow Got the F.B.I.’s Attention: “WASHINGTON — Ever since F.B.I. investigators discovered in 2013 that a Russian spy was trying to recruit an American businessman named Carter Page, the bureau maintained an occasional interest in Mr. Page. So when he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau’s attention. That trip last July was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials. It is unclear exactly what about Mr. Page’s visit drew the F.B.I.’s interest: meetings he had during his three days in Moscow, intercepted communications of Russian officials speaking about him, or something else. After Mr. Page, 45 — a Navy veteran and businessman who had lived in Moscow for three years — stepped down from the Trump campaign in September, the F.B.I. obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing the authorities to monitor his communications on the suspicion that he was a Russian agent.”

Casey Michel describes how Putin Woos the American Fringe: “Where the American far-right and hard-left carry distinct, disparate views on any range of subjects, there appears one area where they align: Russia’s apparent victimhood at the hands of a malignant West, and the righteousness of Moscow’s complaints about American encroachment. These talking points – of Russia’s putative “encirclement,” or of the West’s supposed degeneracy in the face of Moscow’s moral rectitude – are close echoes of Russian state news channels, especially Sputnik and RT (formerly Russia Today). These channels are notable for mixing slanted reportage and misdirection with more creditworthy reporting, an effective propaganda technique designed to sow doubt and confusion. These same figures of the American fringe — whether Green Party activists, white nationalists, or California secessionists — often subsequently show up on these channels. At times, this creates scenes of startling irony, such as when the state news channel from one of the least environmentally friendly countries in the world hosted the Green Party’s 2016 presidential debate. Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a trusty font of Russia-friendly talking points, even appeared next to both Putin and (now-disgraced) Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at the Dec. 2015 gala honoring RT.”

Tech Insider describes how the 300-year-old Silms river in Canada vanished in 4 days:

Daily Bread for 4.19.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be partly cloudy, with afternoon thunderstorms, and a high of sixty-four. Sunrise is 6:04 AM and sunset 7:42 PM, for 13h 37m 52s of daytime. The moon is in its third quarter with 49.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred sixty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord begin the first military engagements of the Revolutionary War. On this day in 1862, Wisconsin Governor Louis Harvey dies while leading an expedition to relieve Wisconsin troops after the battle of Shiloh. The expedition was bringing “doctors, nurses, and much-needed medical supplies to soldiers when Harvey, crossing from one steamboat to another, slipped, fell into the swift currents of the Tennessee River, and never re-surfaced.”

Brian Stelter reports that Source: Fox News and Bill O’Reilly are talking exit: “A well-placed source said Tuesday afternoon that representatives for Fox and O’Reilly have begun talking about an exit. But this prompted a denial from sources in O’Reilly’s camp. Even one person close to O’Reilly, however, said he will probably not be back on “The O’Reilly Factor.” The original well-placed source said an announcement about O’Reilly’s fate was likely by the end of the week. The fact that none of these sources were willing to go on the record speaks to the delicate maneuvering underway. The network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox (FOX), will hold a board meeting on Thursday, a spokeswoman told CNNMoney. One of the sources said O’Reilly will be a primary topic. The Murdochs, the men who control 21st Century Fox, are pointedly not commenting on any of this. But conversations inside Fox have already turned to possible O’Reilly successors.”

Paul Farhi reports on a key detail in Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News future is increasingly in peril: “O’Reilly’s contract — signed in March — has an “opt out” clause that would require Fox to pay him a fixed amount if invoked, making extensive negotiations unlikely and unnecessary.”

Jason Samenow writes that The nation is immersed in its warmest period in recorded history: “The U.S. is enduring a stretch of abnormally warm weather unsurpassed in the record books, and it shows no immediate sign of ending. The latest one-, two-, three-, four- and five year periods — ending in March — rank as the warmest in 122 years of record-keeping for the Lower 48 states, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Freakish bouts of warm weather have accompanied this long period of historic warmth, unlike anything previously experienced. In February of this year, Chicago witnessed multiple 70-degree days for the first time and a record snowless streak. Denver hit 80 degrees as early as it ever has (in a calendar year). Meanwhile, spring arrived as much as three weeks early in the South.”

Rick Romell and Paul Gores report that These Milwaukee firms use H-1B visa program targeted by Trump’s executive order: “Milwaukee companies have actively sought to make use of the foreign-worker visa program that President Trump moved Tuesday to limit. Among the biggest local users of the controversial program are some of the area’s largest and most prominent firms, including Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, Rockwell Automation and ManpowerGroup. In fiscal 2016, applications were filed for hundreds of skilled foreign workers — typically for computer technology jobs — at local sites of each of those companies. Leading the group was Johnson Controls, with applications for at least 508 skilled foreigners at its offices in Milwaukee County. For Rockwell, 359 were sought.”

An Alligator On Mount Pleasant Porch In Charleston, South Carolina didn’t feel like leaving:

Daily Bread for 4.17.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of sixty-nine. Sunrise is 6:07 AM and sunset 7:40 PM, for 13h 32m 24s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 68.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred sixtieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Library Board meets this evening at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1951, Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle makes his major-league debut with the New York Yankees. On this day in 1897, author and playwright Thornton Wilder is born in Madison, Wisconsin.

Recommended for reading in full —

Brittany Carloni reports that Milwaukee Catholic school keeps it all in the family as grads return as staff, volunteers: “Gracing the lobby of the middle school at Notre Dame School of Milwaukee is a colorful mural created by the school’s Class of 2007, with painted representations of girls dressed in school uniforms, graduation gowns, lab coats and traditional dresses called vestidos folkloricos. One girl is Christian Oliva, who stands in her uniform of a plaid skirt and navy blue sweater next to her classmate Crystal Serna. Ten years later, the two 24-year-olds work side-by-side in a classroom at Notre Dame — Oliva as a teacher’s aide and marketing coordinator, Serna teaching first grade. “We never planned that we were going to come back here and we are also in that mural,” Oliva said. The two graduates are among 10 alumnae who have returned to Notre Dame School to teach in the classroom, work in school offices or volunteer in some way.”

Patrick Kingsley reports that Erdogan Claims Vast Powers in Turkey After Narrow Victory in Referendum: “ISTANBUL — A slim majority of Turkish voters agreed on Sunday to grant sweeping powers to their president, in a watershed moment that the country’s opposition fears may cement a system of authoritarian rule within one of the critical power brokers of the Middle East. With nearly 99 percent of votes in a referendum counted on Sunday night, supporters of the proposal had 51.3 percent of votes cast, and opponents had 48.7 percent, the country’s electoral commission announced. The result will take days to confirm, and the main opposition party said it would demand a recount of about 37 percent of ballot boxes, containing around 2.5 million votes.”

Maria Sacchetti reports that ICE immigration arrests of noncriminals double under Trump: “Arrests of immigrants with no criminal records more than doubled to 5,441, the clearest sign yet that President Trump has ditched his predecessor’s protective stance toward most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Advocates for immigrants say the unbridled enforcement has led to a sharp drop in reports from Latinos of sexual assaults and other crimes in Houston and Los Angeles, and terrified immigrant communities across the United States. A prosecutor said the presence of immigration agents in state and local courthouses, which advocates say has increased under the Trump administration, makes it harder to prosecute crime. “My sense is that ICE is emboldened in a way that I have never seen,” Dan Satterberg, the top prosecutor in Washington state’s King County, which includes Seattle, said Thursday. “The federal government, in really just a couple of months, has undone decades of work that we have done to build this trust.”

David Frum considers Trump’s foreign policy in On Military Upsurge: ‘If It Were Good Foreign Policy, Donald Trump Would Not Be Doing It’: “David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, argued that Trump won the Republican nomination for president because he promised to “fight and win wars.” “But now he’s embarked again on one of these open-ended conflicts,” Frum said. “There’s no plan that one can see. How does he even psychologically cope with the commitment that’s undertaking on behalf of us all?” Frum also said that it was a mistake to reflexively support Trump’s missile strikes in Syria. “I think a good rule of thumb is, if it were good foreign policy, Donald Trump would not be doing it,” Frum insisted. “There was no process, no deliberation,” he noted. “There was no inter-agency process because there are no agencies, there are no deputies meeting because there are no deputies. It seems to have been done fitfully and impulsively with no answer to the question, “Okay, so what do you do the next day?'” “Could he do anything that could change your mind?” [CNN’s Fareed] Zakaria asked. “He’s him,” Frump replied. “He’s never going to stop being him.”

