Daily Bread for 2.1.17

Good morning.

A new month in Whitewater begins with a partly sunny day and a high of thirty-one. Sunrise is 7:07 AM and sunset 5:09 PM, for 10h 01m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 21.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the eighty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia is lost when it disintegrates over Texas and Louisiana as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. On this day in 1860, Charles Ingalls and Caroline Quiner, Ma and Pa Ingalls, are married in Concord, Wisconsin.

Recommended for reading in full —

Matt Levine considers Trump’s relationship to businesses in Immigration Orders and Odd Tenders: “Many people in the business and financial and technology communities listened to what Trump said, and cheerily assumed he’d do something completely different. Sure he talked about restricting trade and banning Muslim immigrants, but what they heard was that he’d enact “sensible immigration policy” and pro-growth trade agreements, reduce taxes, cut back regulation and generally improve conditions for business….And what has happened so far? Immigration bans (with more to come), abandoned trade agreements, “alternative facts,” unprompted promises to bring back torture. And what has not happened so far? Tax policy is a complete mystery, with an unclear and walked-back promise to impose a border tax. Health-care policy is even more mysterious. Trump has made vague promises to cut regulations by 75 percent, but his specific regulatory focus seems to be on increasing penalties on companies that move operations abroad. Everything Trump literally said is coming literally true; everything the serious people heard remains an unserious hope. Businesses may eventually get the tax and regulatory reform they wanted, but it’s not a priority. The technology industry, and some others, are beginning to figure this out:

Trump has “had this extraordinary honeymoon where Wall Street has kind of discounted all the negative aspects,” Richard Fenning, the CEO of consultancy Control Risks, told Bloomberg Television. As companies react to the migrant ban, “perhaps that honeymoon is starting to be over,” he said.”

Thomas R. Wood shows What Democracy Looks Like:

What Democracy Looks Like from Thomas R. Wood on Vimeo.

Derek Thompson asks Want to Talk to the President? Advertise Here: “Indeed, some politicians and journalists are realizing just how much Trump’s statements are recapitulations of ideas he has just seen on TV. CNN’s Brian Stelter observed that minutes after Fox News used the words “ungrateful traitor” to describe Chelsea Manning and “weak leader” to describe President Obama, Trump sent a tweet calling Manning an “Ungrateful TRAITOR” and Obama “a weak leader. Last week, Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings directly implored the president to call him in a segment on Morning Joe. “I know you’re watching,” he said. “Call me. I want to talk to you.” Hours later, Trump called the congressman’s Washington office.”

Jeffrey Gettleman reports that State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures: “Within hours, a State Department dissent cable [for employees of the department], asserting that President Trump’s executive order to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries would not make the nation safer, traveled like a chain letter — or a viral video. The cable wended its way through dozens of American embassies around the world, quickly emerging as one of the broadest protests by American officials against their president’s policies. And it is not over yet. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the letter had attracted around 1,000 signatures, State Department officials said, far more than any dissent cable in recent years. It was being delivered to management, and department officials said more diplomats wanted to add their names to it.”

There’s at least one Snow Guardian of the Rockies:

Daily Bread for 1.31.17

Good morning.

The last day of January in this small town will be cloudy, with a few flurries or snow showers possible, and a high of thirty-five. Sunrise is 7:09 AM and sunset 5:07 PM, for 9h 58m 51s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 13.2% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the eighty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1958, America launches Explorer 1, her first satellite, into orbit: “Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (equal to February 1, 03:48 UTC) atop the first Juno booster from LC-26 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt,[2] returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series.” On this day in 1846, Wisconsin’s territorial legislature charters Carroll College.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Conservative David Frum describes How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S.: “Donald Trump, however, represents something much more radical. A president who plausibly owes his office at least in part to a clandestine intervention by a hostile foreign intelligence service? Who uses the bully pulpit to target individual critics? Who creates blind trusts that are not blind, invites his children to commingle private and public business, and somehow gets the unhappy members of his own political party either to endorse his choices or shrug them off? If this were happening in Honduras, we’d know what to call it. It’s happening here instead, and so we are baffled….

Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered. What happens next is up to you and me. Don’t be afraid. This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American.”

Conservative David Brooks considers The Republican Fausts: “With most administrations you can agree sometimes and disagree other times. But this one is a danger to the party and the nation in its existential nature. And so sooner or later all will have to choose what side they are on, and live forever after with the choice.”

Conservative and former G.W. Bush Administration official Eliot Cohen Responds to Donald Trump’s First Week: “Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better.

The question is, what should Americans do about it? To friends still thinking of serving as political appointees in this administration, beware: When you sell your soul to the Devil, he prefers to collect his purchase on the installment plan. Trump’s disregard for either Secretary of Defense Mattis or Secretary-designate Tillerson in his disastrous policy salvos this week, in favor of his White House advisers, tells you all you need to know about who is really in charge. To be associated with these people is going to be, for all but the strongest characters, an exercise in moral self-destruction.”

Patrick Marley reports that Former teen inmate, now brain damaged, sues state: “Madison – A former inmate at Wisconsin’s teen prison filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Monday over a suicide attempt that left her severely brain damaged. The lawsuit by former Copper Lake School for Girls inmate Sydni Briggs and her mother alleges psychiatrists and prison officials failed to put protections in place even though Briggs had sent signals she was suicidal. She told a therapist she was thinking about suicide and twice scratched her arms so hard they bled, the suit says. “They knew that staff was stretched too thin,” Briggs’ attorneys wrote of prison officials in their lawsuit. “They knew that they were under-trained on how to prevent suicide attempts. They knew that a prolonged rash of suicide attempts had taken place at Copper Lake. Given the large number of attempts, it was only a matter of time before one was fatal.”

Consider how the planet, itself, has changed over the last few decades:

Daily Bread for 1.30.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see a likelihood of an afternoon snow shower and a high of twenty-nine. Sunrise is 7:10 AM and sunset 5:06 PM, for 9h 56m 28s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 6.8% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the eighty-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1919, Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu, a citizen who challenged the legality of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese Americans. While the EO was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States,  Korematsu’s conviction was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence challenging the necessity of the internment, evidence which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war. On this day in 1866, the 9th Wisconsin Infantry musters out after serving in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas, they lost 191 enlisted men during service.

Recommended for reading in full —

Alia Dastagir reports that Outrage over Trump’s immigrant ban helps ACLU raise more money online in one weekend than in all of 2016: “The American Civil Liberties Union shattered fundraising records this weekend after taking the White House to court over President Trump’s executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The ACLU said it has received more than 350,000 online donations totaling $24 million since Saturday morning. The non-profit organization that aims to protect individuals’ rights and liberties guaranteed in the Constitution typically raises about $4 million online in a year, according to Executive Director Anthony Romero. “It’s really clear that this is a different type of moment,” Romero said. “People want to know what they can do. They want to be deployed as protagonists in this fight. It’s not a spectator sport.”

Janna Remes of Brookings considers Aging and urban divergence [reflections on a report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Urban world: Meeting the demographic challenge in cities] : “How cities cope with demographic change matters, not only for their economies but also for their politics and societies. Pessimism and optimism among voters—and the political choices those voters subsequently make—appear, more than ever, to depend on where they live. In the U.S. presidential election, Clinton voters were heavily metropolitan (and from areas with high economic output) while Trump voters tended to be in (lower-output) suburban and rural areas, as shown by Mark Muro and Sifan Liu. As the demographics of cities—and the strategies they deploy to cope with change—diverge, so too do perceptions of economic opportunity. The divide between rural and urban communities is already evident in the election results. As demographics create an ever-more-differentiated urban landscape, the divide between citizens of different cities is set to widen too.”

Brian Nyhan of Dartmouth has updated his solid reference guide, a Reading list: Understanding the authoritarian turn in US politics.

Bob McGinn writes that Ted Thompson’s formula for success fizzles: “the Packers have squandered still another realistic chance in the era of Aaron Rodgers to capture their 14th NFL championship. They’ve had enough talent to win the Super Bowl nine times in 11 seasons under Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy, and just once have they claimed the Lombardi Trophy. Thompson’s aversion to signing players that have been with other teams is holding hostage McCarthy and his coaches, Rodgers and his teammates and members of his own personnel department. None of them like it but they can’t do one thing about it. Packers President Mark Murphy, the one man who can do something, goes about praising Thompson whenever the opportunity presents itself for the wonderful job he has done and the wonderful job he is doing. Thompson is a good general manager with a long list of admirable qualities. If he were a great general manager, the Packers would have been in the Super Bowl more than once in his 12-year tenure, especially considering his quarterbacks have been Favre and Rodgers.”

Could this be the loneliest whale in the world?