Bret Israel writes about the Shoe-string theory: Science shows why shoelaces come untied: “A new study by mechanical engineers at UC Berkeley finally shows why your shoelaces may keep coming untied. It’s a question that everyone asks, often after stopping to retie their shoes, yet one that nobody had investigated until now. The answer, the study suggests, is that a double whammy of stomping and whipping forces acts like an invisible hand, loosening the knot and then tugging on the free ends of your laces until the whole thing unravels. The study is more than an example of science answering a seemingly obvious question. A better understanding of knot mechanics is needed for sharper insight into how knotted structures fail under a variety of forces. Using a slow-motion camera and a series of experiments, the study shows that shoelace knot failure happens in a matter of seconds, triggered by a complex interaction of forces.”

Daily Bread for 4.16.17

Good morning.

Easter Sunday in Whitewater will be increasingly sunny with a high of sixty-nine. Sunrise is 6:09 AM and sunset 7:39 PM, for 13h 29m 40s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 76.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1962, at Gerde’s Folk City, Bob Dylan first performs a version of Blowin’ in the Wind. On this day in 1944, the the USS Wisconsin battleship is put into active duty for service during the Second World War.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Eric Lipton, Ben Protess, and Andrew Lehren report that With Trump Appointees, a Raft of Potential Conflicts and ‘No Transparency’: “WASHINGTON — President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck. The potential conflicts are arising across the executive branch, according to an analysis of recently released financial disclosures, lobbying records and interviews with current and former ethics officials by The New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica. In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.”

Avi Sek reports that Trump says he can’t be sued for violence at his rallies because he won the election: “Last year, protesters from a campaign rally sued Donald Trump — claiming the future president urged his supporters to assault them. Now Trump is the president, of course. And while the lawsuit grinds on, with more accusations added last week, he claims he won immunity along with the election. “Mr. Trump is immune from suit because he is President of the United States,” his lawyers wrote Friday, rebutting a complaint filed by three protesters who claimed Trump incited a riot against them at a Louisville event in March 2016. Trump’s team challenged the accusations — negligence and incitement to riot — on many other grounds, too. But a federal judge already rejected their attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out earlier this month. And in another new filing in the same case, a Trump supporter accused of assaulting protesters agreed with the plaintiffs that Trump wanted a riot — while denying he actually harmed anyone.”

Bourree Lam writes that The Fight Over Trump’s Tax Returns Isn’t Over: “The release of Trump’s tax returns is an issue Americans of both parties seem keen to hang on to. In January, a poll by ABC News and The Washington Postfound that 74 percent of Americans believed that Trump should release his returns. Another poll found that 64 percent of Republicans want to see Trump’s tax returns too….With that level of interest, it’s no wonder that Rachel Maddow’s tax scoop in March, a few pages from the president’s 2005 tax returns, was a nonevent that still received immense media and public attention. Anna Chu, one of the organizers of the Tax March who works at the National Women’s Law Center, told DCist that the leak didn’t show what the public needs to see. And a one-page leak of Trump’s record to The New York Times only whet the public’s appetite. The speculation that his returns might turn up concerning revelations is amplified by ongoing worries that Trump hasn’t taken adequate measures to distance himself from his businesses while in office, resulting in myriad conflicts of interests.

Kristine Phillips reports that Congressman [James Sensenbrenner, whose district includes Whitewater, WI] tells constituents that nobody has ‘got to use the internet’: “During the meeting in Wisconsin on Thursday, the attendee asked about the recent decision by Congress to wipe away an Obama-era policy that sought to limit what Internet service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, can do with customers’ Internet browsing history. The concern is similar to one raised by consumer activists: Not all Internet users have options to switch to a different company if they don’t agree with their current provider’s privacy practices….

In response, Sensenbrenner, who voted to scrap the Federal Communications Commission’s privacy rules that were set to take effect at the end of this year, said:

“Nobody’s got to use the internet. … And the thing is that if you start regulating the Internet like a utility, if we did that right at the beginning, we would have no Internet. … Internet companies have invested an awful lot of money in having almost universal service now. The fact is is that, you know, I don’t think it’s my job to tell you that you cannot get advertising for your information being sold. My job, I think, is to tell you that you have the opportunity to do it, and then you take it upon yourself to make that choice. … That’s what the law has been, and I think we ought to have more choices rather than fewer choices with the government controlling our everyday lives.”

(Sensenbrenner’s shown he’s out-of-touch before, and is a poor fit to represent a college town. He’s every aged, well-off man who becomes complacent, thinking that what he did thirty years ago justifies his carrying on forever. Enlarged and entitled is no way to go through life; each day demands a renewal of one’s understanding of current conditions.)

Here’s a story about a little bunny that could:

Daily Bread for 4.15.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-nine. Sunrise is 6:13 AM and sunset 7:38 PM. The moon is a waning gibbous with 83% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1945, British and Canadian soldiers liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp: “The scenes that greeted British troops were described by the BBC‘s Richard Dimbleby, who accompanied them: “…Here over an acre of ground lay dead and dying people. You could not see which was which… The living lay with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them … Babies had been born here, tiny wizened things that could not live … A mother, driven mad, screamed at a British sentry to give her milk for her child, and thrust the tiny mite into his arms, then ran off, crying terribly. He opened the bundle and found the baby had been dead for days. This day at Belsen was the most horrible of my life.”

On this day in 1861, Governor Alexander W. Randall receives a telegram from Washington requesting one regiment of 780 men to serve the Union for three months in the Civil War. (Within a week ten companies, from Kenosha, Beloit, Horican, Fond du Lac, Madison, and Milwaukee were ready.)

Recommended for reading in full — 

Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports that the White House to Keep Its Visitor Logs Secret: “WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The White House announced Friday that it would cut off public access to visitor logs revealing who is entering the White House complex and which officials they are meeting, breaking with the Obama administration’s practice and returning a cloak of secrecy over the basic day-to-day workings of the government….The announcement was another turnabout for Mr. Trump after a week of changing course on an array of domestic and foreign policy matters. In a 2012 posting on Twitter, he chided Mr. Obama for failing to release certain records, including college transcripts, as President George W. Bush had. “Hiding something?” Mr. Trump wrote then. Mr. Trump has rejected other basic standards of presidential disclosures, like the release of his tax returns, leading to questions over whether he would reveal who comes and goes at the White House.”

Alan Feuer reports that At Choate, Decades of ‘I’d Rather Let It Go at That’: “That attitude — letting it go at that — typified the response of the school’s administration toward the sexual misconduct of teachers for decades, according to the report, which was prepared for the school by an investigator at an outside law firm. The response continued through the administrations of three headmasters, one of whom remains a trustee for life at Choate. Since at least the 1960s, not only did at least a dozen Choate instructors prey upon their students, but a long list of administrators helped to keep the sexual abuse under wraps, rarely telling other members of the faculty and almost never alerting the authorities.”

T.R. Reid asks that Filing Taxes in Japan Is a Breeze. Why Not Here?” “Parliaments and revenue agencies all over the world have done what Congress seems totally unable to do: They’ve made paying taxes easy. If you walk down the street in Tel Aviv, Tokyo, London or Lima, Peru, you won’t see an office of H & R Block or a similar company; in most countries, there’s no need for that industry….What’s going on in these countries — and in many other developed democracies — is that government computers handle the tedious chore of filling out your tax return. The system is called “pre-filled forms,” or “pre-populated returns.” The taxpayer just has to check the numbers. If the agency got something wrong, there’s a mechanism for appeal. Our own Internal Revenue Service could do the same for tens of millions of taxpayers. For most families, the I.R.S. already knows all the numbers — wages, dividends and interest received, capital gains, mortgage interest paid, taxes withheld — that we are required to enter on Form 1040….Questions like that have prompted some members of Congress — including Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon; Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts; and Dan Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana — to champion pre-filled forms. But their bills never went anywhere because the tax-preparation industry lobbies strenuously against them. The “Tax Complexity Lobby,” as it has been called, includes big national preparers like H & R Block and tax-prep software companies.”

Gal Beckerman describes How Soviet Dissidents Ended 70 Years of Fake News: “True internal pushback against the Soviet regime began to emerge only in the 1960s, at the moment when the political temperature inside Russia was moving from post-Stalinist thaw back to chilly. The suppressions began with the trial of the satirical writers Yuli Daniel and Andrei Sinyavsky in early 1966. As protests and further trials followed, the dissidents were faced with an interesting dilemma: how to fight back most effectively in light of the information that was coming their way. Almost daily, they would hear the details of interrogations, stories passed around about life in the labor camps, and the drumbeat of searches and arrests. The dissidents could have presented their own form of propaganda, hyping the persecution and turning that rich Soviet lexicon of “hooligans” and “antisocial elements” into bitter screeds against the state itself. But they didn’t. They chose instead to communicate it all as dispassionately and clinically as possible. They reached for what we might call objectivity.”

So, why is Area 51 called Area 51?

Daily Bread for 4.14.17

Good Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with an even chance of afternoon thundershowers, and a high of sixty-five. Sunrise is 6:15 AM and sunset 7:36 PM. The moon is a waning gibbous with 89% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1775, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (then the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage) becomes America’s first abolition society. On this day in 1865, Pres. Lincoln is shot while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre (and passes away the next day). Former Wisconsin governor Leonard Farwell was in attendance and rushed to warn Vice President Andrew Johnson of an impending attack.

Recommended for reading in full —

Karen Madden writes that a Wisconsin Mega-dairy’s future in question after ruling: “SARATOGA – An appeals court has blocked key parts of a proposed large-scale dairy farm that has been the subject of controversy for years in central Wisconsin, leaving both sides of the 5-year-old issue wondering what happens next. The owners of the proposed farm, known as Golden Sands, do not have the right to use more than 6,000 acres of land for agriculture and manure spreading, according to the Wisconsin District IV Court of Appeals in a ruling issued Thursday morning. The ruling overturns an earlier decision by a Wood County Circuit Court judge, which found the Wysocki Family of Companies’ application for dairy buildings on 100 acres of Saratoga land allowed it to use additional land associated with the proposed dairy for agricultural purposes. The appellate judges who issued the ruling found that Golden Sands “fails to support” its legal claim to use the land as proposed.”

Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall consider Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs:

Proponents of drug prohibition claim that such policies reduce drug-related crime, decrease drug-related disease and overdose, and are an effective means of disrupting and dismantling organized criminal enterprises.

We analyze the theoretical underpinnings of these claims, using tools and insights from economics, and explore the economics of prohibition and the veracity of proponent claims by analyzing data on overdose deaths, crime, and cartels. Moreover, we offer additional insights through an analysis of U.S. international drug policy utilizing data from U.S. drug policy in Afghanistan. While others have examined the effect of prohibition on domestic outcomes, few have asked how these programs impact foreign policy outcomes.

We conclude that prohibition is not only ineffective, but counterproductive, at achieving the goals of policymakers both domestically and abroad. Given the insights from economics and the available data, we find that the domestic War on Drugs has contributed to an increase in drug overdoses and fostered and sustained the creation of powerful drug cartels. Internationally, we find that prohibition not only fails in its own right, but also actively undermines the goals of the Global War on Terror.

See, full study, Four Decades and Counting The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs.

Historian Rick Perlstein writes I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong: “A puzzle remains. If Donald Trump was elected as a Marine Le Pen-style — or Hiram Evans-style — herrenvolk republican, what are we to make of the fact that he placed so many bankers and billionaires in his cabinet, and has relentlessly pursued so many 1-percent-friendly policies? More to the point, what are we to the make of the fact that his supporters don’t seem to mind? Here, however, Trump is far from unique. The history of bait-and-switch between conservative electioneering and conservative governance is another rich seam that calls out for fresh scholarly excavation: not of how conservative voters see their leaders, but of the neglected history of how conservative leaders see their voters.”

David Graham observes that Press Secretary Sean Spicer Throws In the Towel: “Why had the president decided the Ex-Im Bank wasn’t such a bad idea? “Let me get back to you on the Ex-Im bank. It’s a very complex issue and I would like to get back.” Why does Trump no longer believe China is devaluing its currency, even though he has said so as recently as February? “It’s a very, very complex issue and I’m gonna leave it to the president to specifically answer it,” Spicer offered. There’s an element of comedy to this: Spicer’s job is to explain the president’s positions to the press and the public. And sure, the press secretary can’t be expected to be an expert in every topic. Except that Spicer knows a thing or two about trade policy, having served as a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during the George W. Bush administration.”

John Bacon explains Stuff you should know if you find a bat in your salad: “If you do find a bat in your salad, don’t touch it! The CDC says data suggest that transmission of the rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant or unrecognized bites from bats. “Human and domestic animal contact with bats should be minimized, and bats should never be handled by untrained and unvaccinated persons or be kept as pets,” the CDC says. A warning most of us probably don’t really need. If there is direct contact with a bat, unless you are certain there was no bite or scratch, the CDC recommends a delightful little regimen it calls “post-exposure prophylaxis.” Translation: a series of shots over two weeks. Also, if you are wondering whether you may have eaten salad from the recalled production line, fear not. “People who have eaten the recalled salad product and did not find animal material are not at risk and do not need to contact their health department,” the CDC cheerfully reports.”

Daily Bread for 4.13.17

Good morning.

Whitewater will see a rainy Thursday with a high of fifty-four. Sunrise is 6:14 AM and sunset 7:35 PM, for 13h 21m 21s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1743, Thomas Jefferson is born. On this day in 1864, the 14th, 29th, 33rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments help repulse Confederate troops attacking Union transport ships headed upstream on the Red River Expedition.

Recommended for reading in full —

Mike McIntire reports that After Campaign Exit, Manafort Borrowed From Businesses With Trump Ties: “Aug. 19 was an eventful day for Paul Manafort. That morning, he stepped down from guiding Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, after a brief tenure during which Mr. Trump won the Republican nomination, Democrats’ emails were hacked and the campaign’s contacts with Russia came under scrutiny. Dogged by revelations about past financial dealings in Ukraine, Mr. Manafort retreated from public view. But behind the scenes, he was busy with other matters. Papers were recorded that same day creating a shell company controlled by Mr. Manafort that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a [pro-Russian] Ukrainian-born billionaire and another led by a Trump economic adviser. They were among $20 million in loans secured by properties belonging to Mr. Manafort and his wife.”

Kelsey Sutton reports that GAO says it’s investigating Trump transition team: “The Government Accountability Office will investigate whether members of President Donald Trump’s transition team followed federal guidelines and ethics rules during the presidential transition, following complaints lodged by Democratic lawmakers in November. In a letter dated April 5 to Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the GAO confirmed that it would examine the transition team, including reviewing its use of federal funds and looking into the team’s communications with foreign governments. The letter was posted to Warren’s website this week and reported by The Associated Press on Wednesday.”

Jay Elwes conducts an interview with Richard Dearlove, the fomer head of Britain’s MI6, for Interview: Richard Dearlove—I spy nationalism: “…the allegations that members of Trump’s staff had illegal contact with the Russian government during the election campaign are “unprecedented,” said Dearlove. As for the president’s personal position, he said, “What lingers for Trump may be what deals—on what terms—he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money when others in the west apparently would not lend to him.” I also asked Dearlove about Trump’s suggestion that the US National Security Agency (NSA) or British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had bugged Trump Tower on the instructions of Barack Obama. This allegation was flatly rejected by both organisations and also by James Comey, Director of the FBI, who told Congress in a March hearing that “we have no information to support” Trump’s claim. “This is simply deeply embarrassing,” said Dearlove, “for Trump and the administration, that is. The only possible explanation is that Trump started tweeting without understanding how the NSA-GCHQ relationship actually works.”

Kaitlin Menza writes that Audience Laughs as Kellyanne Conway Complains About Liars: “She spoke at D.C.’s Newseum during an all-day examination of journalism in the Trump era. Other speakers included recent Pulitzer winner David Farenthold of the Washington Post and press secretary Sean Spicer. What does Conway, the woman who coined the term “alternative facts” to describe the information that President Trump relayed to the country regarding his inauguration crowd size, have to say about honesty in the media? “You can turn on the TV—more than you can read in the paper because I assume editors are still doing their jobs in most places—and people literally say things that just aren’t true,” Conway said with no trace of irony. The crowd at the Newseum promptly laughed in her face, to which she nodded and smiled as if to note she was in on the joke.”

 

Watch as a bald eagle protects her eaglet in during storm that spawned tornado in Washington:

Daily Bread for 4.12.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be increasingly partly cloudy with a high of sixty-three. Sunrise is 6:16 AM and sunset 7:34 PM, for 13h 18m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-fifth 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 1861, Confederate forces begin the Civil War by firing on Fort Sumter. On this day in 1864, the 14th, 29th, and 33rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments help repulse Confederates attacking Union transport ships heading upstream on the Red River Expedition.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous report that the FBI obtained FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page: “The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said. The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials. This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.”

(On 11.7.16, Louise Mensch reported about the existence of FISA warrants in this regard, more generally, in EXCLUSIVE: FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia.)