Somewhere in the North Pacific Ocean there is a whale. There are, of course, many whales, if rather fewer than there were a couple of hundred years ago. But this whale is different. It is a male and vocalizes during mating season in a way that only male whales do. Its species, however, is uncertain. It may be a fin whale, or perhaps a blue whale, the largest whale of them all. It may even be a hybrid — an unusual but not unheard-of scenario.

Nobody is certain because nobody has claimed to have seen it. But several people have heard it. And many more have heard of it. And what this latter group has heard about it has turned the whale into an unwitting celebrity, a cultural icon and a cypher for the feelings of many unconnected people around the globe. It is, allegedly, the Loneliest Whale in the World.

Daily Bread for 1.29.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will bring an even chance of snow showers and a high of twenty-seven. Sunrise is 7:11 AM and sunset is 5:05 PM, for 9h 54m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the eighty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1845, Poe’s The Raven is first published in the Evening Mirror. On this day in 1865, 12th Wisconsin Light Artillery fights a skirmish at the Combahee River, and the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry fights another one 50 miles west at Robertsville, both cities in South Carolina.

Recommended for reading in full —

David Barstow describes how ‘Up Is Down’: Trump’s Unreality Show Echoes His Business Past: “As a businessman, Donald J. Trump was a serial fabulist whose biggest-best boasts about everything he touched routinely crumbled under the slightest scrutiny. As a candidate, Mr. Trump was a magical realist who made fantastical claims punctuated by his favorite verbal tic: “Believe me”….But for students of Mr. Trump’s long business career, there was much about President Trump’s truth-mangling ways that was familiar: the mystifying false statements about seemingly trivial details, the rewriting of history to airbrush unwanted facts, the branding as liars those who point out his untruths, the deft conversion of demonstrably false claims into a semantic mush of unverifiable “beliefs”….Deception, dissembling, exaggeration — what Fortune magazine called his “astonishing ability to prevaricate” — has deep roots in Mr. Trump’s business career. In innumerable interviews over the years, Mr. Trump glibly inflated everything from the size of his speaking fees to the cost of his golf club memberships to the number of units he had sold in new Trump buildings. In project after project, he faced allegations of broken promises, deceit or outright fraud, from Trump University students who said they had been defrauded, to Trump condominium buyers who said they had been fleeced, to small-time contractors who said Mr. Trump had fabricated complaints about their work to avoid paying them.”

Jennifer Rubin describes how Trump and America lose again: The Mexico blunder: “Trump is the perfect storm when it comes to foreign policy. He lacks knowledge of the world, his White House staff and children have no diplomatic training and in advance of Rex W. Tillerson’s confirmation he has scared off the top echelon at the State Department, as my colleague Josh Rogin reports. (“Suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, [undersecretary for management Patrick] Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.”)….One might expect resignations to continue in the State Department and elsewhere as veteran public servants decide that the Trump circus is not something they want any part of — not even during the extended transition phase as a new team gets up to speed. Running the State Department is hard enough in normal times; running it when the president apparently strikes career diplomats as erratic, self-destructive and clueless will be a struggle.”

Robert P. Jones reports that Not Even the Reddest States Support Deportation: “But lost amid the anti-immigrant bluster of his campaign, the flurry of executive orders, and the whirlwind of partisan politics in Washington, is a stubborn fact: Very few Americans, and even few Republicans, say their preferred policy solution to the country’s illegal immigration problem is the deportation of an estimated 11 million people. That is the clear result of a study based on over 120,000 interviews with Americans—including 40,509 conducted during the 2016 campaign—that was conducted by my organization, PRRI, over the last three years. Through the ups and downs of immigration-reform legislation and even under the darker shadows of the 2016 election season, American opinions about concrete policy solutions have remained remarkably stable. When asked about how the immigration system should deal with immigrants who are currently living in the country illegally, the new study found nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans say we should allow them a way to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, and another 15 percent say we should allow them a way to become permanent legal residents but not citizens. Only 16 percent of Americans, and only 28 percent of Republicans, say their preferred policy option is to identify and deport those who are living in the country without legal documentation.”

(N.B.: I would expect that there certainly are communities within America where nativist residents will turn on others, gleefully so. See, Neither Shocked Nor Awed (Some “small, rural towns will offer the Trump Administration the advantage of many collaborators who will aid federal authorities, and many residents who will identify neighbors as targets for deportation. Almost no one in these places will say a word in public opposition; outspoken residents will hail deportation as a necessary part of Making America Great Again.”)

Alan Yuhas reports that White House defends Trump Holocaust statement that didn’t mention Jews: “The White House has defended its omission of Jews and antisemitism from a statement remembering the Holocaust by saying that Donald Trump’s administration “took into account all of those who suffered”. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, the White House made no mention of Jews, Judaism or the antisemitism that fueled Nazi Germany’s mass murder of six million Jews in the 1940s. The head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, wondered aloudabout the “puzzling and troubling” statement, and its break with the precedent. The executive director of the Anne Frank Center, Steven Goldstein, similarly scolded the president: “How can you forget, Mr President, that six million Jews were murdered because they were Jews? You chose the vague phrase ‘innocent people.’ They were Jews, Mr President.”

Here’s Smoked Salmon the Old-School Way:

Sheepshead Bay on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way are stunning and picturesque. It’s the setting for Declan McConnellogue’s The Haven Smokehouse, which is a quaint throwback to the way people used to smoke salmon—with care, attention, and time. “Each Haven Smokehouse salmon is treated with the respect it deserves, carefully honoring our finest Irish traditions,” reads the smokehouse’s website. This short film, Turf Salmon Smoke, follows Declan’s process of using 10,000-year-old turf to smoke salmon in the way he remembers from his childhood. It comes to us from the world-traveling web series The Perennial Plate. To learn more about this series, visit its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

Daily Bread for 1.28.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty. Sunrise is 7:12 AM and sunset is 5:03 PM, for 9h 51m 49s of daytime. It’s the lunar new year, and the Chinese year of the Fire Rooster.

Today is the eighty-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Recommended for reading in full —

Deadspin’s Diana Moskovitz reports on the allegations in a Lawsuit: Baylor Football Players Committed 52 Rapes In Four Years Under Art Briles: “Baylor football players committed 52 rapes in four years, the majority at off-campus parties hosted by football players, including five gang rapes; the university paid off one woman who said she was raped by giving her free tuition; and football staff arranged for women to have sex with recruits on their campus visits, according to a Title IX lawsuit filed today in federal court in Texas. The 26-page lawsuit—filed against Baylor on behalf of Elizabeth Doe—goes into immense detail about both a specific report of gang rape at the center of the complaint as well as how, it says, “football and rape became synonymous” under former football coach Art Briles, aided by a policy for football players described as “show ’em a good time.”

Keegan Kyle reports that Wisconsin’s State senators [are] up for 31 percent per-diem raise: “MADISON – After legislators in Wisconsin’s Assembly hiked how much cash they can pocket for working in Madison, their Senate peers plan to take a similar step. Most state senators last year were allowed to claim up to $88 for each day they worked in Madison, on top their $51,000 annual salary, under a decades-old benefit called per diems. This year, Senate leaders are interested in hiking the maximum rate to $115 a day, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald confirmed Friday. “As a result of input from members of both parties, several updates are being made to the Senate policy manual including a shift in per diem rates,” Myranda Tanck wrote in an email to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.”

Daniel Drezner cautions Never underestimate the staying power of autocratic rulers: “One of the few correct themes of my public writing is that incompetent autocrats tend to stay in power far longer than pundits predict that they will stay in power. I have written that Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro would continue to rule their countries despite their abjectly awful economic policies. Back in 2011 I wrote that “Kim Jong Un will hold power for longer than any Western analyst expects him to hold power,” and the North Korean leader continues to be large and in charge….The trouble with buffoonish autocratic personalities is that there is a natural psychological bias to focus on the clownish parts of what the Dear Leader is doing and not enough on the consolidation of political power.”

Luz Gonlazez describes Going Rogue: “9 federal government agencies have gone rogue, I suspect largely in response to Trump and his administration’s determination to disrespect the value of its work, spread a false narrative of their mission and goals, and create a toxic environment of mistrust, misinformation, and uncooperative discourse.  In other words, federal employees are doing for the American people what the Republican majority will not do, stand up to an authoritarian President and administration who do not even remotely resemble or represent the American people.

On January 26, all the senior staff at the United States Department of State resigned.  Since Trump took office on January 20 (has it really been only 6 days) federal employees have created twitter accounts and tweets in defiance to the new administration’s attacks on truth and science.  Showing courage and conviction. Days old rogue accounts @rogueNASA, @AltNatParkSer, @ActualEPAFacts, @Alt_NASA, and @WhiteHouseLeaks have tens of thousands of followers.”