Meg Jones reports that a Civil War group files a lawsuit to get Wisconsin city to mow grass around graves: “A Civil War group upset over conditions at a Muskego cemetery that contains Civil War veterans’ graves filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to get the city to mow the grass. The Sons of Union Veterans asked Muskego officials last year to clear weeds and debris from the graves at a tiny cemetery at the southwest corner of Ryan and North Cape roads. The city refused because the small plot is a plant sanctuary and the last native prairie in Muskego. Muskego clears away some of the plants in the spring with a controlled burn but that also concerns members of the Wind Lake chapter of Sons of Union Veterans. “From their periodic burnings that they do, it’s degraded the (burial) stones where they’re about ready to fall apart and tip over,” said Bob Koenecke, the group’s commander. “We’d like them to stop the burning and we’d like them to clean up the cemetery.” Under Wisconsin law, veterans’ graves must “receive proper and decent care” from cemetery owners. The lawsuit filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court Tuesday is seeking a declaratory judgment on whether the way Muskego is caring for the cemetery is proper and decent.”

Heidi M Przybyla writes that Republicans avoid town halls after health care votes: “The migration away from public forums has been going on for months, despite complaints from constituents and local media. There have been roughly 30 recent newspaper editorials slamming lawmakers for avoiding town halls and calling on members to face their voters, not only in bluer portions of the country like New York but also in critical battlegrounds like Pennsylvania’s 6th and 7th districts, represented by Reps. Pat Meehan and Costello. Costello’s office screened participants for his Saturday town hall through the online reservation site Eventbrite and forbid videotaping, leading the local Democratic Party chair to call the event “staged.” Others lawmakers are holding question-and-answer events over the phone or Facebook Live, a social media tool allowing them to speak to a camera while avoiding uncomfortable public exchanges with the citizens they represent.”

Tom Daykin writes that Journal Sentinel block to be redeveloped for newspaper’s offices, other uses: “A preliminary deal has been reached to sell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s longtime downtown headquarters to a Michigan development firm that plans to renovate it into offices for the newspaper and other businesses as well as street-level restaurant?space. ProVisions LLC, led by Murray Wikol,?also has conceptual plans to demolish a portion of the property, the old Milwaukee Sentinel building, and develop an 18-story office tower at the site….Gannett Co. Inc., which owns the Journal Sentinel, and Troy, Mich.-based ProVisions,?have reached a preliminary sale agreement. The companies hope to complete the transaction by June, Wikol said. “This better supports our business needs moving forward — it will allow us to improve our space for the future, including an emphasis on digital capabilities and collaboration,” said Chris Stegman, Journal Sentinel president. “It reinforces our commitment to the community and will be part of reinvigorating the west side of downtown.” Gannett plans to lease back space on the historic Milwaukee Journal building’s fourth and fifth floors, Wikol and Stegman said.”

(The headline should have read Gannett sells Journal Sentinel Building, Will Lease Back Only Part.)

A Great Pyrenees makes a break for it (but was found safe fifteen hours later sleeping in a nearby yard) —

Daily Bread for 4.11.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of fifty-one. Sunrise is 6:17 AM and sunset 7:33 PM, for 13h 15m 45sof daytime. The moon is full, with 99.9% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1898, Pres. McKinley asks Congress for a declaration of war against Spain. On this day in 1965, six tornadoes struck Southern Wisconsin, killing 3 and injuring 65, as part of an outbreak of 51 tornadoes responsible for 260 deaths and over $200 million in damages throughout Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Recommended for reading in full

Jacob Carpenter reports that a Milwaukee woman accuses jail staff of causing unborn child’s death: “A former inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail is alleging her unborn child died in the womb because of improper medical care she received while in Sheriff’s Office custody. Attorneys for Jennifer Jawson said they believe medical staff failed to give the 35-year-old mother proper prescriptions during her weeklong stint in jail. Jawson was nearly 9 months pregnant when her child’s heart stopped beating, her lawyers said Jawson’s attorneys on Friday filed a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit against a county agency. It’s the fifth notice of claim filed against the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office in relation to medical care and a death involving an inmate in 2016. Four people died at the facility last year.”

Anthony Faiola and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report How Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church against anti-migrant populism: “ As politicians around the world including President Trump take an increasingly hard line on immigration, a powerful force is rallying to the side of migrants: the Roman Catholic Church led by Pope Francis. Catholic cardinals, bishops and priests are emerging as some of the most influential opponents of immigration crackdowns backed by right-wing populists in the United States and Europe. The moves come as Francis, who has put migrants at the top of his agenda, appears to be leading by example, emphasizing his support for their rights in sermons, speeches and deeds. The pro-migrant drive risks dividing Catholics — many of whom in the United States voted for Trump. Some observers say it is also inserting the church into politics in a manner recalling the heady days of Pope John Paul II, who stared down communism and declared his opposition to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The Vatican is standing in open opposition to politicians like Trump not just on immigration but also on other issues, including climate-change policy. But the focal point is clearly migrant rights.”

Michael J. O’Loughlin reports New data suggest Clinton, not Trump, won Catholic vote: “According to an analysis of American National Election Studies data by a political scientist at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Catholic voters narrowly went for Democrat Hillary Clinton, 48 percent to 45 percent. Among Hispanic Catholics, Mrs. Clinton cleaned up handily, winning by more than 50 points.”

Rick Wilson contends that The Trouble With Trump’s White House Is Donald Trump: “Trump is faced with terrible options when it comes to rearranging the deck chairs on the SS White House, and those of us who warned you this was inevitable are ordering popcorn. The cancer in the presidency isn’t his staff—though they reflect his shoddy intellect, his shallow impulsiveness, his loose grasp of reality, and Chinese-menu ideology. The problem is Trump himself, and nothing and no one can change that. Let’s start with the leader of the Pepe Army sleeper cell at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Steve Bannon. If Trump keeps his chief strategist, he keeps the poisonous, post-conservative nationalism and thinly-veiled racial and religious animus that helped put him in the Oval Office. Bannon was great at running a conspiracy blog, but his political instincts are those of an arsonist, not a strategist. He has led Trump into a series of unforced political debacles, tainted relations with Congress, and alienated members of America’s new royal family. He’s already become persona non grata in Congress for his absurdly villainous performance trying unsuccessfully to browbeat them into accepting the ludicrously unpopular Trumpcare bill, and his economic nationalism is big-government statism wrapped in populist trade and industrial policies. Bannon is a famous brawler, and like many brawlers after too many beers, he lashes out any anyone for lookin’ at him funny. A Bannon power center in the White House is as dangerous as its vacuum.”

So, why do goats have weird eyes?

Daily Bread for 4.10.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see a high of seventy on a day with a probability of thunderstorms. Sunrise is 6:19 AM and sunset 7:32 PM, for 13h 12m 57s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1866, Henry Bergh founds the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City. On this day in 1861, 26 volunteers from Sauk County depart for Madison where they would become part of the First Wisconsin Infantry, Company F. (By the end of the war, over one thousand men would serve in the Union Army from Sauk County alone.)

Recommended for reading in full —

Emily Steel reports that Fox Asks Law Firm to Investigate Bill O’Reilly Harassment Claim: “21st Century Fox has enlisted the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to investigate at least one accusation of sexual harassment against the Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. The move is the latest in the response to a New York Times investigation published this month on Mr. O’Reilly’s settlements with five women who complained of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior. Wendy Walsh, a former guest on Mr. O’Reilly’s show who detailed accusations against him to The Times, called 21st Century Fox’s anonymous hotline last week, prompting the investigation. “21st Century Fox investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters,” the company said in a statement on Sunday. Paul Weiss is the same law firm that conducted an internal investigation into Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman. 21st Century Fox executives decided to dismiss Mr. Ailes after the lawyers took statements from at least six women who described inappropriate behavior by him.”

Danny Vinik outlines Trump’s threat to the 2020 Census: “Already, Congress’ inability to agree on a full-year funding measure for fiscal 2017 has forced the Census Bureau to cancel multiple field tests and delay opening three field offices. It also had to cut back on new, less labor-intensive methods for verifying household addresses, a critical undertaking that was supposed to make the 2020 Census more cost-effective and accurate. And more broadly, the Trump administration’s hardline rhetoric and executive orders cracking down on undocumented immigrants may already be creating a major new risk for the census, making members of minority and immigrant communities less likely to respond. “If you imagine that the federal government is asking for personal information and you feel that the federal government is hostile and that if you were to answer this, perhaps they would use this against you,” said Terry Ao Minnis, director of the census and voting programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “That of course will make people less inclined to participate.”

Lindsey Rupp, Lauren Coleman-Lochner, and Nick Turner report that America’s Retailers Are Closing Stores Faster Than Ever: “Extrapolating out to the full year, there could be 8,640 store closings in 2017, Buss said. That would be higher than the 2008 peak of about 6,200. Retail defaults are contributing to the trend. Payless is closing 400 stores as part of a bankruptcy plan announced on Tuesday. The mammoth chain had roughly 4,000 locations and 22,000 employees — more than it needs to handle sluggish demand. HHGregg Inc., Gordmans Stores Inc. and Gander Mountain Co. all entered bankruptcy this year. RadioShack, meanwhile, filed for Chapter 11 for the second time in two years. Other companies are plowing ahead with store closures outside of bankruptcy court. Sears Holdings Corp., Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. are shutting hundreds of locations combined, reeling from an especially punishing slump in the department-store industry.”

Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr. describe How Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions: “A Washington Post examination found that Bannon was able to produce more than a dozen conservative documentaries over the past decade by drawing on a network of two dozen nonprofit organizations and private companies. Bannon helped arrange donations from wealthy Republicans to the nonprofits that paid him for films and other work, documents show. At the same time, Bannon and his firms took in at least $2 million from the nonprofits and an additional $5?million from the private companies, records show. Bannon, who had already made millions on Wall Street, often was paid in multiple ways for each project — a common practice in Hollywood, where he had worked as an entertainment financier. Because he was paid through the nonprofit and private companies, which have limited obligations to disclose details about their activities, the total pay to Bannon remains unknown. In a personal financial disclosure released by the White House last month, Bannon reported his net worth as between $11.8 million and $53.8 million. Bannon, the White House and Schweizer did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Tax specialists told The Post that some of Bannon’s activities raise questions about compliance with Internal Revenue Service restrictions against using tax­exempt charities to attack a political candidate or for excessive personal financial benefit.”

Simon Whistler presents The Rubber Band: Holding It Together Since 1820:

Daily Bread for 4.9.17

Good morning.

Palm Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of seventy-three. Sunrise is 6:21 AM and sunset 7:31 PM, for 13h 10m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 97% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1865, Lee surrenders to Grant. The 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments were among the troops that had helped corner Lee there. The 36th were present to witness the formal surrender ceremony.

Recommended for reading in full —

Margaret Sullivan observes that The media loved Trump’s show of military might. Are we really doing this again?: ““Guest after guest is gushing. From MSNBC to CNN, Trump is receiving his best night of press so far,” wrote Sam Sacks, a Washington podcaster and journalist. “And all he had to do was start a war.” Why do so many in the news media love a show of force? “There is no faster way to bring public support than to pursue military action,” said Ken Paulson, head of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center. “It’s a pattern not only in American history, but in world history. We rally around the commander in chief — and that’s understandable.” Paulson noted that the news media also “seem to get bored with their own narrative” about Trump’s failings, and they welcome a chance to switch it up. But that’s not good enough, he said: “The watchdog has to have clear vision and not just a sporadic bark.”

(This is true of successful criticism: it begins and exhibits periods of a sporadic bark’s maneuver, but it prevails though a clear vision’s attrition. See, along these lines, What Grant’s Overland Campaign Teaches for Grave Political Conflict.)

Former GOP Congressman Mickey Edwards exclaims Stand Up, Paul Ryan, or Step Aside: “The toadiness of the legislative leadership, and the low regard in which it is held by the president’s entourage, have led to such previously unimaginable scenes as Stephen Bannon, a senior White House staff member, giving orders to members of Congress and demanding a copy of the leadership’s secret vote counts to create an enemies list for possible reprisals. Mr. Bannon should have been ordered to leave the Capitol. Again, it was Speaker Ryan’s job at that moment to assert the independence and equal status of the legislative branch. Instead, he obsequiously ran downtown to see the boss.”

(Local publications like the Janesville Gazette have cosseted Janesville resident Paul Ryan for years, but their gentle petting has ill-prepared Ryan for defending his institution against men like Bannon.)

Jeremy Peters contends that Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’: “The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner….But those who question Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon’s motives say the central premise of “The Fourth Turning,” with its religious subtext and dark premonitions, is a convenient excuse to sow fear and justify extreme action. Many academic historians dismiss the book as about as scientific as astrology or a Nostradamus text. And many will find reason for alarm in its conclusion that the coming crisis will demand loyalty and conformity from citizens.”

(It’s worth noting that Bannon’s ideas derive from several, but equally fringe, theories.)

Joshua Partlow reports that The Soviet Union fought the Cold War in Nicaragua. Now Putin’s Russia is back: “Three decades after this tiny Central American nation became the prize in a Cold War battle with Washington, Russia is once again planting its flag in Nicaragua. Over the past two years, the Russian government has added muscle to its security partnership here, selling tanks and weapons, sending troops, and building facilities intended to train Central American forces to fight drug trafficking. The Russian surge appears to be part of the Kremlin’s expansionist foreign policy. In other parts of the world, President Vladimir Putin’s administration has deployed fighter planes to help Syria’s war-battered government and stepped up peace efforts in Afghanistan, in addition to annexing the Crimean Peninsula and supporting separatists in Ukraine.”

Here’s a video from You Suck at Cooking that tackles tomato sauce:

Daily Bread for 4.8.17

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Saturday will be sunny with a high of sixty-nine. Sunrise is 6:22 AM and sunset 7:30 PM, for 13h 07m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 92.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s home-run record (714) by hitting his 715th home run off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing. On this day in 1865, Union forces including the 8th, 11th, 14th, 20th, 23rd, 27th, 28th, 29th, 33rd, and 35th Wisconsin Infantry regiments capture Spanish Fort and seize control of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Recommended for reading in full —

Jason Stein and Patrick Marley report GOP allies Scott Walker, Robin Vos have heated Twitter, text exchange on Wisconsin budget: “As I recall, the debate started with the unprecedented discussion of starting with a new budget & the continued attacks on transportation. It would be odd if I didn’t defend my positions,” Walker wrote at one point in the text exchange. “I think it actually started with the decision of your office to not really involve us before the process began unlike each of your other budgets … So without giving us ownership of anything in your budget it’s kind of hard for us (to) just rubber stamp it,” Vos responded. “Unlike the last budget where we met with nearly every member in advance & got trashed,” Walker snapped back.”

The New York Times editorial board asks, After the Airstrikes on Syria, What’s Next?: “It was hard not to feel some sense of emotional satisfaction, and justice done, when American cruise missiles struck an airfield in Syria on Thursday. The country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, needed to understand that there would finally be a cost for his brutality, in this case the use of chemical weapons with sarin, a banned nerve agent, that killed scores of civilians earlier this week in one of the worst atrocities of the Syrian civil war. But it is also hard not to feel unsettled by the many questions raised by President Trump’s decision. Among them: Was it legal? Was it an impetuous, isolated response unrelated to a larger strategy for resolving the complex dilemma of Syria, a nation tormented not just by civil war but also by the fight against the Islamic State? So far, there is no evidence that Mr. Trump has thought through the implications of using military force or figured out what to do next.”

Louisa Loveluck and Zakaria Zakaria write that Warplanes return to Syrian town devastated by chemical attack: “ Residents of the Syrian town devastated by a chemical-weapons attack last week said that warplanes had returned to bomb them Saturday as Turkey described a retaliatory U.S. assault as “cosmetic” unless it removed President Bashar al-Assad from power. At least 86 people were killed in Tuesday’s attack on the northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun, which left hundreds choking, fitting or foaming at the mouth. Eyewitnesses said Saturday that fresh airstrikes on the area — now a ghost town — had killed one woman and wounded several others. Photographs from the site showed a pair of green slippers, abandoned by a blood-spattered doorway. The U.S. military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield early Friday in the first direct American assault on Assad’s government since that country’s six-year civil war began. Although American officials have predicted that the strikes would result in a major shift of Assad’s calculus, they appeared to be symbolic in practice. Within 24 hours of the American strikes, monitoring groups reported that jets were taking off from the bombed Shayrat air base once again.”

Rosie Gray writes of Trump’s Disillusioned Supporters (the president’s military action in Syria is a bitter disappointment for some of his biggest fans): “What Trump did was nothing less than a betrayal, a betrayal of his supporters, of his message ‘America First!,’ of his promise to be different—to learn from the mistakes of the past and chart a new course,” said Richard Spencer, the alt-right leader who takes credit for coining the term. “I’ll wait and see, of course, but I’m not sure I can continue to support him. Most all of the alt-right feels the same way.” Spencer tweeted on Thursday, “Tulsi Gabbard 2020 #Trumped,” a reference to the Democratic congresswoman who recently made a controversial trip to Syria and met with Bashar al-Assad. Mike Cernovich, the pro-Trump blogger and Twitter personality who identifies as a member of the “new right,” has been tweeting and livestreaming his opposition to military action almost constantly since the news of the strikes last night. Cernovich, who claimed this week that the chemical attack was carried out by “deep state agents,” told me he still supports Trump. “If Hillary had been elected I wouldn’t even bother speaking out, as war would be certain,” Cernovich said in an email. “I’m still a Trump supporter, as last night’s air strikes appeared to have been limited. I do not and will not support another war in the Middle East.” “There comes a day in every child’s life when his Daddy bitterly disappoints him,” Milo Yiannopoulos, the former Breitbart tech editor and provocateur who resigned from the site earlier this year amid controversy over remarks he’d made about pedophilia, wrote on his Facebook on Thursday night.”

Tech Insider describes 5 survival myths that could get you killed:

Daily Bread for 4.7.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of fifty-seven. Sunrise is 6:24 AM and sunset 7:28 PM, for 13h 04m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 85.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fiftieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1862, Union forces under the command of Gen. Grant defeat Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in southwestern Tennessee. On this day in 1970, the Milwaukee Brewers play their first game at County Stadium.

Recommended for reading in full —

Annysa Johnson and Kevin Crowe report that Wisconsin voters continue to approve more school referendums as $700 million OK’d this week: “Voters across Wisconsin agreed Tuesday to boost local school spending by an additional $700 million, approving the majority of referendums school districts placed on the ballots. In all, voters agreed to take on an additional $464.7 million in new debt for building projects — on top of the $1.35 billion approved last year — and to contribute an additional $235 million for operating expenses. Of the 65 questions before voters Tuesday, 40, or 62% passed, including a near-record $181.3 million sought for the burgeoning Verona Area School District in Dane County. But more than a third of the measures failed, an outcome district officials say will force them to cut programming, lay off staff, and eliminate or defer building maintenance and improvements.”

Adam Taylor reports that Trump loves a conspiracy theory. Now his allies in the fringe media say he’s falling for one in Syria: “Across the Internet, an alternative take on the horrific attack — widely attributed to the Syrian government — has begun to spread. It was a “false flag,” the theory goes, designed to trick Trump into intervening more forcefully in the Syrian war. Those spreading this theory are often closely linked to the “alt-right,” a small, far right movement whose members are known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view. One of the most notorious figures associated with the movement, Mike Cernovich, posted tweets on Wednesday claiming that the gut-wrenching footage of victims of the attack had been faked.”

Note: There’s ample evidence that the gas attacks against civilians were both genuine and devasating; Trump’s trafficked in so many lies, and his most rabid supporters are so accustomed to lies, that now a conspiracy-driven chief executive faces his own conspiracy-driven vanguard.

Maggie Haberman, Jeremy Peters, and Peter Baker report that It’s Bannon vs. Kushner: “WASHINGTON — Thick with tension, the conversation this week between Stephen K. Bannon, the chief White House strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, had deteriorated to the point of breakdown. Finally, Mr. Bannon identified why they could not compromise, according to someone with knowledge of the conversation. “Here’s the reason there’s no middle ground,” Mr. Bannon growled. “You’re a Democrat.” The schism within Mr. Trump’s perpetually fractious White House has grown in recent weeks, fueled by personality, ideology and ambition. At its core are Mr. Bannon, the edgy, nationalist bomb-thrower suddenly in the seat of power, and Mr. Kushner, the polished, boyish-looking scion of New Jersey and New York real estate. Even as Mr. Kushner’s portfolio of responsibilities has been expanding, Mr. Bannon’s in recent days has shrunk with the loss of a national security post.”

The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes that, in reponse to Trump, California Fights Back: “For starters, California should continue to pursue its agenda on human and civil rights, on clean air, water and climate change, and on equality. Trump can dismantle the federal Clean Power Plan, but he can’t stop the state from moving toward its renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030 as laid out in SB 350 two years ago. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can reduce national fuel efficiency standards, but if it seeks to revoke California’s waiver that lets the state set its own, tougher rules, state lawmakers should fight back, including taking the agency to court if necessary. Trump can continue his counterproductive and mean-spirited efforts to deport non-criminal immigrants living in the country illegally, but the state’s local law enforcement agencies are not legally required to do the feds’ job for them; they should not.”

What would an orchestra of typerwiters sound like? Playing Against Type: The Typewriter Orchestra shows

Playing Against Type: The Typewriter Orchestra from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

For pre-digital natives, there’s nothing quite as nostalgia-inducing as the manual “click,” “clack” and “ding” sounds of an old mechanical typewriter. That’s why The Boston Typewriter Orchestra is making these old machines quite literally “sing” again. Since 2004, this six-man ensemble has been playing a range of covers and original songs on both desktop and portable machines from years past. And if you thought all typewriters emitted the same sounds, think again. This orchestra’s sonorous symphonies have captivated crowds all over New England.

Daily Bread for 4.6.17

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of fifty-one. Sunrise is 6:26 AM and sunset 7:27 PM, for 13h 01m 35s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 78% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred forty-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 PM, the Fire Department for a Business meeting at 6:30 PM, and Common Council for a session beginning at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1917, the United States declares war on Imperial Germany. On this day in 1831, many of the Sauk leave Wisconsin and Illinois: “the Sauk Indians led by Chief Keokuk left their ancestral home near the mouth of the Rock River and moved across the Mississippi River to Iowa to fulfill the terms of a treaty signed in 1804. Many of the tribe, however, believed the treaty to be invalid and the following spring, when the U.S. government failed to provide them with promised supplies, this dissatisfied faction led by Black Hawk returned to their homeland on the Rock River, precipitating the Black Hawk War.”

Recommended for reading in full —

Matthew Garrahan and Kara Scannell report that a Federal probe into Fox News casts shadow over Murdoch empire: “High quality global journalism requires investment. For Rupert Murdoch, the timing could not be worse. Six years after the tabloid phone-hacking saga engulfed his media empire and torpedoed his bid for Sky, a federal investigation into another company controlled by the 86-year-old billionaire could undermine his latest offer for the European pay-TV group. Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news. Select topic Enter email addressInvalid email Sign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. The sexual harassment scandal at Mr Murdoch’s Fox News Channel has already cost millions of dollars in payouts to victims after Roger Ailes, its former chairman, was fired last summer following allegations that he harassed a former presenter. Several other women came forward claiming similar treatment, including Megyn Kelly, then the network’s star presenter, and Laurie Luhn, a former Fox News talent booker, who was paid a secret $3.1m settlement by the channel in 2011 in exchange for her silence. Yet the turmoil at the cable news channel is far from over. Fresh allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse have been levelled at leading presenter Bill O’Reilly, leading more than 20 companies to pull their advertising from his programme.”

Meg Jones reports that Thousands of birch trees have been poached from the Northwoods: “Brazen thieves armed with axes and chainsaws are plundering parks, forests and private land in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Their prey? White birch trees. Thousands of trees have disappeared since last fall, stripped branches and stumps left behind at the crime scenes as the beautiful trees are sold to decorate homes and businesses and grace wedding tables. “It appears to be all market-driven,” said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Warden David Zebro. “The ornamental market people are paying a lot of money for these types of birch trees. We didn’t see this type of issue a year or two ago but it’s certainly here now.” Some birch poachers have been nabbed. Five arrests were made in Washburn County over the winter including a man who admitted to authorities that he was in the area to illegally cut down birch trees but decided instead to break into a cabin and steal a generator. “We found out these people are not discriminate. They’ll steal anything,” said Washburn County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Richter. “We’ve had people say ‘we didn’t know there was anything wrong with it.’ Some said ‘we’re just logging, what’s the problem?’ Well, they don’t own the property, that’s the problem.”

Dana Milbank recounts Personal irresponsibility: A concise history of Trump’s buck-passing: “Here is a partial compilation of his buck-passing since taking office: He blamed the failure of the GOP health-care bill on Democrats, moderate Republicans, conservative Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus, the Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth and, indirectly, Paul Ryan. He blamed a Yemen counterterrorism raid that didn’t go according to plan both on his generals and on Obama. He blamed airport protests of his travel ban on a Delta Air Lines systems outage and on “the tears of Senator Schumer.” He preemptively blamed future terrorist attacks on the judge who blocked the travel ban and on the court system. He blamed his own decision to remove national security adviser Michael Flynn on the intelligence community, the media and Democrats “trying to cover up” Hillary Clinton’s loss. He blamed his loss of the popular vote on voter fraud….”

Rosie Gray describes one writer’s predictable journey from alt-right website to a Putin-publication in From Breitbart to Sputnik: “A former Breitbart News writer is launching a radio show for Russian propaganda network Sputnik. “I’m on the Russian payroll now, when you work at Sputnik you’re being paid by the Russians,” former Breitbart investigative reporter Lee Stranahan told me. “That’s what it is. I don’t have any qualms about it. Nothing about it really affects my position on stuff that I’ve had for years now.” Stranahan’s new position is the latest twist in the increasingly atomized world of niche right-wing media, which has seen an increase in prominence and influence during the Trump era. It also reflects a realignment on the right towards Russia as the administration, led by an unusually Russia-receptive president, becomes increasingly entangled in a drip-drip of stories about Russian influence.”