Alexandra Horowitz describes How dogs can tell time with their noses:

Daily Bread for 1.27.17

Good morning.

Thew work week’s end in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-two. Sunrise is 7:13 AM and sunset is 5:02 PM, for 9h 49m 33s of daytime. The moon is new, with .3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the eightieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1945, the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp is liberated. On this day in 1862, the 9th Wisconsin Light Artillery Battery musters in at Burlington, Wisconsin.

Recommended for reading in full —

Nico Savidge reports that a UW-Madison student trying to start ‘alt-right’ group was convicted of arson at black churches: “A UW-Madison student seeking to start what he calls a “pro-white student club” was convicted in 2005 of setting fires at predominantly black churches in a racially motivated arson attack, officials confirmed Thursday. Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the university was not aware of student Daniel L. Dropik’s conviction when he was admitted to UW-Madison because the university is barred from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history. Dropik, 33, was sentenced to five years in federal prison after authorities said he set fires at two churches in predominantly black neighborhoods in Milwaukee and Lansing, Michigan, in April 2005. According to court documents, Dropik set out from his home in Oconomowoc specifically looking for black churches “as racial retaliation” for earlier incidents between him and African-Americans. Dropik, who also works as a student hourly employee, has handed out slips of paper at UW encouraging students to “fight anti-white racism on campus” by joining a Madison chapter of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, according to The Badger Herald. The flier included the hashtag #UWAltRight, using a common term for the ideology that mixes racism and white nationalism.”

Mirah Curzer describes four good tips for How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind: “Professional organizers and veteran activists have strategies for staying sane during a long fight. If you’re serious about sticking it out in the picket lines for the duration of the Trump presidency, you’re going to have to learn these strategies….”

Masha Gessen describes The Styrofoam Presidency: “On Saturday it emerged that the inaugural-ball cake that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence cut with a sword was a knock-off of President Obama’s 2013 inaugural-ball cake. Obama’s was created by celebrity chef Duff Goldman. Trump’s was commissioned from a decidedly more modest Washington bakery than Goldman’s, and the transition-team representative who put in the order explicitly asked for an exact copy of Goldman’s design—even when the baker suggested creating a variation on the theme of Goldman’s cake. Only a small portion of Trump’s cake was edible; the rest was Styrofoam (Obama’s was cake all the way through). The cake may be the best symbol yet of the incoming administration: much of what little it brings is plagiarized, and most of it is unusable for the purpose for which presidential administrations are usually intended. Not only does it not achieve excellence: it does not even see the point of excellence.”

Chico Harlan reports that In these six American towns, laws targeting ‘the illegals’ didn’t go as planned: “HAZLETON, Pa. — Starting a decade ago, a group of small U.S. cities began passing laws to block undocumented immigrants from living within their borders. They were a collection of mostly white exurbs and faded manufacturing towns whose populations suddenly were transforming. More Latinos were arriving in search of jobs, and the towns’ leaders complained of burdened schools and higher crime. Here in this northeastern Pennsylvania city, then-Mayor Lou Barletta said he would do what he could to restore “law and order” and take back his city. It was time, Barletta said, for a “war on the illegals.” And while that sentiment is shared among some advisers to President Trump, the experiences of these towns show how measures targeting undocumented immigrants can leave lasting and bitter racial divisions while doing little to address the underlying forces that often determine where newcomers settle. The laws in most cases aimed to make it illegal for landlords to rent to undocumented immigrants and threatened fines for employers who hired them. But among the six most high-profile towns that tried to pass such laws, all have been foiled by court rulings, settlements or challenges with enforcement. Several have been ordered to pay the legal fees for the civil rights groups that brought suits. And in five of the six towns, the Latino population — legal or illegal — has continued to grow, attracted by a continued rise in low-paying jobs. “It wound up costing our city $9 million in attorney’s fees,” said Bob Phelps, the mayor of Farmers Branch, Tex., a Dallas suburb that saw its ordinance defeated in court after a seven-year legal battle. “And we accomplished zero.”

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin:

Daily Bread for 1.26.17

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Thursday will be cloudy with a high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:13 AM and sunset 5:01 PM, for 9h 47m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 2.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1788, the first European settlers in Australia landed at what’s now Sydney. On this day in 1925, a fire destroys the Whitewater Hospital, with losses estimated at $20,000.

Recommended for reading in full —

Jeet Heer writes that Donald Trump Is Becoming an Authoritarian Leader Before Our Very Eyes: “Turning a speech at an intelligence agency [at the CIA] into a political rally is a deep betrayal of political norms. But it is very much in keeping with Trump’s disturbing habit of claiming the armed wing of the state, including the military and law enforcement, as his political allies. He said early in the CIA speech that “the military gave us tremendous percentages of votes. We were unbelievably successful in the election with getting the vote of the military. And probably almost everybody in this room voted for me, but I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did.” At the end of his speech, Trump sounded like a pathetic suitor making his final pitch: “I just wanted to really say that I love you, I respect you. There’s nobody I respect more.” While Trump’s antics might have impressed his fans watching from home, they seem to have done little to assuage worries in the agency. The New Yorker interviewed a variety of intelligence experts, including John MacGaffin, a high-ranking veteran of the agency. “What self-centered, irrational decision process got him to this travesty?” MacGaffin told the magazine. “Most importantly, how will that process serve us when the issues he must address are dangerous and incredibly complex?”

David Zirin writes about his experiences at the inauguration in I Was at Trump’s Inauguration. It Was Tiny: “Walter, a Trump supporter from Virginia, said to me, “This isn’t what I thought it would be. I thought this was going to be like our version of Woodstock. Instead I’m just cold.” Susan from West Virginia said to me, “On the plus side, I guess it can’t get worse. And I’m still glad we’re going to get the Supreme Court. But today—this is sad.” Raymond from West Virginia shrugged his shoulders and said, “I thought it would be like one of his rallies. Instead, it’s this.” (Raymond then asked if I was Jewish. I said yes and he said “Just checking.” I said, “C’mon Raymond! Even your anti-Semitism sounds demoralized.” He looked down, sadly.) In addition, the Secret Service and TSA personnel in charge of the checkpoints, both groups maligned by this administration, were cracking jokes about the president-elect as we were going through the metal detectors. One TSA agent even took a button from me that said, “Solidarity Trumps Hate.” He wasn’t confiscating the button. He took it to wear (“later,” he told me). If it wasn’t for the thousands of protesters who came out for both permitted and non-permitted demonstrations, the day would’ve had no life at all.”

Conservative Peter Wehner explains why he’s opposed to Trump in Why I Cannot Fall in Line Behind Trump: “…Mr. Trump has continued to demonstrate impulsivity and narcissism, an affinity for conflict and vindictiveness. Which leads to my main worry about Mr. Trump: His chronic lack of restraint will not be confined to Twitter. His Twitter obsessions are a manifestation of a deeper disorder. Donald Trump is a transgressive personality. He thrives on creating disorder, in violating rules, in provoking outrage. He is a shock jock. This might be a tolerable (if culturally coarsening) trait in a reality television star; it is a dangerous one in a commander in chief. He is unlikely to be contained by norms and customs, or even by laws and the Constitution. For Mr. Trump, nothing is sacred. The truth is malleable, instrumental, subjective. It is all about him. It is always about him. In “The Abolition of Man,” C. S. Lewis wrote, “I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently.” Donald Trump has not only spent much of his life stepping outside of traditional morality; he seems to delight in doing so. If I am right about Mr. Trump, and Lewis is right about history, then it is unlikely that President Trump will use his power benevolently. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

Aaron Blake reports that ‘Eight years. Eight years.’: Donald Trump and his team are already assuming a 2020 reelection win: “Trump and his advisers have increasingly taken to speaking not just about what they’ll do over the next four years, but what will happen over the next eight — a premise that takes for granted that he will be reelected in 2020. Call it confidence or call it presumptuousness, it’s increasingly a part of the talking points. “The White House and the media are going to share joint custody of this nation for eight years,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Monday night on Fox News’s “Hannity.” “And we ought to figure out how to co-parent.” The day before, during a White House ceremony swearing in his new aides, Trump promised that “we are going to do some great things over the next eight years.” And then he repeated, for good measure: “Eight years.”

Thinking about a plant? Here are some tips on plant selection —

Daily Bread for 1.25.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will see freezing rain and a probability of light afternoon snowfall, with a high of thirty-six. Sunrise is 7:14 AM and sunset 4:59 PM, for 9h 45m 06s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 6.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1959, the jet age really takes off (of course it does) on 1.25.1959 with an transcontinental flight (New York to Los Angeles) of an American Airlines Boeing 707.   On this day in 1932, Janesville, Wisconsin continues its probition of dancing on Sundays.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Brian Stetler and Frank Pallotta report that Publisher printing more copies of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ after spike in demand: “The book publisher Penguin is printing more copies of George Orwell’s dystopian classic “1984” in response to a sudden surge of demand. On Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning the book was #1 on Amazon’s computer-generated list of best-selling books. The list reflects hourly book sales. The 68-year-old novel appeared on the list on Monday, hovered around the #6 spot for much of the day, rose to #2 by Tuesday afternoon and then hit #1. Lower down on Amazon’s best sellers list are two other classic novels with similar themes: “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis, and “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley. It is hard to say for sure how much of the interest is related to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the rise of “alternative facts,” a term coined by Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday.”

Dylan Byers reports that Trump’s Chicago tweet is another response to cable news: “When President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday night and said he would send federal agents into Chicago if the city failed to address its growing violence, the threat seemed to emanate from nowhere. But like so many of Trump’s tweets, it appeared to be inspired by cable news. The 45th President of the United States is known to be an avid cable news consumer, and his tweets often seem to be in direct response to something he’s just seen on television. In this case, Trump appeared to be responding to a segment on Fox News. Shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor” ran a segment about violence in Chicago that included the following statistics: “228 shootings in 2017 (up 5.5% from last year” and “42 homicides in 2017 (up 24% from last year).” One of the show’s guests, Horace Cooper, an adjunct fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, said, “I don’t know another word besides ‘carnage’ to describe the devastation that’s been taking place.” Just over an hour later, at 9:25 p.m. ET, Trump took to Twitter using the same statistics Fox News had used and the same language as Cooper. “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Examples of Trump seemingly reacting to cable news abound.”

Jennifer Rubin explains that Trump’s actions will invite nonstop litigation: “Ironically, for a man who loved to bring litigation to torment opponents and squash criticism, President Trump will likely face nonstop litigation for his entire term. Lawyers contesting him on everything from the emoluments clause to the lease for his Washington hotel with the federal government say, in essence, that he has no one to blame but himself. Instead of divesting entirely of his businesses, Trump chose to keep ownership. “This will be in play for the length of the Trump presidency,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said to me in a telephone interview on Monday.”

Matt Velazquez reports that it was MU 74, Villanova 72: Golden Eagles stun AP No. 1 Wildcats: “Marquette has played men’s basketball for more than 100 years. There have been plenty of memorable games and historic moments in that time, but never before had Marquette knocked off the top-ranked team in the Associated Press top 25 during a regular-season game. That changed Tuesday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. After trailing by as many as 17 points and staying behind by double digits for most of the second half, the Golden Eagles finished with a 19-4 run to claim a 74-72 victory over reigning-champion Villanova, the No. 1 team in the AP poll and No. 2 in the USA Today coaches poll. The victory was Marquette’s second in 12 meetings with the AP No. 1 team, with the other coming against Kentucky in the Elite Eight of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.”

BRIC TV describes One Man’s Search for Meaning in the Rhythm of Tap:

Daily Bread for 1.24.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of forty-one. Sunrise is 7:15 AM and sunset 4:58 PM, for 9h 42m 56s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 11.8% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Patrick Marley writes that Teen Lincoln Hills inmates allege excessive pepper spraying: “Madison — Juvenile inmates filed a class action lawsuit Monday against Wisconsin officials, alleging they used pepper spray excessively and kept teens in solitary confinement for weeks or months at a time. Over eight months last year, one 14-year-old boy was kept in solitary confinement for all but two weeks, the lawsuit alleges. Pepper spray was used nearly 200 times over 10 months at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, which share a campus 30 miles north of Wausau, according to the lawsuit. “The state routinely subjects these youth to unlawful solitary confinement, mechanical restraints and pepper spraying,” attorney Rachel Graham wrote in the suit. “Prior to state and federal raids on the facility at the end of 2015, staff also regularly physically abused youth in the facility….In the first 10 months of last year, pepper spray was used 198 times, according to the lawsuit. Often, a brand of pepper spray is used that is meant to protect hikers from bears.”

Michael D. Shear and Emmarie Huetteman report that Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote in Meeting With Lawmakers: “WASHINGTON — President Trump used his first official meeting with congressional leaders on Monday to falsely claim that millions of unauthorized immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority, a return to his obsession with the election’s results even as he seeks support for his legislative agenda. The claim, which he has made before on Twitter, has been judged untrue by numerous fact-checkers. The new president’s willingness to bring it up at a White House reception in the State Dining Room is an indication that he continues to dwell on the implications of his popular vote loss even after assuming power.”

Patrick Thornton explains that Headlines Matter When Your President Lies All the Time: “The most important part of your story on Trump’s lie is, in fact, your headline. If your headline reports the claim, and doesn’t note it’s false, that it isn’t based on a shred of evidence, it would deliberately misinform the public, no matter what you wrote beneath it. Why? Because for a lot of your audience now, the headline is the story. 72 percent of Americans get news on smartphones, where they discover stories via news alerts (most recipients don’t click through to stories) and social media. Most users catch glimpses of headlines on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes they click through to read the story, but many times they do not. Journalists must craft headlines that live with the reality of how people actually consume news online. Our job as journalists is not to wish that people slowed down and read every word we write; our job is to deliver information to people in ways that they’ll actually consume and internalize it.”

In Forbes, Ally Bogard and Allie Hoffman describe Resilience: How Laura Dunn Went From Campus Assault Survivor To Groundbreaking Legal Advocate: “Laura Dunn became an activist, an advocate, a lawyer, a litigator, a founder and an entrepreneur – the day that she survived a campus assault. It was the life-defining experience that could have catapulted her into despair, or become the ultimate act of resilience. She chose the latter; today she runs the national nonprofit SurvJustice, which provides vital legal assistance to fellow survivors. Since its founding in 2014, they’ve assisted on 189 cases, and Laura has been recognized by the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association, and the White House for her pioneering advocacy. We hope she inspires you, as she did us….”

The local University of Wisconsin campus, UW-Whitewater, has been the subject of two federal complaints to the U.S. Department of Education and one federal lawsuit, all directly or relatedly concerning reporting of sexual assaults on campus. Atty. Dunn represents two of those survivors. For a category link to posts about these cases, and the topic more generally, see Assault Awareness & Prevention.

Barnaby Dixon doesn’t just make puppets, he makes amazing puppets, including a first-class raptor:

Daily Bread for 1.23.17

Good morning.

In Whitewater, we’ll have a cloudy Monday with a high of forty-one. Sunrise is 7:16 AM and sunset 4:57 PM, for 9h 40m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 18.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM.

On this day in 1864, the 23rd Wisconsin Infantry continues its reconnaissance mission on the Matagorda Peninsula in Texas.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Margaret Sullivan writes that The traditional way of reporting on a president is dead. And Trump’s press secretary killed it: “Anyone — citizen or journalist — who is surprised by false claims from the new inhabitant of the Oval Office hasn’t been paying attention. That was reinforced when Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told “Meet the Press” Sunday that Spicer had been providing “alternative facts” to what the media had reported, making it clear we’ve gone full Orwell. Official words do matter, but they shouldn’t be what news organizations pay most attention to, as they try to present the truth about a new administration. White House press briefings are “access journalism,” in which official statements — achieved by closeness to the source — are taken at face value and breathlessly reported as news. And that is over. Dead. Spicer’s statement should be seen for what it is: Remarks made over the casket at the funeral of access journalism. As Jessica Huseman of ProPublica put it: “Journalists aren’t going to get answers from Spicer. We are going to get answers by digging. By getting our hands dirty. So let’s all do that.”

The New York Times showcases Pictures From Women’s Marches on Every Continent: Crowds in hundreds of cities around the world gathered Saturday in conjunction with the Women’s March on WashingtonHIGHLIGHTS360 VIDEOMAPS.

Esme Cribb reports that Merriam-Webster Gets In On The ‘Alternative Facts’ Fun: “After top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase “alternative facts” on Sunday, Merriam-Webster decided to weigh in by reminding everybody that some definitions just aren’t that subjective. In an interview Sunday morning, Conway argued that White House press secretary Sean Spicer wasn’t lying about crowd size at Donald Trump’s inauguration—he was just giving “alternative facts.”