London’s testing self-driving shuttles:

Daily Bread for 4.5.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 6:27 AM and sunset 7:26 PM, for 12h 58m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 68.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred forty-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1792, Pres. Washington exercises the first presidential veto. On this day in 1865, the 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments, “hot on the trail of retreating Confederate General Robert E. Lee reached Jettersville, Virginia, on the night of April 5th only to find that Lee’s army had followed a different route.”

Recommended for reading in full —

Annysa Johnson reports that Tony Evers sails into third term as Wisconsin education chief: “Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers sailed into a third term on Tuesday, easily defeating challenger Lowell Holtz to hang on to his post as the state’s top educator. With most of the votes counted, Evers led with 70% to 30% for Holtz. Evers said he was surprised by the margin, but believes his positive campaign resonated with parents and public school advocates at the local level, in contrast with Holtz’s focus on the schools’ deficiencies.”

Paul Farhi reports that Advertisers flee ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ amid sexual-harassment claims against host: “Among the companies that confirmed they were suspending or removing ads from his program were the automakers Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi Motors; financial firms T. Rowe Price and Allstate Insurance; drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline; plus Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, the online marketing company Constant Contact and men’s apparel seller Untuckit. The list continued to grow late in the day; by early evening, CNN had pegged the number of companies pulling their ads at 18. A prolonged advertiser boycott of O’Reilly could prove financially painful to Fox. O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. news-discussion program is the highest-rated on cable, with an average 4 million viewers. It is also a tent-pole show upon which the rest of the conservative-leaning network depends. Fox counts on O’Reilly to generate an outsize share of its revenue and profit, which reached an estimated $1.7 billion last year, a record since the network’s founding in 1996.”

Matthew Haag and Niraj Chokshi report that Civil Rights Act Protects Gay Workers, Court Rules: “In a significant victory for gay rights, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay workers from job discrimination, expanding workplace protections in the landmark law to include sexual orientation. The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [N.B.: the Seventh Circuit covers, among other states, Wisconsin], the highest federal court yet to grant such employment protections, raises the chances that the politically charged issue may ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court. While an appeal is not expected in this case, another appellate court, in Georgia, last month reached the opposite conclusion, saying that the law does not prohibit discrimination at work for gay employees. The ruling on Tuesday comes as gay rights advocates have voiced concern about the potential rollback of protections under President Trump. While the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, many other legal protections, including in employment and housing, have not been extended at all levels to gay people.”

Katie Mettler reports that a New sheriff in town to close Joe Arpaio’s outdoor Tent City jail, of pink underwear fame: “In Arizona’s Tent City Jail, “America’s toughest sheriff” forced his inmates to wear pink underwear, shower with pink towels and sleep on pink sheets. Their meals were meatless and their jumpsuits striped in wide black and white. The only barrier between their bodies and the scorching summer sun was the weathered green canvas of surplus Korean War military tents. Everything they did at Tent City was outside, because Tent City was outside, too. The desert complex — erected in 1993 — became Joe Arpaio’s signature achievement during his 24 years as the Maricopa County sheriff, the physical manifestation of his flashy, Wild West, no-nonsense law and order mentality that made him a national celebrity and treasured ally of President Trump. But it also cast a dark mark on Phoenix and attracted criticism from civil rights groups who called Arpaio’s methods needlessly harsh. In November, the voters ousted Arpaio, a Republican, who faces trial for criminal contempt of court for ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case involving his notorious immigration patrols. Paul Penzone, a Democrat and retired Phoenix police sergeant, was elected on the promise of rolling back existing law enforcement policies he viewed as purposeless and self-aggrandizing. Now he’s following through. First, Penzone ditched the pink panties, then launched an investigation into the practicality of Tent City. On Tuesday, the new sheriff in town announced he would shut it down completely.”

What would life on Mars be like? A team is trying to learn through a simulation:

Daily Bread for 4.4.17

Good morning.

Election Day in Whitewater will be cloudy with occasional rain, mainly in the morning, and a high of fifty-six. Sunrise is 6:29 AM and sunset 7:25 PM, for 12h 55m 52s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 57.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority will interview candidates for its executive director position at a 5 PM meeting, and the Birge Fountain Committee meets at 5:45 PM.

Note to the CDA candidates: they’re sure to ask you their favorite Local Notables’ Ultra-Tricky Question™, but don’t fret – the answer’s already available online. You’re welcome.

On this day in 1974 – Opening Day – Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth’s home run record in a game against Cincinnati. On this day in 1865, the 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments are among the troops pursuing Confederate General Robert E. Lee across Virginia after the fall of Richmond.

Recommended for reading in full —

Dylan Byers reports that At Fox News, fear and silence amid O’Reilly controversy: “There are women at Fox News who want to speak up. But they’re afraid. They’ve seen other women stand up for themselves — against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, against host Bill O’Reilly — and lose their jobs as a result. Meanwhile, they’ve seen those men defended and handsomely compensated by the company. They’ve been told there is an anonymous hotline they can call. But they’re afraid to call it because of a belief that the company is monitoring their phones. For many female employees at Fox News these days, the mood is one of fear and disappointment, several current and former employees told CNNMoney.”

Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt report More Trouble at Fox News: Ailes Faces New Sexual Claims and O’Reilly Loses Two Advertisers: “The sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Fox News last year and led to the ouster of its chairman, Roger Ailes, continued to batter the network on Monday, as a new lawsuit described unwanted sexual advances by Mr. Ailes and two major advertisers pulled their spots from the show of its top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly. Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai said they were withdrawing their ads from Mr. O’Reilly’s prime-time show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” after The New York Times published an investigation this weekend that found five women who made allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior against him. Those five women received settlements totaling about $13 million, The Times reported. Together, the developments portray a network buffeted by allegations on multiple fronts, even as it draws record ratings with programming supportive of President Trump. Staff members remain anxious, some said on Monday, over questions about its workplace culture and its priorities.”

Adam Entous, Greg Miller, Kevin Sieff and Karen DeYoung report that Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel: “The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials. The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.”

Charles Bagli reports on a like father-in-law, like son-in-law situation – At Kushners’ Flagship Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal: “The Fifth Avenue skyscraper was supposed to be the Kushner Companies’ flagship in the heart of Manhattan — a record-setting $1.8 billion souvenir proclaiming that the New Jersey developers Charles Kushner and his son Jared were playing in the big leagues. And while it has been a visible symbol of their status, it has also been a financial headache almost from the start. On Wednesday, the Kushners announced that talks had broken off with a Chinese financial conglomerate for a deal worth billions to redevelop the 41-story tower, at 666 Fifth Avenue, into a flashy 80-story ultraluxury skyscraper comprising a chic retail mall, a hotel and high-priced condominiums. The official announcement said the company remained “in active, advanced negotiations” with a number of investors, whom it declined to name. There is no question that the Kushner Companies — Jared has moved to Washington to serve as an adviser to his father-in-law, President Trump — needs to reach a deal soon, either to bring in a fresh infusion of cash or a well-heeled partner willing to foot the bill, if it wants to hold on to the building. Whomever it brings on as an investor would also have to buy out Vornado Realty Trust, the family’s partner in the tower.”

So, just how deep does the ocean go? Deep

Daily Bread for 4.3.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of fifty-four. Sunrise is 6:31 AM and sunset 7:47 PM, for 12h 52m 59s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 46.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred forty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1865, Union forces capture the Confederate capital of Richmond. The 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry participate in the occupation of Petersburg and Richmond. The brigade containing the 19th Wisconsin Infantry is the first to enter Richmond on the morning of April 3rd. Their regimental flag becomes the first to fly over the captured capital of the Confederacy when Colonel Samuel Vaughn planted it on Richmond City Hall.

Recommended for reading in full —

The Los Angeles Times confronts the truth behind Why Trump lies: “The insult that Donald Trump brings to the equation is an apparent disregard for fact so profound as to suggest that he may not see much practical distinction between lies, if he believes they serve him, and the truth. His approach succeeds because of his preternaturally deft grasp of his audience. Though he is neither terribly articulate nor a seasoned politician, he has a remarkable instinct for discerning which conspiracy theories in which quasi-news source, or which of his own inner musings, will turn into ratings gold. He targets the darkness, anger and insecurity that hide in each of us and harnesses them for his own purposes. If one of his lies doesn’t work — well, then he lies about that.”