Krishnadev Calamur offers A Short History of ‘America First’: “From this day forward,” Trump said at one point [during his inaugural address], “it’s going to be only America first. America first….the phrase “America first” also has a darker recent history and, as my colleague David Graham pointed out Friday, was associated with opponents of the U.S. entering World War II. The America First Committee (AFC), which was founded in 1940, opposed any U.S. involvement in World War II, and was harshly critical of the Roosevelt administration, which it accused of pressing the U.S. toward war. At its peak, it had 800,000 members across the country, included socialists, conservatives, and some of the most prominent Americans from some of the most prominent families. There was future President Ford; Sargent Shriver, who’d go on to lead the Peace Corps; and Potter Stewart, the future U.S. Supreme Court justice. It was funded by the families who owned Sears-Roebuck and the Chicago Tribune, but also counted among its ranks prominent anti-Semites of the day.”

Here’s an orangutan, showing how smart she is

Daily Bread for 1.22.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 7:17 AM and sunset 4:56 PM, for 9h 38m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 26.2% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1905, on what’s now known as to Russians as Bloody Sunday, soldiers of Russia’s Imperial Guard fire on petitioners led by Father Georgy Gapon as they march toward the Winter Palace to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Over one-thousand are killed or wounded. On this day in 1964, the World’s Largest Block of Cheese (to that date) is produced “from 170,000 quarts of milk by the Wisconsin Cheese Foundation specifically for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It weighed 34,665 pounds (17.4 tons). The cheese was consumed in 1965 at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association at Eau Claire.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

Gary D’Amato writes that McCarthy, Rodgers chase history: “Winning one Super Bowl game as a coach or a quarterback places you among the best of the best and lands you a fat contract extension and TV commercials. Do it in Green Bay and they’ll name a street after you. Winning two Super Bowls? Now that’s a fame-changer. Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers are two victories away from joining the ultra-elite group of head coaches and quarterbacks who have won the Big One multiple times. If the Packers get past the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday and then beat the AFC champion — either New England or Pittsburgh — in the Super Bowl in Houston on Feb. 5, McCarthy will become the 14th head coach and Rodgers the 13th quarterback to have done it more than once.”

Michael Schmidt, Eric Lipton, and Charlie Savage report that Jared Kushner, Trump’s Son-in-Law, Is Cleared to Serve as Adviser: “WASHINGTON — Hours after President Trump took his oath on Friday, the Justice Department issued an opinion saying that his appointment of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior White House adviser would be lawful despite a federal antinepotism law. In a 14-page opinion signed on Friday, a longtime career lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel said that the president’s special hiring authority exempted White House positions from a 1967 law barring the president from employing relatives at a federal agency. Mr. Koffsky’s opinion acknowledged that in several cases since 1978, the Office of Legal Counsel had determined that the antinepotism statute prevented presidents from appointing relatives to positions.”

Tim Wallace and Alicia Parlapiano report that Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March in Washington Had 3 Times More People Than Trump’s Inauguration: “The women’s march in Washington was roughly three times the size of the audience at President Trump’s inauguration, crowd counting experts said Saturday. Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still, crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, analyzed photographs and video taken of the National Mall and vicinity and estimated that there were about 160,000 people in those areas in the hour leading up to Mr. Trump’s speech Friday. They estimated that at least 470,000 people were at the women’s march in Washington in the areas on and near the mall at about 2 p.m. Saturday. The two images below show the crowds when they were at their peak density at the two events.”

2017 Trump inauguration (58th Presidential Inaugural Committee)             2017 Women’s march (ABC News Footage)


Worth remembering for its brevity but more for its nativism, here is link to a transcript of President Trump’s inauguration speech, annotated to show his many false claims even in a short speech.
Why do maple syrup jugs have small handles? Here’s why —

Daily Bread for 1.21.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see morning fog give way to afternoon clouds and a high of fifty-two. Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset 4:54 PM, for 9h 36m 42s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 34.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1954, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine, was christened by Mamie Eisenhower launched into the Thames River. On this day in 1945 the Medal of Honor is awarded posthumously to Sgt. Truman C. Olson of Cambridge, WI for “stopping a German counterattack on the beachhead in Anzio, Italy, on January 30, 1944. Twice wounded, Olson nevertheless manned his machine-gun for 36 hours. He killed 20 Germans and wounded many others.”

Recommended for reading in full —

Jennifer Rubin describes how Trump’s America [in his own mind] is a rotten place: “President Trump delivered a campaign speech, not an inaugural address, on Friday. That he and his staff do not understand the difference goes to the heart of his insufficiency as a leader. Addressing a shockingly sparse crowd, he painted a picture of a hellish America that can only be restored by turning inward, deciding the world is a burden and our allies are thieves….He perfectly channels the resentment of the white working class. And in case you didn’t know how rotten a country this is, he described, as he did on the campaign trail, a dystopia bearing little resemblance to the real United States. (“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories, scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”) You would not know that unemployment stands at 4.7 percent, crime is down and productivity up. He sees only blight. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he declared. Carnage. Take that in for a moment. Does he see America as a decimated, destroyed and weak country? Apparently yes — or he would like us to believe so in order to, in a year or so, declare how everything has improved.”

Michael Kruse interviews three of Trump’s biographers who explain that ‘He Has This Deep Fear That He Is Not a Legitimate President’: ‘[Michael] D’Antonio: Those early influences are essential, and I also think it’s correct that he has been conducting his entire life as a vanity show, and he’s been rewarded, most recently since his reality TV show, by ever-greater public interest in him. This is a guy who is a president-elect who describes himself as a ratings machine, which is an absolutely absurd thing for a president to be reflecting on, but that matters to him. But one thing I think that we have overlooked as we see Trump trying to delegitimize others is what I suspect is a feeling he has inside that nothing he’s ever achieved himself has ever been legitimate. This is a person who has never known whether anybody wants to be around him because he’s a person they want to be around or they want to be around his money. And since he’s promoted himself as this glamorous, incredibly wealthy person, that’s the draw he’s always given. So he doesn’t know if he has any legitimate relationships outside of his family, and that’s why he emphasizes family. … He’s always kind of gaming the system—not, in my view, winning on the merits. And even his election was with almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent. So he has this deep fear that he is himself not a legitimate president, and I think that’s why he goes to such great lengths to delegitimize even the intelligence community, which is the president’s key resource in security, and he’s going to do this demeaning and delegitimizing behavior rather than accept what they have to tell him.”

Anthony Romero offers the ACLU’s 7-Point Plan of Action to Take on the Trump Administration: “The first rock in our slingshot is a Freedom of Information Act request asking several government agencies to turn over documents relating to President Trump’s actual or potential conflicts of interest due to his business and family connections. The American people deserve to know their president will govern in the best interest of the nation and not his self-interest. Our first legal action is part of the ACLU’s Seven-Point plan to fight back against the Trump administration when it seeks to violate the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. The plan is supported by our new Constitution Defense Fund, established after the election, to provide the manpower and resources necessary to take on the most powerful government on earth. Going forward, the ACLU’s plan of action includes concrete steps….”

Sasha Abramsky explains How to build a moral resistance movement against Trumpism: “Grassroots groups that, for decades, have been preoccupied with their particular, micro-focused issues and identity themes will now have to put aside their differences and campaign en masse, protest in vast and sustained numbers on the streets, and, if necessary, engage in ongoing civil disobedience, to counter the unleashed assault against the progressive values that we hold dear. This resistance will have to emanate from universities, from faith communities, from networks of social justice campaigners, from environmentalists, and from anti-police brutality organisers. It will have to be so large, so loud, so uncompromising, that it will render impossible the implementation of Trumpism.”

Zelda the Canine is adorable, but has trouble fetching (and she’s not blind):

Daily Bread for 1.20.17

Good morning.

Whitewater will see morning showers with a daytime high of forty. Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset is 4:53 PM, for 9h 34m 42s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 44.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1942, fifteen high-ranking Nazi Party and German government officials gathered at a villa in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss and coordinate the implementation of what they called the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” On this day in 1865, the 25th Wisconsin Infantry reconnoiters the Salkehatchie River in South Carolina prior to battles in the first week of February.

Recommended for reading in full —

Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth describes Words as Weapons of Authoritarian Control on Primary Concerns:

David Corn suggests that investigators on the Trump-Russia Beat Should Talk to This Man: “Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced it was commencing an investigation of Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign that would include an examination of connections between Russia and the Trump camp. And a veiled but public exchange between Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the committee, and FBI Director James Comey during a hearing on January 10 suggested the FBI has collected information on possible ties between Trump associates and Russians and may still be probing this matter. So with subpoena-wielding investigators on this beat, here’s a suggestion: The gumshoes ought to talk to an American from Belarus named Sergei Millian, who has boasted of close ties to Trump and who has worked with an outfit the FBI suspected of being a Russian intelligence front. If they haven’t already. Millian, who is in his late 30s and won’t say when he came to the United States or how he obtained US citizenship, is an intriguing and mysterious figure with a curious connection to Trump.”

Ryan Koronowski writes that Trump made a lot of promises about what he will do as president. We’ve documented 663 of them: “ThinkProgress examined 583 days of Trump’s public statements, from his campaign announcement speech on June 16, 2015 all the way up to the day before his inauguration. This included thousands of radio and television interviews, speeches, tweets, and campaign policy documents?—?well over 4 million words and counting. Our basic criteria were: 1) a statement made by Trump or by a policy document or questionnaire issued in his name, 2) about what would or would not happen during or as a result of his presidency, 3) about which a reasonable person could be disappointed should the promise be broken. Every time Trump made a new statement or claim about what he would or would not do as president, or guarantees about what he’d ensure would or would not happen, it went on the list. This includes instances when Trump straightforwardly said “I promise” or “I guarantee,” but also instances when he said that “we will” do something or that something “will never” happen if he became president.”

Patrick Marley and Jason Stein report that Vos calls for $300 million more for roads: “Madison — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other Republicans in his house called Thursday for sending $300 million to state highways over the next two years and cutting taxes by the same amount or more. Catching hold of more than $700 million in new state money now expected through the summer of 2019, Vos essentially called for raising either the gas tax or vehicle registration fees to pay for roads while cutting income taxes or property taxes.”

In So Fly: The Impossibly Acrobatic Martial Art of Tricking, Great Big Story shows what happens “when you combine the ferocious kicks of taekwondo, the grace of wushu, the improvised movements of capoeira, and gymnastics [into] the head-spinning martial art of tricking:

So Fly: The Impossibly Acrobatic Martial Art of Tricking from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

Daily Bread for 1.19.17

Good morning.

Thursday will be cloudy, with a likelihood of afternoon showers, and a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 7:19 AM and sunset 4:52 PM, for 9h 32m 45s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 54.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 2006, NASA launches the New Horizons spacecraft on a three-billion-mile journey to Pluto. SeeImage gallery: New Horizons’ images of Pluto. On this day in 1939, Ernest Hausen of Ft. Atkinson sets the world’s record for chicken plucking.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Dan Egan reports that the Straits of Mackinac ‘worst possible place’ for a Great Lakes oil spill: “The pipes were not expanded, replaced or thickened to increase the oil and natural gas they carry; the capacity was largely added by increasing pressure on the steel tubes. In 2013, the pipeline owner ratcheted up the maximum capacity on the lines to 540,000 barrels per day. That is a volume far greater than the 470,000 barrels per day planned for the state-of-the-art Dakota Access Pipeline, which drew thousands of protesters to the Great Plains this fall. Many were upset over the risk the Dakota line poses to the Missouri River, though engineers never planned to drape the pipe across the river bottom. Instead, they prepared to tunnel the pipe as deep as 115 feet below the riverbed to protect the waters above. Given the age of the Mackinac lines, and the fact that they were laid in what one prominent hydrodynamics expert now calls the “worst possible” place for an oil spill in the Great Lakes, environmentalists, politicians and Michigan regulators are taking a new look at the old pipes.”

Scott Shane describes From Headline to Photograph, a Fake News Masterpiece: “A few weeks later [after a Trump speech in Ohio], Cameron Harris, a new college graduate with a fervent interest in Maryland Republican politics and a need for cash, sat down at the kitchen table in his apartment to fill in the details Mr. Trump had left out. In a dubious art just coming into its prime, this bogus story would be his masterpiece. Mr. Harris started by crafting the headline: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” It made sense, he figured, to locate this shocking discovery in the very city and state where Mr. Trump had highlighted his “rigged” meme. “I had a theory when I sat down to write it,” recalled Mr. Harris, a 23-year-old former college quarterback and fraternity leader. “Given the severe distrust of the media among Trump supporters, anything that parroted Trump’s talking points people would click. Trump was saying ‘rigged election, rigged election.’ People were predisposed to believe Hillary Clinton could not win except by cheating.”

The Pew Research Center shows how Trump, Clinton Voters Divided in Their Main Source for Election News: “According to a new Pew Research Center survey, Americans who say they voted for Trump in the general election relied heavily on Fox News as their main source of election news leading up to the 2016 election, whereas Clinton voters named an array of different sources, with no one source named by more than one-in-five of her supporters. The survey was conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 12, 2016, among 4,183 adults who are members of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel.

Jonathan Capehart describes, in response to Trump’s criticism of Rep. John Lewis’s congressional district, how Trump wanted to build a project in Atlanta. You can pretty much guess where it was going to be: “if Trump “believes Georgia’s fifth congressional district is ‘falling apart,’ then he believes Atlanta is falling apart.” But here’s the best part. When Trump wanted to slap his name on a project there, it was right there in Lewis’s district. The headline on a February 2010 story by Douglas Sams of the Atlanta Business Chronicle was to-the-point: “Proposed Trump Towers site listed for foreclosure.” The plan was to have two condo towers, luxury shopping and restaurants bearing the name of the Manhattan builder, who Sams reported, also lent his marketing and architectural teams to the effort.”

Peter Stone and Greg Gordon report that FBI, 5 other agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aid to Trump: “WASHINGTON – The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said. The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said. Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.”

Scientists at Scripps Oceanography announced a new species of sea dragon, colloquially known as the ruby sea dragon:

Daily Bread for 1.18.17

Good morning.

Wednesday in town will see afternoon clouds give way to afternoon sunshine, with a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:51 PM, for 9h 30m 51s. The moon is a waning gibbous with 63.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventy-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

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

Recommended for reading in full — 

Conservative Jennifer Rubin asks Can Democrats learn to fight fire with fire?: “Democrats will need to shape the political battlefield if they want to stop elements of President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda and set themselves up to at least hold even, if not gain seats, in 2018. They have figured out that Trump watches TV a lot, so their opposition must often take the form of big events (e.g. marches to preserve Obamacare) or ready-made media narratives (e.g. more than 50 Democrats won’t go to the inauguration). They will have another chance on Saturday with the Women’s March on Washington (and local marches all over the country) for which they hope crowds and participants will be nearly as big as, or bigger than, the inauguration audience. Flashy, dramatic, made for TV. Using the Trump playbook against him may be the most effective way to at least get his attention, if not persuade him.”

David A. Graham considers Monica Crowley and the Limits of Trump’s Dismissal of the Press: “But Trump’s repeated claims that the press was irrelevant and powerless should never have been taken at face value, and Crowley’s withdrawal underscores this. Trump’s political genius was not in steering away from the press. It was recognizing how important the press was and figured out ways to marshal it to his own ends. When he blasted the press as powerless early in the campaign, it was disingenuous posturing. Throughout his career as a businessman, Trump grasped the power of using the media to his own ends, and that may be the most important lesson he brings to Washington. (By the end of the campaign, his attacks on the media seemed to become personal, as he got angrier and angrier at the stories about him.) The Crowley affair shows that while the president-elect may be unusually skilled at manipulating the press, he is not omnipotent.”

Conor Friedersdorf ponders  The Irrationally Divided Critics of Donald Trump: “A large cohort of Americans have reservations about the presidency of Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote by 2.9 million, strikes many who did vote for him as a highly flawed “lesser of two evils,” and has a dismal 37 percent approval rating. These ideologically diverse skeptics must cooperate if they hope to minimize the damage they believe the Trump Administration will do to America if left unopposed. But so far, they are easily divided. In fact, they cannot even refrain from attacking or alienating one another on matters where they are mostly in agreement.”

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper reports that Chewbacca rips off arm in deleted ‘Force Awakens’ scene: “The dramatic scene is less than a minute long, but it shows heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) being threatened by hulking junk boss Unkar Plutt, who wants revenge and the return of the Millennium Falcon. As you can guess, Falcon co-pilot Chewbacca isn’t going to let that happen, and he rips Unkar Platt’s entire arm off and tosses it onto a table. The scene is included as an extra on the “Force Awakens” 3D Blu-ray. It started trending this weekend after a fan posted it to YouTube.”

There are alligators, and then there are alligators –

Daily Bread for 1.17.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be rainy, with a high of thirty-five, and an even chance of afternoon snow showers. Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:49 PM, for 9h 29m 00s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 72.9% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the seventieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Common Council will meet tonight at 6:30 PM (part of the session will include a joint meeting with the Planning Commission).

On this day in 1706, Benjamin Franklin is born. On this day in 1900, women working at a cotton mill near Janesville go on strike for higher wages.