Jenna Johnson reports that Trump’s budget would hit rural towns especially hard — but they’re willing to trust him: “The president’s proposed budget would disproportionately harm the rural areas and small towns that were key to his unexpected win. Many red states like Oklahoma — where every single county went for Trump — are more reliant on the federal funds that Trump wants to cut than states that voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Durant has already undergone years of state budget cuts, as Oklahoma has been unable to balance its increasing costs with declines in the oil industry, tax cuts and generous corporate tax credits. That has made federal funds even more vital to the city, especially for programs that serve the poor and working class. “It’s very easy to look at a laundry list of things that exist and say, ‘Cut, cut, cut, cut,’ and say, ‘Well, this is wasteful spending’ without really understanding the true impact,” said Durant City Manager Tim Rundel, who grew up in poverty in northwest Arkansas. “The bottom line is a lot of our citizens depend on those programs.”

[Trump did not carry Whitewater proper (that is, the city), but even if he had, he would have been unworthy of trust, and deserving only of relentless opposition. We’re still early in a long struggle, and for now it seems reasonable that one’s focus should be on Trump, His Inner Circle, Principal Surrogates, and Media Defenders.]

Yamiche Alcindor reports that In Ohio County That Backed Trump, Word of Housing Cuts Stirs Fear: “In Warren, Amber Barr, 34, lives in a women’s supportive housing complex and regrets voting for Mr. Trump. She and her 4-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, survive on a $588 disability check and $340 in food stamps every month. Her rent is $99, and she fears that Mr. Trump’s housing cuts are just the beginning. “If I didn’t have these programs, I wouldn’t have any kind of support, I wouldn’t have any kind of direction as to what to do, where to go, and I wouldn’t have any money to help me find resources,” Ms. Barr said, as she began to cry. Housing assistance has helped her focus on getting treatment for hepatitis C, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety. It also meant escaping the temporary housing she was in for several months after leaving an abusive relationship.”

It’s Opening Day, and Tom Hadricourt reports Brewers manager Craig Counsell ready for another ‘roller coaster’ season: Q: The Brewers are presently balancing the short-term goal of trying to win as many games as you can with the long-term goal of returning to playoff mode as soon as possible in this rebuilding process. Is that difficult to do? A: It will always be our jobs to have both of those goals in our heads and affect our decision-making. That’s how eventually you will sustain winning. You can never have one without the other, and decisions will fall at different ends of that spectrum. (General manager) David (Stearns) has been consistent in saying we’re going to make some decisions that satisfy one more than the other. I think that will be the case even when we’re winning (in the future). Otherwise, you run out of moves in our market. But, once the game starts, the long-term goes out the window. We might make decisions on who we’re allocating playing time to, with a longer focus. But when the game starts, you’re doing everything you can to win that game.”

Filmmaker Sam Forencich sees Oregon’s Invisible Beauty:

Invisible Oregon is a stunning time-lapse film shot entirely with infrared converted cameras, uncovering a landscape that’s out of reach of ordinary human sight.  “Invisible Oregon is a study of light across time and space,” wrote the filmmaker Sam Forencich. “As the sun rises over the state of Oregon, infrared light travels across the earth revealing the subtleties of new growth and the dramatic intersection of sky and earth.” Forencich is a photographer for the National Basketball Association by day, and experiments with different types of filmmaking in his spare time. The sound design for Invisible Oregon was done by his son, Travis Forencich.

Daily Bread for 4.2.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of sixty. Sunrise is 6:33 AM and sunset 7:23 PM, for 12h 50m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 35.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred forty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1917, Pres. Wilson asks Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. On this day in 1865, the 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments participate in the final assault on Petersburg, which brought about the fall of Richmond. (The 5th Wisconsin Infantry was in front at the charge and their flag was the first one planted on the rebel works.)

Recommended for reading in full — 

A Whitewater day care investigated after 2-year-old found wandering by highway:

“WHITEWATER, Wis. – A 2-year-old who was supposed to be at a day care in Whitewater was found alone outdoors by strangers, according to police and the men who found the girl. Department of Children and Families Communications Director Joe Scialfa confirmed that the agency received a complaint against the The Learning Depot child care center related to the Whitewater incident. The Learning Depot is on Highway 59, the same road where Madl said the girl was found. DCF’s childcare rating and complaint-tracking system, YoungStar, had records of multiple violations during licensing visits by state officials in April, May and August of 2015 and April, July and November of 2016. Violations ranged from uncovered garbage cans, inaccurate record keeping to child-tracking procedures. YoungStar records show The Learning Depot was sent a warning letter on Aug. 31, 2016, for a violation in July in which a staff member reported having 11 children in her group, but officials counted 12 and only 10 were signed in. A violation of close supervision was noted on April 4, 2016, which YoungStar described as “Children were not closely supervised when they ran ahead of the teacher when leaving the center and crossing the parking lot to play on the driveway while cars were driving through this same area.” The center was fined $100 for an incident July 11 for an incident in which a 5-year-old was allowed to enter the building unsupervised from the playground to use the bathroom. A message left with The Learning Depot staff Friday was not immediately returned. Scalfa said DCF is investigating the Thursday incident.”

Matt Reed cautions Trump Is President. Now Encrypt Your Email: “This is more than a philosophical concern about the hypothetical violation of privacy rights; it’s a practical one, and not just for groups who have specific fears of federal intrusion — undocumented immigrants, say, who want to communicate with family or lawyers away from the predatory gaze of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or journalists seeking to protect confidential sources. As lawyers and civil libertarians point out, federal criminal law is so vast and complicated that it is easy to unwittingly violate it, and even innocent conversation can later be used to build a criminal case. Encrypting your communication isn’t a matter of hiding criminal activity; it’s a matter of ensuring innocuous activity can’t be deemed suspicious by a zealous prosecutor or intelligence agent. Telling a friend that a party is really going to “blow up” when you arrive is less funny when it’s being entered into evidence against you.”

Nicholas Kristof writes that In Trump Country, Shock at Trump Budget Cuts, but Still Loyalty: ““This program makes sense,” said Banks, who was placed by the program into a job as a receptionist for a senior nutrition program. Banks said she depends on the job to make ends meet, and for an excuse to get out of the house. “If I lose this job,” she said, “I’ll sit home and die.” Yet she said she might still vote for Trump in 2020. And that’s a refrain I heard over and over. Some of the loyalty seemed to be grounded in resentment at Democrats for mocking Trump voters as dumb bigots, some from a belief that budgets are complicated, and some from a sense that it’s too early to abandon their man. They did say that if jobs didn’t reappear, they would turn against him. One recent survey found that only 3 percent of Trump voters would vote differently if the election were today (and most of those would vote for third-party candidates; only 1 percent said they would switch to voting for Hillary Clinton). Elizabeth Hays, 27, said her life changed during her freshman year in high school, when four upperclassmen raped her. Domestic Violence Intervention Services rescued her, she said, by helping her understand that the rape wasn’t her fault. She’s profoundly grateful to the organization — yet she stands by Trump even as she is dismayed that he wants to slash support for a group that helped her when she needed it most. “We have to look at what we spend money on,” she said, adding, “I will stand behind my president.”

[Many Trump supporters will stand by him, and yet his particular ruin will come despite their support. They can’t save Trump. Successful opposition to Trump demands from a focus at the top, not the supporters about whom Trump nerver cared, and will soon enough abandon. Their loyalty to him will not – indeed has not – been reciprocated. SeeTrump, His Inner Circle, Principal Surrogates, and Media Defenders.]

Susan Svrluga reports that A student says school officials stopped him from handing out copies of the Constitution. Now he’s suing: “Kevin Shaw was handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution to students at Pierce College in Los Angeles when he was stopped by a school official and told that he was only allowed to do so in the “free-speech zone” on campus and would need a permit, the philosophy and political science student says. “These are our rights,” Shaw said this week, after filing a lawsuit in federal court against the college and the Los Angeles Community College District, which requires all campuses to have such zones. “Why should the school be able to set which groups are allowed to speak, and who is allowed their First Amendment rights?”….Shaw’s case launches a national effort by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to combat “free-speech zones” on campuses, which the group has long criticized as unconstitutional. “At the very moment when colleges and universities should be encouraging open debate and the active exchange of ideas, Pierce College instead sends the message to its students that free speech is suspect and should be ever more tightly controlled,” Arthur Willner, an attorney working with FIRE on the case, said in a statement. “This does a disservice to the student body, as well as being contrary to long-established law.”

Great Big Story presents Lines in the Sand: When the Beach Becomes a Canvas

Lines in the Sand: When the Beach Becomes a Canvas from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

Anyone can write their name in the sand, but Jim Denevan uses the beach to create stunning large-scale art. What started as a hobby over 20 years ago has resulted in worldwide recognition, and he’s created masterworks from Russia to Chile to Australia. At the end of the day, though, Jim’s just happy to find a new beach to make his canvas.