Recommended for reading in full —

Andrew Kaczynski and Jim Acosta report that Monica Crowley bows out of Trump administration post following plagiarism revelations: “The move comes after CNN’s KFile uncovered multiple instances of plagiarism in her 2012 book, her columns for the Washington Times, and her 2000 Ph.D. dissertation for Columbia University. Crowley was slated to be the senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council in Trump’s administration….CNN’s KFILE originally reported last week that Crowley had plagiarized more than 50 times in her 2012 book “What the Bleep Just Happened.” In response to the story, publisher HarperCollins pulled the book from sales until it could be updated to include proper attribution. CNN’s KFILE later found thousands of words plagiarized in Crowley’s 2000 dissertation for her Columbia University Ph.D. Columbia has said any review of her work would be kept confidential. A review of Crowley’s columns for the Washington Times also found plagiarism in seven columns.”

Paul Farhi reports on How Ed Schultz transformed from MSNBC lefty to the American face of Moscow media: “In mid-2015, MSNBC handed Schultz his last paycheck. After six years on the air, the ratings of his daily program, “The Ed Show,” were soft and MSNBC was going for more news in Schultz’s time slot, not opinion. His daily radio show had ended the previous year. So Schultz went back to his lakefront home in Detroit Lakes, Minn., and took stock. At 61, after a lifetime in broadcasting, he concluded he wasn’t done. In early 2016, he returned to television, albeit in an unlikely place and role for a guy who once styled himself as a “prairie populist.” He became the lead news anchor for RT America, the domestic network of what was once known as Russia Today, a globe-spanning multimedia organization funded by the Russian government….Stanford professor Michael McFaul, the former American ambassador to Russia, calls RT “an instrument of the Russian state. Their mission is to advance the mission of Mr. Putin and the [Russian] government.” By mimicking the look and feel of an American newscast — even to the extent of permitting an occasional dissent from the Kremlin-centric line — RT is trying to “disguise” its real intent, he said. And Schultz is part of the strategy, says McFaul. “They put on a lot of Americans as hosts and journalists,” he said. “The idea is to obfuscate and confuse people about it being a government entity.”

Brian Stetler describes Team Trump tactics: Deny, conflate, confuse:

Robert McFadden reports that Eugene Cernan, Last Human to Walk on Moon, Dies at 82: “A ferocious competitor with a test pilot’s reckless streak, Mr. Cernan (pronounced SIR-nun) rocketed into space three times, was the second American to drift weightless around the world on a tether, went to the moon twice and shattered aerospace records on the Earth and the moon. He also slid down a banister on a visit to the White House and once crashed a helicopter in the Atlantic while chasing a dolphin. Skimming the lunar surface in a rehearsal for the first manned landing, he erupted with salty language heard by millions when his craft briefly spun out of control. But he made spacewalks and romps over the lunar surface look routine, and in a way they were. Three and a half years after Neil A. Armstrong took mankind’s first step onto the lunar surface in 1969, Mr. Cernan, a Navy captain and one of the nation’s most experienced astronauts, landed with a geologist-astronaut near the Sea of Serenity in the final chapter of the Apollo program, America’s audacious venture to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 pledge to put Americans on the moon.”

DJI World presents The Eagle Huntress (for see Aisholpan’s full story, see the SONY Pictures feature-length documentary The Eagle Huntress at http://sonyclassics.com/theeaglehuntress):

Daily Bread for 1.16.17

Good morning.

In Whitewater, the Martin Luther KIng Holiday will see freezing rain in the morning change to rain in the afternoon, with a high of thirty-three. Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:48 PM, for 9h 27m 12s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 81.3.% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the sixty-ninth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1547, Ivan IV Vasilyevich, Ivan the Terrible, is crowned as ‘Tsar of All the Russias’. On this day in 1863, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry occupies Kimbrough’s Cross Roads in Tennessee.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Christiano Lima reports that Pence denies contact between Trump campaign and Russia: “Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Sunday flatly denied any links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials. “I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and the associates were with the American people,” Pence told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes answer Why Are the Trump Allegations Hanging Around When They Haven’t Been Substantiated?: “Part of the explanation may also be that the salacious allegations and the reports of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence do not take place in a vacuum. They take place amidst the background of a great deal of public evidence of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian actors. Long prior to the election, remember, media outlets reported on links between Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and advisor Carter Page and questionable actors in and around Russia. Those reports led Manafort to resign as campaign manager and for the Trump team to disavow contact with Carter Page. Incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was photographed at an RT dinner in Moscow sitting at the same table as Vladimir Putin. Trump confident Roger Stone claimed ties to Wikileaks and Julian Assange, both of which are suspected of ties to Russia. In fact, the degree of coziness between the Trump team and Russia prompted us to write a somewhat tongue-in-cheek legal analysis on whether Trump qualifies as a Russian agent. So these reports are, at the very least, consistent in key thematic respects with verified public reporting.”

Rainer Buergin reports that Trump Calls NATO Obsolete and Dismisses EU in German Interview: “Trump’s reported comments leave little doubt that he will stick to campaign positions and may in some cases upend decades of U.S. foreign policy, putting him fundamentally at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues from free trade and refugees to security and the EU’s role in the world. On Russia, he suggested he might use economic sanctions imposed for Vladimir Putin’s encroachment on Ukraine as leverage in nuclear-arms reduction talks, while NATO, he said, “has problems.” “It’s obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago,” Trump was quoted as saying about the trans-Atlantic military alliance. “Secondly, countries aren’t paying what they should” and NATO “didn’t deal with terrorism.”

Dan Egan reports that As new pipelines stall on the Great Plains, oil pressure builds in the Great Lakes: “As pipeline protests have raged out West for the last decade, ever-growing volumes of North American oil have been discreetly flowing through the far more populous Great Lakes region, under its forests, rivers, ponds, wetlands, cities and towns and even, in one extreme case, across the bottom of the Great Lakes themselves. This is the story of what could be called the Great Lakes XXL — a swelling, invisible river of oil flowing through the world’s largest freshwater system at a time when other regions on the continent are rejecting the risk of new pipelines.”

Two divers go swimming with sharks off South Africa, and live to tell the tale —

Daily Bread for 1.15.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be a partly sunny day with a high of thirty-six. Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:47 PM, for 9h 25m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 88% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the sixty-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. is born. On this day in 1967, it’s Packers 35, Kansas City 10 in the first Super Bowl.

Recommended for reading in full — 

The AP reports on Ringling Bros. calling it quits after 146 years: “Ellenton, Fla. — After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May. The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.”

Michelle Goldberg thinks that Democrats Should Follow John Lewis’ Lead (but I don’t think her advice applies only to Democrats): “Lewis was speaking for many of us who are aghast at the way Trump benefited from Russian hacking and now appears to be returning the favor by taking a fawning stance toward Putin. He spoke for those of us who are shocked by the role of the FBI, which improperly publicized the reopening of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails but refuses to say whether it is investigating Trump’s ties with Russia. Trump lost the popular vote; he is president-elect only because the country values fidelity to the democratic process over popular democracy itself. (The Constitution, it turns out, may in fact be a suicide pact.) If the process itself was crooked—if Trump’s campaign colluded in any way with Russia—his legitimacy disappears. If he scorns the Constitution by, say, violating the Emoluments Clause, it disappears as well. A president who lost the popular vote, who may have cheated to win the Electoral College, and who will be contravening the Constitution the second he’s sworn in is due neither respect nor deference.”

Brian Buetler asks Who’s the Illegitimate President Now, Mr. Birtherism?: “But if it’s ironic that Trump rose to the pinnacle of global power on the strength of a failed campaign to delegitimize Obama, it’s also fitting that his own presidency will begin under a mix of suspicions and legitimacy questions that are very real and that Trump brought upon himself. Nobody who’s reasonable questions Trump’s eligibility for the presidency, but questions surrounding his entitlement to keep the job are widespread, and not just on the left-wing fringe. Birtherism may have been Trump’s accidental springboard to the presidency, but the next four years are set to express themselves as a continuous fight over the legitimacy of his presidency in ways that will make birtherism seem like a footnote.”

Sarah Oates describes How Russian ‘kompromat’ destroys political opponents, no facts required: “Kompromat has evolved well beyond the clumsy photo-editing of the Stalin era, when political opponents were carefully airbrushed out . Several opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Russian regime find themselves facing charges of possession of child pornography that they believe was planted by Russian operatives — in Russia, but also in Lithuania and Britain. Another tactic of choice involves sex tapes. In 2010, videos of Russian opposition journalists and politicians who had been filmed separately having sex with the same young Russian woman were leaked online. Last year, an opposition political party was damaged when a tape emerged of a married party leader having sex with an aide. Putin has been involved in such operations for years: In 1999, when he was the head of the FSB (the post-Soviet successor to the KGB), Putin reportedly helped then-President Boris Yeltsin to discredit and dismiss powerful prosecutor Yuri Skuratov, who had threatened to reveal which Russian officials were siphoning money to foreign bank accounts. When Yeltsin could not persuade the parliament to fire Skuratov, a video of the prosecutor — or at least a man who resembled him — having sex with prostitutes was aired on television. This all may sound like something out of “The Americans,” but it’s politics as usual in Russia.”

For a snowboarder in Canada, an inflatable backpack made all the difference:

Daily Bread for 1.14.17

Good morning.

Here in small town Whitewater we’ll have an increasingly sunny day with a high of thirty degrees. Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset is 4:46 PM, for 9h 23m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 94.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the sixty-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1963, George Wallace is sworn in as governor of Alabama, after which he delivers an inaugural address that vows “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” On this day in 1863, the 23rd Wisconsin leads an expedition to South Bend, Arkansas.

Recommended for reading in full —

Julie Pace [following a David Ignatius column in the Washington Post] reports on the longer-term meaning of a Top Trump aide in frequent contact with Russia’s ambassador: “More broadly, Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador suggests the incoming administration has already begun to lay the groundwork for its promised closer relationship with Moscow. That effort appears to be moving ahead, even as many in Washington, including Republicans, have expressed outrage over intelligence officials’ assessment that Putin launched a hacking operation aimed at meddling in the U.S. election to benefit Trump. During a news conference Wednesday, Trump pointedly would not say whether he planned to repeal the sanctions ordered by Obama. He again highlighted his warmer rapport with the Russian leader. “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia,” he said. The sanctions targeted the GRU and FSB, leading Russian intelligence agencies that the U.S. said were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other groups. The U.S. also kicked out 35 Russian diplomats who it said were actually intelligence operatives.”

Daniella Diaz reports that Trump [as if on cue] suggests he would be open to lifting sanctions on Russia: “Washington (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump suggested Friday he is open to lifting sanctions on Russia, though he plans to keep them for “at least a period of time”….”If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” he said in the interview.”

Aaron Blake demonstrates that Donald Trump’s team is running a misdirection campaign on Russian hacking: “For the first time in weeks, President-elect Donald Trump’s team has been able to play some offense when it comes to allegations of Russian hacking. BuzzFeed’s decision to publish a dossier full of unverified and sometimes over-the-top salacious claims commissioned by Trump’s political opponents has proven a controversial one, allowing Trump to credibly claim persecution by the media. But even as he and his advisers have found their footing a bit, they just can’t help but overextend themselves. In recent days, they’ve made claims and suggestions that just don’t square with the facts and/or strain credulity. It’s almost as if their boss’s tendency to bring a bazooka to a knife fight has filtered down. Below, a few examples….”

Jennifer Rubin writes that Jason Chaffetz defends warning letter to ethics chief: “Chaffetz’s passivity in the face of well-publicized concerns about the Emoluments Clause stands in stark contrast to his aggressive, self-initiating action during the Obama years. He is not alone. Indeed, the entire Republican House seems entirely uninterested in keeping its promise to act as a check on Trump. The oath they take is to defend the Constitution, an obligation which places on Chaffetz and other Republicans the responsibility to investigate, not sit idly by, if a week from today the president will be in violation of the clear text of the Constitution. If Republicans do not show more initiative in policing potential corruption and in preventing Trump from trampling on the Constitution, Democrats will have a solid argument in 2018 that a change in the House majority is necessary to curtail corruption and act as an independent check on the executive branch.”

Great Big Story depicts Harvesting Glaciers with the Last Ice Merchant: “For more than 50 years, Baltazar Ushca Tenesaca has been ascending Ecuador’s tallest mountain to harvest glacial ice. At one time, there were 40 or so ice merchants who made the daily trek up the active volcano. But now, only Ushca continues this 500-year-old tradition. And while the demand for ice isn’t as high as it once was, Tenesaca’s harvesting methods remain the same. Despite the challenges, this ice merchant is as dedicated to his work as ever.”

Harvesting Glaciers with the Last Ice Merchant | That’s Amazing from Great Big Story on Vimeo.


Daily Bread for 1.13.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of eighteen. Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 6:45 PM, for 9h 22m 05s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the sixty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 2012 the cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank after striking an underwater rock obstruction off Tuscany, killing thirty-three people. The ship’s captain was later found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to sixteen years in prison. On this day in 1922, WHA Radio, “the oldest station in the nation” is established in Madison.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Journalist and Trump critic Masha Gessen describes, in Russia, Trump & Flawed Intelligence, her skeptical assessment of a recently-released intelligence statement of Russian influence in the presidential election: “The election of Donald Trump is anomalous, both because of the campaign he ran and the peculiar vote mathematics that brought him victory. His use of fake news, his serial lying, his conning his way into free air time, his instrumentalization of partisanship and naked aggression certainly violated the norms of American democracy. But the intelligence report does nothing to clarify the abnormalities of Trump’s campaign and election. Instead, it risks perpetuating the fallacy that Trump is some sort of a foreign agent rather than a home-grown demagogue, while doing further damage to our faith in the electoral system. It also suggests that the US intelligence agencies’ Russia expertise is weak and throws into question their ability to process and present information—all this, two weeks before a man with no government experience but with a short Twitter fuse takes the oath of office.”

Michael Weiss recounts Russia’s Long History With Honey Traps—They Didn’t Start With Donald Trump: “In February 1999, [general prosecutor Yuri] Skuratov resigned, citing poor health, but it was later reported that Yeltsin had tried to “squeeze” him out of a job. The following month, Russia’s Federation Council, or upper chamber of parliament, rejected his resignation and issued a motion of confidence in his role. Then a video was released on state-controlled Rossiya TV channel showing a man who looked a lot like Skuratov cavorting with two prostitutes. In April, Yeltsin suspended Skuratov “during the period of the criminal investigation” into the video….The person in charge of the investigation into the tape’s provenance was Putin, then head of the FSB who, one might safely assume, ordered the filming of the event (vanilla by modern standards) if not the procurement of the working girls, too. In any event, Skuratov accused him of planting the tape, and journalist Pavel Sheremet (murdered last year in Ukraine) reported at the time that Putin arranged to have Skuratov quietly leave the prosecutor general’s office. In a televised press conference held in April that year, Putin and Russian Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin verified that it was indeed Skuratov in the video and that the orgy had been paid for by criminal suspects being investigated by Skuratov’s office. Skuratov was finally sacked in April 2000, following the Federation Council’s vote to dismiss him, following a year-long intra-government dispute over his future.”

Richard Wolffe writes that Trump’s trainwreck press conference ushers in a shambolic presidency: “After a rambling introduction about carmakers, veterans affairs and his inaugural celebrations, Trump finally arrived at his desired topic of the day: the non-resolution of the conflicts of interest that will embroil his presidency from now until he leaves the Oval Office. A table stacked with yellow envelopes was supposed to represent all the documents Trump signed to disentangle his business affairs from his presidency, by passing management control of the Trump Organization to his sons. Rather like a suitcase supposedly full of cash, it was hard to tell if any of the documents were real without, you know, releasing them to the press like his tax returns. Instead, we were forced to listen to his personal attorney assuring us there was a wall being built between the presidency and the Trump Organization. That wall is about as solid as Trump’s other proposed wall on the southern border, given that there is no divestment. Why not? As the Trump attorney explained, a fire sale of Trump assets would be unfair to the president-elect and it was impossible to find an independent trustee competent enough to do so anyway. Oh yes, and such a divestment would involve a lot of third-party debt, despite Trump’s claims that he has no debt.”

Rosie Gray reports that An Alt-Right Leader Sets Up Shop in Northern Virginia: “This month, [racist Richard] Spencer’s rebooting again: He is renting a “hub” for the alt-right movement in a townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia. Spencer and Jason Jorjani, the editor-in-chief of Arktos, a publishing arm associated with the alt-right, have bought the domain name altright.com. Spencer and Jorjani met at the conference for the National Policy Institute, Spencer’s innocuously named think tank, where attendees gave Nazi salutes as Spencer shouted “Hail Trump” from the stage. They quickly formed a bond, and are now joining forces to brand themselves as the intellectual leaders of the alt-right. Spencer’s new headquarters reflects his increasing effort to mainstream the alt-right as its preferred candidate prepares to enter the White House, and to cement himself as its leading voice….The pair imagine the space as a kind of office-salon hybrid for the alt-right, a private space where people in the movement can make videos, throw parties (there’s an outdoor patio) and work on the nascent website, which Spencer said would launch on Monday. The loft “is symbolic in that it is a headquarters of sorts,” Spencer said.”

What does the world look like to a polar bear? To find out, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded two polar bears trying to survive in the wild: