Daily Bread for 1.4.17

Good morning.

Here in Whitewater we’ll have a mostly sunny day with a high of thirteen. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:35 PM, for 9h 09m 53s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 35.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1896, Utah becomes America’s forty-fifth state. On this day in 1923, Milton College’s president, A.E. Whitford, bans dancing by students in off-campus, semi-public places such as confectionery stores.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Efforts to change ethics rules for the House of Representatives as the House Fires at Ethics and Shoots Self: “Even before the new Congress was sworn in on Tuesday, House Republicans made it clear that they had no real intention of draining the Washington swamp. They voted in secret on Monday to gut the one quasi-independent office that investigates House ethics. President-elect Donald Trump, who ran on a promise to drain the swamp, didn’t demand that they stop — he merely asked them to wait awhile. And that they did. Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia emerged as an architect of the G.O.P. miasmic agenda with his attack on the Office of Congressional Ethics. A rules change would have prevented the office, known as the O.C.E., from investigating potentially criminal allegations, allowed lawmakers on the House Ethics Committee to shut down any O.C.E. investigation and, for good measure, gagged the office’s staff members in their dealings with the news media. When the public learned about this plan, outraged constituents deluged House members with phone calls.”

Erin Richards reports that Parent demand drives growth in Montessori programs: “Montessori is an educational approach that features multi-age classrooms grouped into clusters of three grades, starting with 3-year-olds. Self-directed activity, hands-on learning, collaborative activities and tactile objects for exploration are key features of Montessori classrooms. Students generally have the same teacher for three years. Montessori has long been associated with private schools, but public options are proliferating. Whitescarver said there are about 520 public Montessori schools nationwide. Traction has picked up in places like Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Denver.”

Garry Kasparov writes that The U.S. doesn’t have a problem with Russia. It has a problem with Vladimir Putin: “When the entire U.S. intelligence community united to accuse Russia of tampering in the 2016 presidential election, it seemed redundant to later add that Vladimir Putin was directly involved. Nothing significant happens in Russia, and no action is taken by Russia, without the knowledge of the man who has held total power there for 17 years, first as president and later as unchallenged dictator. Having steadily eliminated every form of real political and social opposition in Russia, Putin turned his attacks on the foreign powers that could — should they decide to act — weaken his grip. The United States, in other words, doesn’t have a problem with Russia — it has a problem with Putin.”

Jay Rosen writes of Prospects for the American press under Trump, part two (he published part one on 12.28.16): “Being willing to start over is good, too. If I were running a big national desk in DC, I would try to zero-base the beat structure. Meaning: if you had no existing beats for covering national affairs in Donald Trump’s America, if you had to create them all from scratch, what would that system look like? Is that going to fix what’s broken in political journalism? Nope. But trying it might reveal possibilities that were harder to see before. So let me be clear about this: I don’t have solutions to what I described in part one. And I’m not saying my suggestions are equal to the task. They are not. Rather, this is what I can think of. I have a series of small ideas that might be worth trying and a larger one to spell out. I wish had better answers for you….”

Chas Pope recorded a time-lapse video of smog in Beijing on 1.1.17. It’s quite something:

 

Daily Bread for 1.3.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be overcast, with an even chance of rain and a high of thirty-six. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:34 PM, for 9h 08m 51s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 25.8% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

The Whitewater’s Fire Department has a scheduled business meeting at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1777, the Continental Army defeats the British at the Battle of Princeton. On this day in 1892, J.R.R. Tolkien is born.

Recommended for reading in full —

Fredrecka Schouten reports that House Republicans move to slash powers of ethics watchdog: “WASHINGTON – One day before the new Congress convenes, House Republicans voted Monday night to rein in an independent ethics office that investigates potential wrongdoing by lawmakers. The move guts a major piece of an ethics overhaul Congress undertook after several high-profile scandals sent lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others to federal prison. The independent Office of Congressional Ethics, launched in 2008 to address concerns that the lawmaker-run House Ethics Committee failed to adequately police members of Congress, now would be subject to oversight by the House Ethics Committee, under the proposed rules package adopted by Republican lawmakers. The new rules also would bar investigators from reviewing anonymous complaints against lawmakers.”

Peter Baker reports that Nixon Tried to Spoil Johnson’s Vietnam Peace Talks in ’68, Notes Show: “Richard M. Nixon told an aide that they should find a way to secretly “monkey wrench” peace talks in Vietnam in the waning days of the 1968 campaign for fear that progress toward ending the war would hurt his chances for the presidency, according to newly discovered notes….The Nixon campaign’s clandestine effort to thwart President Lyndon B. Johnson’s peace initiative that fall has long been a source of controversy and scholarship. Ample evidence has emerged documenting the involvement of Nixon’s campaign. But Mr. Haldeman’s notes appear to confirm longstanding suspicions that Nixon himself was directly involved, despite his later denials.”

Slawomir Sierakowski describes, from the recent experience of Poland, The Five Lessons of Populist Rule: “The restoration of “order.” Independent institutions are the most important enemy of populism. Populist leaders are control freaks. For populists, it is liberal democracy that leads to chaos, which must be “put in order” by a “responsible government.” Media pluralism leads to informational chaos. An independent judiciary means legal chaos. Independent public administration creates institutional chaos. And a robust civil society is a recipe for chronic bickering and conflict. But populists believe that such chaos does not emerge by itself. It is the work of perfidious foreign powers and their domestic puppets. To “make Poland great again,” the nation’s heroes must defeat its traitors, who are not equal contenders for power. Populist leaders are thus obliged to limit their opponents’ rights. Indeed, their political ideal is not order, but rather the subordination of all independent bases of power that could challenge them: courts, media, business, cultural institutions, NGOs, and so forth.”

George Friedman shows 5 maps that explain China’s strategy: “The sharp decline in Chinese stock markets on Monday is a reminder of two things. The first is the continued fragility of the Chinese market. The second is that any economic dysfunction has political implications, both in Chinese domestic and foreign policy. This, in turn, will affect Chinese economic performance. It is essential, therefore, to understand Chinese national strategy. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been portrayed as an increasingly aggressive country prepared to challenge the United States. At the same time, aside from relatively minor forays into the South and East China Seas, China has avoided significant involvement in the troubles roiling in the rest of Eurasia. There is a gap between what is generally expected of China and what China actually does. To understand what China’s actual national strategy is, it is helpful to follow the logic inherent in the following five maps….”

What’s Kimchi? It’s A Story of Love and Patience:

Kimchi: A Story of Love and Patience from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

Daily Bread for 1.2.17

Good morning.

Monday will see showers in Whitewater, with a high of thirty-nine. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:33 PM, for 9h 07m 53s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 17.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1492, the Nasrid dynasty’s Emirate of Granada surrenders to Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, ending all Islamic rule on the Iberian peninsula. On this day in 1918, the Wisconsin 127th and 128th Infantries depart for France from their training facility at Camp Arthur in Waco, Texas.

Recommended for reading in full —

Katie Sullivan writes that Morning Joe Hosts, After Carrying Water For Trump And Meeting Him Privately, Aghast That Anyone Questions Their Impartiality: “Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, have met privately with Donald Trump while Scarborough is reportedly advising the president-elect, yet both still reject media criticism of their overly positive coverage of the former reality show celebrity. On the November 29 edition of Morning Joe alone, the hosts carried water for President-elect Trump on five separate topics, including criticizing journalists for scrutinizing his extensive conflicts of interest and reporting on Pro-Trump ‘fake news.’ ”

Brooke Seipel reports on Trump’s solution to cyberattacks: Send info via courier: “President-elect Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday that messages “should be sent via courier like in the old days” to ensure security. “It’s very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old fashioned way because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe,” Trump responded when asked about the importance of cybersecurity, according to pool reporters. “I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe. I have a boy who’s 10 years old, he can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier,” Trump reiterated.”

Kevin Sack and Alan Blinder report that convicted mass-murderer Dylann Roof Himself Rejects Best Defense Against Execution: “I want state that I am morally opposed to psychology,” wrote the young white supremacist who would murder nine black worshipers at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., in June 2015. “It is a Jewish invention, and does nothing but invent diseases and tell people they have problems when they dont [sic].” Mr. Roof, who plans to represent himself when the penalty phase of his federal capital trial begins on Tuesday, apparently is devoted enough to that proposition (or delusion, as some maintain) to stake his life on it. Although a defense based on his psychological capacity might be his best opportunity to avoid execution, he seems steadfastly committed to preventing any public examination of his mental state or background.”

Daily Bread for 1.1.17

Good morning and Happy New Year.

The new year begins in Whitewater with partly sunny skies and a high of thirty-seven. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:32 PM, for 9h 06m 58s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 10.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1808, the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 (2 Stat. 426, enacted March 2, 1807) takes effect. On this day in 1863, Pres. Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.

Recommended for reading in full —

John Gurda writes of Making America hate again? It’s a very old story: “Time after time, and without surrendering our national security, Americans of longer tenure have put hatred aside and allowed newcomers to find their way. We have done so grudgingly, more often than not, and rarely without conflict, but the result is a society richer for the presence of all of us. The alternative is not just impoverishing but chilling. What if we really were able to shut our doors and close our windows? In the 1850s, during an especially virulent outbreak of nativism, the aptly named Know Nothing Party rose to prominence as one of the first groups pledged to “keep America American.” Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, expressed grave misgivings in an 1855 letter to a friend. His words sound eerily familiar in 2017, as we prepare to inaugurate a president who openly admires Vladimir Putin. “Our progress in degeneracy,” Lincoln wrote, “appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

In the defense blog War on the Rocks, Andrew Weisburd, Clint Watts, and JM Berger write of Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy: “Russia’s honeypots, hecklers, and hackers have run amok for at least two years, achieving unprecedented success in poisoning America’s body politic and creating deep dissent, including a rise in violent extremist activity and visibility. Posting hundreds of times a day on social media, thousands of Russian bots and human influence operators pump massive amounts of disinformation and harassment into public discourse. This “computational propaganda,” a term coined by Philip Howard, has the cumulative effect of creating Clayton A. Davis at Indiana University calls a “majority illusion, where many people appear to believe something ….which makes that thing more credible.” The net result is an American information environment where citizens and even subject-matter experts are hard-pressed to distinguish fact from fiction. They are unsure who to trust and thus more willing to believe anything that supports their personal biases and preferences.”

Eli Saslow describes The white flight of Derek Black: “Every day since then [an argument with white nationalist relatives], Derek had been working to put distance between himself and his past. He was still living across the country after finishing his master’s degree, and he was starting to learn Arabic to be able to study the history of early Islam. He hadn’t spoken to anyone in white nationalism since his defection, aside from occasional calls home to his parents. Instead, he’d spent his time catching up on aspects of pop culture he’d once been taught to discredit: liberal newspaper columns, rap music and Hollywood movies. He’d come to admire President Obama. He decided to trust the U.S. government. He started drinking tap water. He had taken budget trips to Barcelona, Paris, Dublin, Nicaragua and Morocco, immersing himself in as many cultures as he could.”

Amy Wang reports that Anthony Bourdain bashes fellow ‘privileged Eastern liberals’ for making Trump win possible: “The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now,” Bourdain told Reason [Magazine]….Bourdain has made, well, no reservations about his disdain for Trump — or for those who choose to do business with him. In a recent interview with Eater, Bourdain said he had “utter and complete contempt” for restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone, who announced in November he would open a sushi restaurant at Trump’s hotel in Washington. “I will never eat in his restaurant,” Bourdain declared in that interview. He expressed similar feelings about chef David Burke, who said he would take over another space at the same hotel after José Andrés pulled out. “Burke’s a steaming loaf of s—, as far as I’m concerned, and feel free to quote me,” Bourdain told Eater.”

Let’s have something animated to begin the new year, from Yulia Mikushina —

new year 2017 ( sand animation) from Yulia Mikushina on Vimeo.

Daily Bread for 12.31.16

Good morning.

The last day of 2016 in Whitewater will be cloudy in the morning, but a bit sunnier in the afternoon, with a high of thirty-five. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:31 PM, for 9h 06m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 5.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1879, at Menlo Park, Thomas Edison holds the first public demonstration of an incandescent light bulb; “[i]t was during this time that he said: ‘We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.’[61]”  On this day in 1967, the Packers defeat the Cowboys, 21-17, in what amounted to an Ice Bowl (the game had a temperature of 13 below zero and a wind chill of 46 below zero).

Recommended for reading in full — 

Mark Sommerhauser writes that As Donald Trump eyes infrastructure spending, state leaders assess impact for Wisconsin. Waiting for Trump to pour money into Wisconsin may prove a long wait: “Most recently, some D.C. lobbyists have begun to question Trump’s basic commitment to an infrastructure plan. Trump, in a post-election interview with The New York Times, seemed to back away from the issue, saying infrastructure won’t be a “core” part of the first few years of his administration. Trump acknowledged that he didn’t realize during the campaign that New Deal-style proposals to put people to work building infrastructure might conflict with his party’s small-government philosophy. “That’s not a very Republican thing — I didn’t even know that, frankly,” Trump said.”

The Washington Post‘s editorial board states the obvious, in Trump refuses to face reality about Russia: “Mr. Trump has been frank about his desire to improve relations with Russia, but he seems blissfully untroubled by the reasons for the deterioration in relations, including Russia’s instigation of an armed uprising in Ukraine, its seizure of Crimea, its efforts to divide Europe and the crushing of democracy and human rights at home. Why is Mr. Trump so dismissive of Russia’s dangerous behavior? Some say it is his lack of experience in foreign policy, or an oft-stated admiration for strongmen, or naivete about Russian intentions. But darker suspicions persist. Mr. Trump has steadfastly refused to be transparent about his multibillion-dollar business empire. Are there loans or deals with Russian businesses or the state that were concealed during the campaign? Are there hidden communications with Mr. Putin or his representatives? We would be thrilled to see all the doubts dispelled, but Mr. Trump’s odd behavior in the face of a clear threat from Russia, matched by Mr. Putin’s evident enthusiasm for the president-elect, cannot be easily explained.”

Jim Henry writes persuasively of The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections: “Even before the November 8 election, many leading Democrats were vociferously demanding that the FBI disclose the fruits of its investigations into Putin-backed Russian hackers. Instead FBI Director Comey decided to temporarily revive his zombie-like investigation of Hillary’s emails. That decision may well have had an important impact on the election, but it did nothing to resolve the allegations about Putin. Even now, after the CIA has disclosed an abstract of its own still-secret investigation, it is fair to say that we still lack the cyberspace equivalent of a smoking gun.Fortunately, however, for those of us who are curious about Trump’s Russian connections, there is another readily accessible body of material that has so far received surprisingly little attention. This suggests that whatever the nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s relationship with President Putin, he has certainly managed to accumulate direct and indirect connections with a far-flung private Russian/FSU [former Soviet Union] network of outright mobsters, oligarchs, fraudsters, and kleptocrats.”

Conservative David Frum describes How Trump Made Russia’s Hacking More Effective: “Without Trump’s own willingness to make false claims and misuse Russian-provided information, the Wikileaks material would have deflated of its own boringness. The Russian-hacked material did damage because, and only because, Russia found a willing accomplice in the person of Donald J. Trump. Many questions remain about how the Russian spy services did what they did. That includes Putin’s motives for ordering the operation. But on issues from Crimea to Syria to NATO to the breakup of the European Union, Trump’s publicly expressed views align with Putin’s wishes. Over Trump’s motives for collaborating so full-throatedly with Russian espionage, there hangs a greater and more disturbing mystery—a mystery that Trump seems in no hurry to dispel. And maybe he is wise to leave the mystery in place: as delegitimizing as it is, it’s very possible the truth would be even worse.”

Admittedly, I’m not an admirer of champagne, but this recipe for a champagne cocktail is intriguing, indeed, agreeably bewitching:

Daily Bread for 12.30.16

Good morning.

Whitewater’s week ends with partly cloudy skies and a high of twenty-nine. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:30 PM, for 9h 05m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this dayin 1940, California’s first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway, opens. On this day in 1922, authorities in Madison confiscate 1,200 gallons of mash and fifteen gallons of moonshine from the home of a suspected bootlegger.

Recommended for reading in full —

Hungarian author Miklos Haraszti writes I watched a populist leader rise in my country. That’s why I’m genuinely worried for America: “Hungary, my country, has in the past half-decade morphed from an exemplary post-Cold War democracy into a populist autocracy. Here are a few eerie parallels that have made it easy for Hungarians to put Donald Trump on their political map: Prime Minister Viktor Orban has depicted migrants as rapists, job-stealers, terrorists and “poison” for the nation, and built a vast fence along Hungary’s southern border. The popularity of his nativist agitation has allowed him to easily debunk as unpatriotic or partisan any resistance to his self-styled “illiberal democracy,” which he said he modeled after “successful states” such as Russia and Turkey. No wonder Orban feted Trump’s victory as ending the era of “liberal non-democracy,” “the dictatorship of political correctness” and “democracy export.” The two consummated their political kinship in a recent phone conversation; Orban is invited to Washington, where, they agreed, both had been treated as “black sheep.” ”

Andrew Kramer reports How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers for Its Cyberwar: “For more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia’s criminal underworld for potential talent. Those recruits were intended to cycle through military contracting companies and newly formed units called science squadrons established on military bases around the country.”

Reporter David Fahrenthold tells the behind-the-scenes story of his year covering Trump (leading to Fahrenthold’s discovery of corruption within the Trump’s Foundation): “So by the time the New Hampshire primaries were over, the candidates I had covered were kaput. I needed a new beat. While I pondered what that would be, I decided to do a short story about the money Trump had raised for veterans. I wanted to chase down two suspicions I’d brought home with me from that event in Iowa. For one thing, I thought Trump might have broken the law by improperly mixing his foundation with his presidential campaign. I started calling experts. “I think it’s pretty clear that that’s over the line,” Marc S. Owens, the former longtime head of the Internal Revenue Service’s nonprofit division, told me when I called him.”

James Palmer describes What China Didn’t Learn From the Collapse of the Soviet Union: “The hostility toward the color revolutions and the chaos they’ve unleashed has thus been projected backward. The Soviet fall, once seen at least in part as a result of the Communist Party’s own failings, has become reinterpreted as a deliberate U.S. plot and a moral failure to hold the line against Western influence. That has ended what was once a powerful spur to reform — meaning that, barring a major change in leadership, the likely course of Chinese politics over the next few years will be further xenophobia, even more power to the party, and an unwillingness to talk about the harder lessons of history.”

What’s inside a tapestry factory? This is —

Daily Bread for 12.29.16

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be overcast and windy, with a high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:29 PM, for 9h 04m 40s of daytime. The moon is new, with .1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fifty-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

It’s the birthday (12.29.1766) of Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist and inventor of waterproof fabric: “His experiments with one of the by-products of tar, naphtha, led to his invention of waterproof fabric, the essence of his patent was the cementing of two thicknesses of cloth together with natural rubber, the rubber is made soluble by the action of the naphtha. In 1823 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, for his chemical discoveries.”

Recommended for reading in full —

For Wisconsin, Patrick Marley reports Major road delays in store: “Madison — If Wisconsin officials don’t put more money toward roads, the full Zoo Interchange won’t be completed until 2020, the north-south portion of I-94 until 2025 and the east-west section of I-94 until 2029, a report released Wednesday found. A related consultant’s report — which cost nearly $1 million — found that the state could take in hundreds of millions of dollars a year from tolling drivers on Wisconsin interstates but that state officials would face difficulties getting federal approval and raising the money necessary to launch such tolling. Together, the reports underscore many of the points Gov. Scott Walker and lawmakers have long known about the challenges to funding Wisconsin’s highways. They were issued a day after Walker’s transportation secretary, Mark Gottlieb, announced he would step down next week.”

Jay Rosen writes that Winter is coming: prospects for the American press under Trump (it’s the first of two parts, with part one listing 26 points): “For a free press as a check on power this is the darkest time in American history since World War I, when there was massive censorship and suppression of dissent. I say this because so many things are happening at once to disarm and disable serious journalism, or to push it out of the frame. Most of these are well known, but it helps to put them all together. Here is my list: 1. An economic crisis in (most) news companies, leaving the occupation of journalism in a weakened state, especially at the state and local level, where newsrooms have been decimated by the decline of the newspaper business. The digital money is going to Google and Facebook, but they do not have newsrooms….”

Nathanael Johnson asks Can capitalism, conservation, and cosmopolitanism coexist?:  “When people have to make short-term, urgent decisions to survive, the natural world suffers. The poverty that forces such decisions renders both land and people vulnerable to exploitation. Where there is prosperity, by contrast, there are institutions to protect natural resources. Historically, there’s only one way large numbers of people have escaped poverty:An economic transformation from an agrarian majority to a modern economy where just a few farmers feed everyone else. Farms become more productive, people move to cities, incomes rise, forests rebound, women gain power, and populations level off.”

Alana Semuels writes that It’s Not About the Economy (‘In an increasingly polarized country, even economic progress can’t get voters to abandon their partisan allegiance’): “This city exemplifies the economic recovery the country has experienced since the Great Recession ended. Elkhart’s unemployment rate, which had reached a high of 22 percent in March of 2009, is now at 3.9 percent. Hiring signs dot the doors of the Wal-Mart, the McDonald’s, and the Long John Silver’s. The RV industry makes 65 percent of its vehicles in Elkhart, and the industry is producing a record number of vehicles, which is creating a lot of jobs in this frosty town in northern Indiana….But despite the decisions that the Obama administration made that might have helped Elkhart, many people here have a strong dislike of Obama, who presided over an economic recovery in which the unemployment rate fell nationally to 4.6 percent from a high of 10 percent in October 2009. They say it’s not Obama who is responsible for the city or the country’s economic progress, and furthermore, that the economy won’t truly start to improve until President-elect Donald Trump takes office.”

A video from Tech Insider explains the origins of seven brand names

Daily Bread for 12.28.16

Good morning.

Midweek in this small Midwestern college town will be cloudy with a high of forty degrees. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset is 4:29 PM, for 9h 04m 02s of daytime. The moon is new today, with just .5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the fiftieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1973, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn publishes The Gulag Archipelago in the West.

For reading in full —

Patrick Marley reports that Wisconsin’s Transportation Secretary Gottlieb to step down: “Madison — Gov. Scott Walker’s transportation secretary is stepping down less than a month after he told lawmakers Wisconsin’s roads would worsen under the GOP governor’s plans. Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb will retire Jan. 6 and be replaced by Dave Ross, a former mayor of Superior who now serves as Walker’s safety and professional services secretary, according to the governor’s office. Gottlieb has served as transportation secretary since Walker was inaugurated in 2011. A civil engineer, Gottlieb has at times called for increasing taxes and fees to pay for highways. That’s a different approach than the one Walker has touted in recent years. Walker has said he will not raise gas taxes or vehicle fees unless an equivalent cut is made in other taxes. Gottlieb has gone along with that plan, but this month acknowledged it would result in doubling the number of roads in poor condition over the next decade. He made those comments in testimony to the Assembly Transportation Committee.”

Thanassis Cambanis reports that Moscow is ready to rumble: “Incoming President Donald Trump, meanwhile, appears willing to grant Russia the official recognition that Putin has always craved. Trump and Putin — two macho leaders with empire-sized egos — tempt analysts to reduce the US-Russia relationship to personalities. But the unfolding clash stems from essentials. Russia has considerable hard power, starting with its nuclear arsenal and enormous territory. Its interests conflict with those of the United States and frequently of Europe, through tsarist and Soviet times down to the present. And finally, Moscow’s acerbic rhetoric and commitment to sovereignty and consistency place it in constant opposition in international forums to the United States, with its moralistic style and constant talk of human rights and democracy. “Putin is about restoring his country as a major power recognized by the world,” said Dmitri V. Trenin, a former officer in the Soviet and Russian armies who now heads the Carnegie Moscow Center, an international think tank.”

John Broich describes How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler: “By the later 1930s, most U.S. journalists realized their mistake in underestimating Hitler or failing to imagine just how bad things could get. (Though there remained infamous exceptions, like Douglas Chandler, who wrote a loving paean to “Changing Berlin” for National Geographic in 1937.) Dorothy Thompson, who judged Hitler a man of “startling insignificance” in 1928, realized her mistake by mid-decade when she, like Mowrer, began raising the alarm. “No people ever recognize their dictator in advance,” she reflected in 1935. “He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will.” Applying the lesson to the U.S., she wrote, “When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.”

Rebecca Ruiz reports that Russians No Longer Dispute Olympic Doping Operation: “MOSCOW — Russia is for the first time conceding that its officials carried out one of the biggest conspiracies in sports history: a far-reaching doping operation that implicated scores of Russian athletes, tainting not just the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi but also the entire Olympic movement….A lab director tampered with urine samples at the Olympics and provided cocktails of performance-enhancing drugs, corrupting some of the world’s most prestigious competitions. Members of the Federal Security Service, a successor to the K.G.B., broke into sample bottles holding urine. And a deputy sports minister for years ordered cover-ups of top athletes’ use of banned substances.”

Dr. Seuss put rhymes to good use

Daily Bread for 12.27.16

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Tuesday will be mostly cloudy with a high of twenty-eight. Sunrise is 7:24 AM and sunset 4:28 PM, for 9h 03m 30s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 2.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

 

On this day in 1900, fanatical activist Carrie (Carry) Nation took “her campaign against alcohol to Wichita, Kansas, when she smashed the bar at the elegant Carey Hotel. Earlier that year, Nation had abandoned the nonviolent agitation of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in favor of direct action that she called “hatchetation.” Since the Kansas Constitution prohibited alcohol, Nation argued that destroying saloons was an acceptable means of battling the state’s flourishing liquor trade.”

 

Worth reading in full — 

Cara Lombardo and Dee J. Hall report on Failure at the Faucet: Lead in schools, day care centers: “Water from four West Middleton Elementary School faucets taken Sept. 1, the first day of school, had tested high for levels of lead or copper. As a safety precaution, the school would provide bottled water to students until the issue was resolved. Corrigan — whose daughters Brooklyn and Carly are in first and fourth grades — thought little of the news, partly because the email told parents of students at the school west of Madison that it was “highly unlikely” that the water was unsafe to drink. But one faucet at West Middleton had more than six times the federal action level of 15 parts per billion of lead and nearly 19 times the federal action level of 1,300 ppb of copper. Other faucets showed a presence of lead. Any amount of lead can cause permanent brain damage, including reduced intelligence and behavioral problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Infants and children are considered the most vulnerable to lead’s negative effects.”

Don Behm reports that Coal tar [is the] main source of toxicity in streams: “Coal-tar sealants applied to blacktop parking lots and driveways are the primary source of toxic chemicals found in the muck at the bottom of Milwaukee-area waterways, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Tests of muck samples collected at 40 locations along 19 creeks and rivers in the metropolitan area, and dust from six parking lots, found that coal-tar sealants contributed up to 94% of all polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, in streambed sediment, says the study published last week  in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Fully 78% of the samples contained enough PAHs to be considered toxic and capable of causing adverse effects in aquatic animals, said Austin Baldwin, a USGS scientist and lead author of the study. The most toxic sediment came from Lincoln Creek and Underwood Creek.”

Jeremy Peters reports how Wielding Claims of ‘Fake News,’ Conservatives Take Aim at Mainstream Media: “WASHINGTON — The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as “left-wing fake news“….Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself, incredulous about suggestions that fake stories may have helped swing the election, have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.”

Steve Inskeep offers (with 16 criteria) How To Tell Fake News From Real News In ‘Post-Truth’ Era: “Hazardous as the post-trust era may be, it shouldn’t cause despair. It’s all right for Americans to be skeptical of what they read and hear. How could I say otherwise? I’m a journalist. It’s my job to question what I hear. While I shouldn’t cynically dismiss everything people tell me, I should ask for evidence and avoid buying into bogus narratives. Being a skeptical reporter has made me a more skeptical news consumer….”

The planet’s had numerous earthquakes over the last fifteen years, and scientists have created an animated map to show the ‘quakes epicenters:

Daily Bread for 12.26.16

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Monday will be partly cloudy with a high of forty-five. (The average December high is thirty-one.) Sunrise is 7:24 AM and sunset 4:27 PM, for 9h 03m 01s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 6.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1776, having crossed the Delaware, Washington is victorious at Trenton:

Battle of Trenton, Hugh Charles McBarron, Jr.

“At 4:00 am, the soldiers began to march towards Trenton.[31] Along the way, several civilians joined as volunteers, and led as guides (see Captain John Mott) because of their knowledge of the terrain.[32] After marching 1.5 miles (2.4 km) through winding roads into the wind, they reached Bear Tavern, where they turned right.[33] The ground was slippery, but it was level, making it easier for the horses and artillery. They began to make better time.[33] They soon reached Jacobs Creek, where, with difficulty, the Americans made it across.[34] The two groups stayed together until they reached Birmingham, where they split apart.[8] Soon after, they reached the house of Benjamin Moore, where the family offered food and drink to Washington.[35] At this point, the first signs of daylight began to appear.[35] Many of the troops did not have boots, so they were forced to wear rags around their feet. Some of the men’s feet bled, turning the snow to a dark red. Two men died on the trip.[36]

As they marched, Washington rode up and down the line, encouraging the men to continue.[27] General Sullivan sent a courier to tell Washington that the weather was wetting his men’s gunpowder. Washington responded, “Tell General Sullivan to use the bayonet. I am resolved to take Trenton.”[37]

Worth reading in full — 

It’s December 26th, 2016, after a long but revealing political campaign, yet at the State Journal, ‘Two Minutes with Mitch Henck’ concludes that Donald Trump could really turn on the pressHenck uses the word could the way people with a proper grasp of English use has, is, and will continue.  (Admittedly, Henck’s not sucking on his thumb while speaking of Trump’s conduct, but that’s only because Henck couldn’t speak at all if he did so.)

At Cato, Neal McCluskey asks [concerning a report from Sightlines]  Do Colleges Have an Edifice Complex, an Amenities Arms Race, or Both?: “Essentially, the report says that colleges have been on a big building binge, but enrollment has been stagnant or declining….The basic math is concerning: Greater capital costs, plus decreasing revenue, equals trouble. Has the building boom been driven by an edifice complex — college presidents and faculty love new buildings all over campus that are imposing, cutting edge, or both — or an amenities arms race to bring in students? The report says that for decades, college construction has focused more on creating non-academic than academic space, and about half of all college space today is for non-academic use. It’s a classic arms race: Colleges frightened of losing tuition dollars feel constant pressure to spend on expensive facilities to compete for students, in the process greatly increasing the danger of becoming even more insecure financially, maybe hopelessly so.”

(One reads all this with concern, not because one doubts university life, but with a love for it, from a family that has always loved it, because that life derives strength primarily from substantive learning, and secondarily in a socialization that has no capital cost.)

Sergei Guriev writes that In Russia, It’s Not the Economy, Stupid: “Thanks partly to its near-complete control of the press, television and the internet, the government has developed a grand narrative about Russia’s role in the world — essentially promoting the view that Russians may need to tighten their belts for the good of the nation. The story has several subplots. Russian speakers in Ukraine need to be defended against neo-Nazis. Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad of Syria because he is a rampart against the Islamic State, and it has helped liberate Aleppo from terrorists. Why would the Kremlin hack the Democratic Party in the United States? And who believes what the C.I.A. says anyway?”

Philip Rucker and Robert Barnes report that Trump to inherit more than 100 court vacancies, plans to reshape judiciary: “The estimated 103 judicial vacancies that President Obama is expected to hand over to Trump in the Jan. 20 transition of power is nearly double the 54 openings Obama found eight years ago following George W. Bush’s presidency. Confirmation of Obama’s judicial nominees slowed to a crawl after Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015. Obama White House officials blame Senate Republicans for what they characterize as an unprecedented level of obstruction in blocking the Democratic president’s court picks. The result is a multitude of openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts that will allow the new Republican president to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments.”

Tech Insider reports on The 5 biggest tech controversies of 2016:

Daily Bread for 12.24.16

Good morning.

Christmas Eve in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of thirty-five. Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:26 PM, for 9h 02m 16s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 19.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1968, astronauts orbit the moon ten times before returning to Earth: “Apollo 8 took three days to travel to the Moon. It orbited ten times over the course of 20 hours, during which the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast where they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever. Apollo 8’s successful mission paved the way for Apollo 11 to fulfill U.S. President John F. Kennedy‘s goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s. The Apollo 8 astronauts returned to Earth on December 27, 1968, when their spacecraft splashed down in the Northern Pacific Ocean. The crew was named Time magazine‘s “Men of the Year” for 1968 upon their return.”

Worth reading in full — 

Jason Stein reports that, concerning a high-level state administrator who sought to evade the public records law, Panel upholds firing of ex-Corrections secretary: “Madison — Former state Corrections secretary Ed Wall knowingly sought to evade Wisconsin’s open records law, a state panel found in upholding his firing. In a six-page opinion this month, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission threw out Wall’s appeal of his dismissal from a backup job by Attorney General Brad Schimel earlier this year. The case was an unexpected outgrowth of the controversy over abuses at a juvenile prison that worsened under Wall’s watch as corrections head….”Here Wall understood that the document indeed was a public record and that the only way to avoid the required disclosure was to unlawfully keep it ‘strictly between you and me’ as Wall proposed,” the panel’s decision reads. “Once the communication was disclosed, the attorney general had no choice but to terminate Wall. The action of a high-level administrator attempting to evade the law would significantly undermine the (Department of Justice) had lesser discipline been imposed.”

It should come as no surprise, as Philip Rucker reports in Trump tweets praise of Putin for attack on Clinton, that a would-be autocrat loves a Russian one more than his own people: “WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President-elect Donald Trump late Friday publicly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for attacking Trump’s former Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. In a striking statement that seems to further align Trump with Putin, the incoming U.S. president tweeted that he agreed with the Russian leader’s assessment that Clinton and the Democratic Party generally have not shown “dignity” following widespread loses in the November election. “So true!” Trump tweeted of Putin’s comments, apparently referencing statements the Russian made at his year-end news conference.”

Earlier yesterday, as Harper Neidig reports, Trump share[d] letter from Putin: ‘His thoughts are so correct’: “President-elect Donald Trump on Friday praised Vladimir Putin and shared a Christmas letter the Russian president sent him. “A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct,” Trump said in a statement. “I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”

On reads that Carl Paladino, Trump Ally [co-chair of Trump’s New York state campaign], Wishes Obama Dead of Mad Cow Disease in ’17: “Mr. Paladino’s comments were published in Artvoice, a weekly Buffalo newspaper. They came in response to an open-ended feature in which local figures were asked about their hopes for 2017. “Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford,” said Mr. Paladino, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, making an apparent reference to the Hereford cattle breed. He said he hoped the disease killed the president. Asked what he most wanted to see “go away” in the new year, Mr. Paladino — who has a reputation in New York political and business circles for speaking in an unfiltered manner reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s — answered, “Michelle Obama.” “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” he said.”

At the Toronto Zoo, it’s a Giant Panda vs. a Snowman:

Daily Bread for 12.23.16

Good morning.

Whitewater will see snow today, of no more than a few inches of accumulation, and a daytime high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:37 AM and sunset is 4:25 PM, for 9h 02m 00s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 27.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1783, Gen. George Washington resigns his commission as commanding general of the Continental Army.  On this day in 1865, after years of service to the Union (Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee), the 1th Wisconsin Infantry returns home.

Worth reading in full — 

Jennifer Rubin observes that The House GOP agenda is already out of date: “The House GOP agenda rests on two flawed assumptions: (1) We are on the brink of a recession, and (2) Obamacare has to be repealed at all costs, as soon as possible.

Republicans seems to have bought into President-elect Donald Trump’s portrait of American dystopia. It may have worked to gin up votes among those concentrated in disintegrating communities and lacking requisite skills to thrive in a 21st-century economy. This does not make their plight any less compelling or diminish the need to attend to pockets of distress, but they are not representative of the country as a whole. It is hard to claim the country is tipping into depression when you look at the latest data:

Gross domestic product, a broad measure of the goods and services produced across the economy, expanded at an inflation- and seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The rate was revised up from last month’s 3.2% estimate, and is the strongest quarterly pace of growth in two years.”

Kellyanne Conway will be a counselor to the president, but Long Before Trump, Kellyanne Conway Worked for Anti-Muslim and Anti-Immigrant Extremists: “After years in the political wilderness, extremist groups have gained new relevance, thanks to Trump’s victory. But Conway, who is now a senior adviser to the president-elect and is likely to run an outside group to support Trump’s agenda, has for years done work for some of these organizations, lending her polling expertise to their causes and helping them shape their messaging….Following the Paris terrorist attacks in late 2015, then-candidate Trump announced his plan to ban all Muslims from entering the United States until US leaders “can figure out what is going on.” To justify his proposal, he cited a flawed poll from June 2015 that portrayed American Muslims as increasingly radical. According to this poll, 51 percent of Muslims in the United States believe they should have the choice to be governed by Shariah law (Islamic religious law) instead of US laws, and nearly 20 percent believe “the use of violence in the United States is justified in order to make Shariah the law of the land in this country.”Conway’s firm, The Polling Company, conducted this poll for the Center for Security Policy….”

Nico Savidge reports on the resposne of a national Free speech group: Lawmakers’ push to end UW-Madison course is ‘definition of censorship’: “Warnings from two Republican lawmakers that the University of Wisconsin System’s budget could be affected if UW-Madison does not cancel a planned course on racism amount to an unconstitutional attempt to stifle free speech, according to a national anti-censorship group. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which tracks campus speech policies at colleges and universities across the country and criticizes efforts to limit First Amendment rights, said the statements this week from state Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, and Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, threaten academic freedom….The anti-censorship organization — which often draws praise from conservatives who warn of what they call restrictive campus speech policies put in place by left-leaning academics — countered that it was inappropriate for lawmakers to try to shut a course down because they disagreed with it.”

What’s popular in Wisconsin? Chelsey Lewis writes that Taco dip, gingerbread are some of Wisconsin’s favorite holiday foods: “What do you call a Wisconsin party without taco dip? A failure. The party staple is the most popular “holiday” recipe searched for by Wisconsin web users on General Mills’ sites, which include BettyCrocker.com and Pillsbury.com. General Mills looked at the search data across its websites from the holiday season and compiled a list of the most popular and unique holiday food traditions in each state.”

Go ahead, Sit with Santa at the Arctic Circle

Daily Bread for 12.22.16

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of thirty-two. Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:25 PM, for 9h 01m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 35.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Fire Department will hold a scheduled business meeting at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1864, Gen. Sherman offers a Christmas gift to Pres. Lincoln, and the president later replies with gratitude:

Sherman telegraphed to President Lincoln, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.”[15] On December 26, the president replied in a letter:[16]

Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift – the capture of Savannah. When you were leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that ‘nothing risked, nothing gained’ I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is all yours; for I believe none of us went farther than to acquiesce. And taking the work of Gen. Thomas into the count, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantage; but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the whole—Hood’s army—it brings those who sat in darkness, to see a great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safer if I leave Gen. Grant and yourself to decide. Please make my grateful acknowledgements to your whole army, officers and men.

Worth reading in full —

Oleg Kashin writes of Rex Tillerson’s Special Friend in the Kremlin: “[Head of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company Igor I. ] Sechin is not just the chief executive of Rosneft, he is also one of the heroes of contemporary Russian politics. He is believed to have served as a K.G.B. agent in Africa and had no real experience in the business world until he was over 40. He didn’t come to lead the state oil company because of his business acumen; he earned his position through his loyalty to Mr. Putin. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Sechin aligned himself with Mr. Putin, another former K.G.B. officer, as he began consolidating power in post-Soviet politics. Everywhere Mr. Putin went, Mr. Sechin was by his side as a trusted aide and adviser.”

Well, she’s found an inside job after all, as Kellyanne Conway, ‘Trump Whisperer,’ Will Be Counselor to President: ”She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message,” Mr. Trump said. “I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing.” Ms. Conway stood by Mr. Trump after a 2005 video surfaced in which he spoke in vulgar terms about groping women, proving her loyalty and helping to secure her position as someone who will have the president’s ear on a wide variety of topics. Ms. Conway has been a favorite strategist for conservative candidates, such as Newt Gingrich in the 2012 presidential race, and she was an adviser to Vice President-elect Mike Pence in his run for governor of Indiana.”

Steve Reilly of USA Today reports that some Teachers who sexually abuse students still find classroom jobs: “When it came time to deal with the Orangefield High School football coach, administrators didn’t fire McFarlin or report him to police. They didn’t even notify Texas education officials who had the power to take away his teaching license. Instead, they let him become someone else’s problem. They hid his behavior from state regulators, parents and coaches. All McFarlin had to do was go teach somewhere else. “This incident does not have to end McFarlan’s (sic) career,” school district attorney Karen Johnson wrote in a letter in 2005 to then-superintendent Mike Gentry. In the letter, Johnson recommended the district negotiate “a graceful exit” for the teacher. Less than two years later, McFarlin, then 38, landed a job at a nearby school district, where no one had any idea about his past problems. In 2011, he had sex with one of his students, a 16-year-old girl.”

Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty report that Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He’s seeking ‘the look.’: “Trump’s closest aides have come to accept that he is likely to rule out candidates if they are not attractive or not do not match his image of the type of person who should hold a certain job. “That’s the language he speaks. He’s very aesthetic,” said one person familiar with the transition team’s internal deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “You can come with somebody who is very much qualified for the job, but if they don’t look the part, they’re not going anywhere.” Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state. “Donald was not going to like that mustache,” said one associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. “I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.”

Chefs in Chicago are helping make ‘elite’ cuisine approachable:

While New York might be the city most known for excellent cuisine, the food scene in Chicago is increasingly innovative and vibrant, especially on the weekends. At EL Ideas restaurant, people pay a fixed price for a unique and interactive experiences. For example, guests eat the first course of caviar by licking it off their plate, no silverware allowed. “Chicago is an exciting food town,” says Phillip Foss, the chef and owner of EL Ideas. “Chefs here in Chicago are actually pushing a little bit harder to explore the boundaries of what a restaurant can be.” This is the eighth and final episode in The Atlantic’s video series “Saturday Night in America,” which uncovers pockets of nightlife across the nation. It was directed by Ben Wu and David Usui of Lost & Found Films.

Daily Bread for 12.21.16

Good morning.

In Whitewater, we’ll have a cloudy Wednesday with a high of thirty-two. Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:24 PM, for 9h 01m 42s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 45.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM, and her Parks & Recreation Board at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1898, Marie Sklodowska-Curie and her husband Pierre Curie discover radium in a uraninite sample.  On this day in 1862, the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry (3,500 strong) sets out for Vicksburg, Mississippi (arriving on 1.5.1863).

Worth reading in full — 

Neil MacFarquahr and Andrew E. Kramer report on How Rex Tillerson Changed His Tune on Russia and Came to Court Its Rulers: “MOSCOW — As a member of the U.S.-Russia Business Council and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Rex W. Tillerson frequently voiced doubts about Russia’s investment climate, saying as late as 2008 that Russia “must improve the functioning of its judicial system and its judiciary. There is no respect for the rule of law in Russia today”….[yet] oil industry experts and other analysts say, as Mr. Putin consolidated his control over Russia’s oligarchs, Mr. Tillerson underwent a profound change of outlook. He came to realize that the key to success in Russia, a country deeply important to Exxon’s future, lay in establishing personal relationships with Mr. Putin and his friend and confidant, Igor Sechin, the powerful head of Rosneft, the state oil company.”

Bruce Vielmetti reports that Megyn Kelly, Fox News win in Wisconsin court: “back when she was hosting “Kelly’s Court,” on a Fox News show called America Live in 2011, she and two guests breezily tossed out some commentary a former North Shore firefighter claims were defamatory. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen eventually dismissed the case, in part because he felt the segment clearly was not a serious news program, only a mock judicial debate. The plaintiff appealed. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals also sided with Kelly. “While the commentary may have been sarcastic, belittling, and impolite, that does not make it defamatory,”  wrote a panel of the District 1 court. The decision came from judges Kitty Brennan, Joan Kessler and William Brash. “It is a prized American privilege to speak one’s mind, although not always with perfect good taste, on all public institutions.”

Michael Gerson observes that The GOP is at its peak, but conservatism has hit rock bottom: “Conservatives believe that human beings are fallible and prone to ambition, passion and selfishness. They (actually, we) tend to become swaggering dictators in realms where we can act with impunity — a motor vehicle department office, a hostile traffic stop, a country under personal rule. It is the particular genius of the American system to balance ambition with ambition through a divided government (executive, legislative and judicial). The American system employs human nature to limit the power of the state — assuming that every branch of government is both dedicated to the common good and jealous of its own power….This is not the political force that has recently taken over the Republican Party — with a plurality in the presidential primaries and a narrow victory in November. That has been the result of extreme polarization, not a turn toward enduring values. The movement is authoritarian in theory, apocalyptic in mood, prone to conspiracy theories and personal abuse, and dismissive of ethical standards. The president-elect seems to offer equal chances of constitutional crisis and utter, debilitating incompetence.”

Daniel Drezner enumerates Donald Trump’s three types of norm violations, but it’s the third of the three that matters: “The final set of violations are the ones where Trump is taking steps that run afoul of deeper norms, some of which are even enshrined in the Constitution: His refusal to properly divest from his company, which set up massive conflicts of interest in foreign policy. The possible violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn occupying positions of power in the White House. His reliance on his family as close advisers to the point where they are sitting in on meetings they should not be attending. His desire to make his staff sign nondisclosure agreements. His open war with the intelligence community. His laying the groundwork for his own private security force. These are the areas in which Trump is not only eviscerating existing norms, but creating a new set of arrangements that seem like a breeding ground of corruption, favoritism and the further erosion of trust in the political system.”

Could one have a bicycle-powered house?  NPR’s Skunk Bear investigates —

Daily Bread for 12.20.16

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be much warmer than yesterday, with a high of thirty under mostly sunny skies. Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:23 PM, for 9h 01m 40s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 55.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1860, South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the Union. On this day in 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was formally completed with a transfer ceremony in New Orleans.  In December 1941, large numbers of Wisconsinites begin enlisting for military duty during the Second World War, with about 320,000 serving during the course of the war.

Worth reading in full — 

Patrick Marley reports that Wisconsin Attorney General Schimel considers reopening Lincoln Hills probe: “Madison — After saying last week he was “in the dark” on an investigation into Wisconsin’s juvenile prison, Attorney General Brad Schimel changed course Monday and said his office now may issue charges over alleged inmate abuses. Schimel’s sharply different tone came a day after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation reported that state officials missed a series of warning signs coming from Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, which share a campus 30 miles north of Wausau. The Republican attorney general headed a criminal investigation into the facility for a year, but turned it over to the FBI in early 2016. He told the Journal Sentinel on Thursday he had not been seeking updates on the investigation and didn’t know its status….When told FBI hadn’t visited Lincoln Hills for nearly a year, Schimel said he was surprised to hear that, but wasn’t bothered. He struck a much different tone Monday, after the Journal Sentinel’s story appeared. In an interview with The Associated Press, Schimel said his agency may “step back in” and re-launch its own investigation.”

Eli Lake proposes that Obama Should Out Putin’s Wealth as Payback for Election Hacking: “U.S. officials have hinted before that they know more than they are saying about Putin’s money. Adam Szubin, the acting undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, told the BBC in January that Putin “supposedly draws a state salary of something like $110,000 a year. That is not an accurate statement of the man’s wealth, and he has long time training and practices in terms of how to mask his actual wealth.” In October, retired Admiral James Stavridis told NBC News: “It’s well known that there’s a great deal of offshore money moved outside of Russia from oligarchs. … It would be very embarrassing if that was revealed, and that would be a proportional response to what we’ve seen”….The effect of a disclosure by the Obama administration though would be apparent in the West. Putin may not care whether his citizens know how corrupt he is. But I bet his Western bankers and business partners do. Fiona Hill, a senior fellow and Russia expert at the Brookings Institution, told me Monday: “The one thing about revealing this information is that it would stigmatize his wealth. This is shining a spotlight on him and his allies.”

Jennifer Rubin writes that Trump revels in fake news and phony claims: “here is what is different about Trump: He doesn’t try to get it right. He doesn’t assume that people care about the truth or that the truth is important. He will repeat blatant untruths (e.g. Arab Americans celebrated after 9/11, President Obama wasn’t born in the United States, he won by a landslide, we don’t know whether Russia hacked us), and then try to bully those who dispute him. Rather than engage on the facts, Trump insults, demeans and bullies the messenger. Critical voices — even “Saturday Night Live” — are, in his view, “losing” business (even when they are not), because for Trump, financial success makes one good and truthful while financial distress means one is bad and a liar.”

Rich McCormick writes that the Rogue One director says its original ending was very different [spoilers in linked story]: “Rogue One could have been a very different film. Reports of extensive reshoots persisted during its production, and the fact it underwent severe story surgery is backed up by shots seen in the trailers that didn’t make it into the final film. We may never know what the first version of the first Star Wars spinoff looked like, but director Gareth Edwards — who spoketo movie magazine Empire this month — has confirmed that Rogue One’s original ending was one such cutting-room casualty.”

One sees that some Britons decided to send a meat pie to the edge of space, about 100,000 feet above the Earth —

Daily Bread for 12.19.16

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Monday will be mostly sunny with a high of fourteen.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:23 PM, for 9h 01m 41s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 65.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Library Board meets tonight at 6:30 PM. Whitewater’s School Board meets tonight, with open session scheduled for approximately 7 PM.

On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens publishes A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas. On this day in 1813, Wisconsin’s first governor, Nelson Dewey, is born.

Worth reading in full —

Michael Wines reports that for All This Talk of Voter Fraud? Across U.S., Officials Found Next to None: “After all the allegations of rampant voter fraud and claims that millions had voted illegally, the people who supervised the general election last month in states around the nation have been adding up how many credible reports of fraud they actually received. The overwhelming consensus: next to none. In an election in which more than 137.7 million Americans cast ballots, election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia — Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and in-between — said that so far they knew of no credible allegations of fraudulent voting. Officials in another eight states said they knew of only one allegation.”

David Corn asks Did Russia Spy on Donald Trump When He Visited Moscow?: “With the Washington Post‘s bombshell report that the CIA has assessed that the Russian hacking of Democratic targets was done as part of a Kremlin operation to help Donald Trump win the election, here’s an intriguing question: Has Russian intelligence spied on the president-elect and, if so, what private information has it collected on him? A counterintelligence veteran of a Western spy service in October told Mother Jones that he had uncovered information—and had sent it to the FBI—indicating Russian intelligence had mounted a yearslong operation to cultivate or co-opt Trump and that this project included surveillance that gathered compromising material on the celebrity mogul. Yet there have been no indications from the FBI whether it has investigated this lead. Still, several intelligence professionals say Trump would have indeed been a top priority for Russian intelligence surveillance—especially when he was in Moscow in November 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant, which he owned at the time.”

Anthony Faiola reports that In Poland, a window on what happens when populists come to power: “The Law and Justice Party rode to power on a pledge to drain the swamp of Polish politics and roll back the legacy of the previous administration. One year later, its patriotic revolution, the party proclaims, has cleaned house and brought God and country back to Poland. Opponents, however, see the birth of a neo-Dark Age — one that, as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to move into the White House, is a harbinger of the power of populism to upend a Western society. In merely a year, critics say, the nationalists have transformed Poland into a surreal and insular place — one where state-sponsored conspiracy theories and de facto propaganda distract the public as democracy erodes. In the land of Law and Justice, anti-intellectualism is king. Polish scientists are aghast at proposed curriculum changes in a new education bill that would downplay evolution theory and climate change and add hours for “patriotic” history lessons. In a Facebook chat, a top equal rights official mused that Polish hotels should not be forced to provide service to black or gay customers. After the official stepped down for unrelated reasons, his successor rejected an international convention to combat violence against women because it appeared to argue against traditional gender roles.”

Jessie Opoien writes of someone Excommunicated: Charlie Sykes is leaving radio as he questions the direction of the Republican Party: “Sykes has become one of the state’s most influential conservative voices over nearly a quarter-century, but in the last year his opposition to Republican president-elect Donald Trump has earned him an audience beyond Wisconsin. His combative interview with Trump during the state’s presidential primary propelled him into multi-year contracts with NBC and MSNBC and attracted national reporters who sought to capture the story of a prominent conservative who refused to support the Republican nominee. A month before Trump was elected, Sykes announced his plans to leave WTMJ. He said the decision was made more than a year ago, for both personal and professional reasons. Sykes turned 62 this year and his father, Jay Sykes, died at 63. He wants to spend more time writing, traveling and with his family. If he had any doubts about the move, the political climate of 2016 erased them.”

Small-business computers have come a long way since the IBM 5100 —

Daily Bread for 12.18.16

Good morning.

Here in Whitewater we’ve partly cloudy skies and a high of minus one ahead for Sunday. Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:23 PM, for 9h 01m 47s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 74.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1865, slavery ends in the United States as the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed by the states on December 6th, goes into in effect after Sec. of State Seward’s certification. (“Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”)  On this day in 1950, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin makes an unsuccessful bid to be the site of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Worth reading in full —

John Schmid reports that, in a troubled area, a Faith-based pay-what-you-can cafe opens in Sherman Park: “The Tricklebee Cafe, an elegant pay-what-you-can restaurant at 4424 W. North Ave., held its grand opening this week. In a community with an abundance of empty storefronts, the faith-based nonprofit favors vegetarian fare and furnished itself with the pews, pulpit and hymnal board of a former church in northern Wisconsin. “We will never turn anyone away if they don’t have the means to pay,” said the Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons, an ordained pastor of the Moravian Church, a Protestant denomination. Nor will the Tricklebee turn away patrons who feel philanthropic enough to pay above and beyond the suggested per-meal donation of $5.69-$6.46, a range calculated to cover the cost of procuring locally grown organic food, utilities, rent and a “living wage” for the paid staff. “If people want to ‘pay it forward,’ we gracefully accept that, too,” Melby-Gibbons said. The cafe is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It launched without fanfare in time for Thanksgiving and used the past month to develop a daily operating rhythm for the kitchen that begins with early morning baking. It reserved its formal inaugural opening for this week.”

Although some Britons worry that Brexit will harm their economy, at least one has found work, as Mike McIntire describes How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to Americans: “The Patriot News Agency website popped up in July, soon after it became clear that Donald J. Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination, bearing a logo of a red, white and blue eagle and the motto “Built by patriots, for patriots.” Patriot News — whose postings were viewed and shared tens of thousands of times in the United States — is among a constellation of websites run out of the United Kingdom that are linked to James Dowson, a far-right political activist who advocated Britain’s exit from the European Union and is a fan of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. A vocal proponent of Christian nationalist, anti-immigrant movements in Europe, Mr. Dowson, 52, has spoken at a conference of far-right leaders in Russia and makes no secret of his hope that Mr. Trump will usher in an era of rapprochement with Mr. Putin.”

(There’s limitless audacity in a Briton calling his site a ‘patriot news network.’)

Those who’ve for years argued a so-called ‘states’ rights’ case might want to think about what it means when huge and powerful California takes up that position against a Trump Administration. James Fallows annotates Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent speech to  the American Geophysical Union:

“From 4:30 to 5:15 [in the video], Brown begins one of his “we’re ready to fight” riffs. The speech as a whole is unpolished, but among its charms is Brown’s ability to seem self-aware and even self-mocking. An example is in this passage: First he says that Big Tobacco was brought down by a combination of scientists and lawyers. Then, “And in California, we’ve got plenty of lawyers! … We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers, and we’re ready to fight!”

At 5:30, he introduces the “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Brown? You’re not a country” argument, about the way California has used its technical advances and sheer scale to set national and even international environmental standards. “We have a lot of firepower! We’ve got the scientists. We’ve got the universities. We have the national labs. We have a lot of political clout and sophistication for the battle. And we will persevere!

So many are Trump’s conflicts of interest that one has trouble keeping track. Jeremy Venook provides Donald Trump’s Conflicts of Interest: A Crib Sheet: “legality does not imply propriety. Unless Trump acts to put appropriate distance between himself and his business ventures, these questions are likely to continue throughout his time in the Oval Office. Below is an attempt to catalogue the more clear-cut examples of conflicts of interest that have emerged so far; the most recent entries appear at the top.

Courtesy of the European Space Agency, one sees how beautiful Mars is —

Daily Bread for 12.17.16

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see snowfall throughout the day, with a high of twenty-two and a few inches of accumulation.  Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:22 PM, for 9h 01m 58s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 83.4% of her visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful powered airplane flight, near Kitty Hawk, N.C.  Demonstrations of their design in France five years later won over doubters: “Facing much skepticism in the French aeronautical community and outright scorn by some newspapers that called him a “bluffeur”, Wilbur began official public demonstrations on August 8, 1908 at the Hunaudières horse racing track near the town of Le Mans, France. His first flight lasted only one minute 45 seconds, but his ability to effortlessly make banking turns and fly a circle amazed and stunned onlookers, including several pioneer French aviators, among them Louis Blériot. In the following days, Wilbur made a series of technically challenging flights, including figure-eights, demonstrating his skills as a pilot and the capability of his flying machine, which far surpassed those of all other pioneering aircraft and pilots of the day.[95][96]

The French public was thrilled by Wilbur’s feats and flocked to the field by the thousands, and the Wright brothers instantly became world-famous. Former doubters issued apologies and effusive praise. L’Aérophile editor Georges Besançon wrote that the flights “have completely dissipated all doubts. Not one of the former detractors of the Wrights dare question, today, the previous experiments of the men who were truly the first to fly …”[97] Leading French aviation promoter Ernest Archdeacon wrote, “For a long time, the Wright brothers have been accused in Europe of bluff … They are today hallowed in France, and I feel an intense pleasure … to make amends.”[98]

Worth reading in full —

Chelsey Lewis offers 100 things to do in Wisconsin this winter: “The weather outside is frightful, and the fire may be delightful, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place to go. Beat cabin fever with these 100 things to do across Wisconsin this winter.” (Her list starts strong, as numbers 1, 2, and 3 are enticing.)

Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima report that the FBI backs CIA view that Russia intervened to help Trump win election: “FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the presidency, according to U.S. officials. Comey’s support for the CIA’s conclusion — and officials say that he never changed his position — suggests that the leaders of the three agencies are in agreement on Russian intentions, contrary to suggestions by some lawmakers that the FBI disagreed with the CIA. “Earlier this week, I met separately with (Director) FBI James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” CIA Director John Brennan said in a message to the agency’s workforce, according to U.S. officials who have seen the message.”

Philip Bump reports that Now you can fact-check Trump’s tweets — in the tweets themselves: “We made a tool [an extension for Google Chrome] that slips a bit more context into Trump’s tweets. It’s still in the early stages, but our goal is to provide additional context where needed for Trump’s tweets moving forward (and a few golden oldies). For example, here’s what it shows in relation to that Trump tweet…”

WashPo fact checking tool: extension for Google Chromehttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/realdonaldcontext/ddbkmnomngnlcdglabflidgmhmcafogn .

Visiting Twitter using Chrome produces a fact-checking box under Trump’s tweets that merit fact-checking. (The extension only seems to apply to tweets that are factually refutable; Trump’s mere opinions, or his many misspellings and grammatical failures of standard written English, are left unaddressed.)

Peter Beinart offers a theory about why some (but certainly not all) conservatives support Trump in The Key to the Conservative Spilt on Trump: “Partly, they’re aping Trump. But there’s something deeper at work. Ideological conservatives loathe Putin because he represents an authoritarian challenge to the American-backed order in Europe and the Middle East. But many civilizational conservatives, who once opposed the Soviet Union because of its atheism, now view Putin’s Russia as Christianity’s front line against the new civilizational enemy: Islam. Among the alt-right, Putin is a very popular man. He’s popular because he resists the liberal, cosmopolitan values that Muslims supposedly exploit to undermine the West. Richard Spencer, who was until recently married to a pro-Putin Russian writer, has called Russia the “sole white power in the world.” Matthew Heimbach, another prominent figure in the alt-right, recently told Business Insider that “Russia is the leader of the free world.” In 2013, Pat Buchanan penned a column entitled, “Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative? In the culture war for mankind’s future, is he one of us?”

Capra contributed to the Why We Fight series to explain the moral imperative of America’s war with the Axis. We’ve no such series against racist nationalists, but hearing and seeing Richard Spencer is a reminder why each day compels a complete & tenacious resistance against Spencer and his ilk:

Daily Bread for 12.16.16

Good morning.

Here is our small city we’ll have cold temperatures after afternoon snowfall: Friday’s daytime high will be nineteen, with a significant snowfall beginning in the afternoon and stretching into Saturday.  Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:22 PM, for 9h 02m 13s of daytime.  The moon’s a waning gibbous with 91.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1773, the Boston Tea Party takes place as colonists protest British taxation.   On this day in 1944, the Battle of the Bulge begins as Germany launches her last major offensive of the Second World War through the Ardennes; the Allies repulsed the offensive within about a month.

Worth reading in full — 

Steven Mufson and Max Ehrenfreund report that Trump considers financial pundit Larry Kudlow for Council of Economic Advisors: “If selected, Kudlow would mark another un­or­tho­dox pick for Trump. Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the council has provided expert economic advice to the president and attracts a staff of top-flight young economists. But Kudlow lacks a graduate or undergraduate degree in economics and has not written scholarly papers on the subject….In recent years, he has become a popular figure on television, but his record as an economic forecaster is full of potholes. Less than nine months before the economic crisis hit in 2008, Kudlow wrote in the National Review that “There’s no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen. At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0. (And that’s a minimum). Goldilocks is alive and well. The Bush boom is alive and well… Yes, it’s still the greatest story never told.”

Elena Holodny reports on a study showing that Juvenile incarceration is way more expensive than tuition at a private university: “The annual cost of youth incarceration for a single individual is $112,555, according to the annual report of the Council of Economic Advisers. That’s about 3.5 times the average tuition and fees at a four-year, non-profit private university ($32,405), and almost five times the average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public university for an out-of-state student ($23,893), according to the report’s data. The cost of incarceration is also more than 11.5 times the average for a year of Head Start ($9,770), and about nine times the cost of an average year of public school ($12,508).”

Evan Osnos, writing of Xu Hongci’s experiences as a dissident in China, asks a difficult question: “What is the precise moment, in the life of a country, when tyranny takes hold? It rarely happens in an instant; it arrives like twilight, and, at first, the eyes adjust.”

Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns see Democrats at Crossroads: Win Back Working-Class Whites, or Let Them Go?: “For Democrats, the election last month has become a Rorschach test. Some see Mrs. Clinton’s loss as a result of an unfortunate series of flukes — Russian tampering, a late intervention by the Federal Bureau of Investigation director and a poor allocation of resources — but little more than a speed bump on the road to a demographic majority. Others believe the results reflect a more worrisome trend that could doom the party. It’s is a sensitive topic, touching on race and class, but the choices that Democrats make in the coming months will shape their post-Obama identity and carry major implications in both the 2018 midterm elections and the next presidential race.”

Bob Bryan reports that A professor has calculated how much blowing up the Death Star in ‘Star Wars’ would set back gross galactic product: “In this paper we study the financial repercussions of the destruction of two fully armed and operational moon-sized battle stations (“Death Stars”) in a 4-year period and the dissolution of the galactic government in Star Wars,” began the abstract of the study. “The emphasis of this work is to calibrate and simulate a model of the banking and financial systems within the galaxy. Along these lines, we measure the level of systemic risk that may have been generated by the death of Emperor Palpatine and the destruction of the second Death Star.” With full on footnotes and in-text citations to “Lucas” and “Kershner” (the screenwriters of Star Wars, George and Irvin respectively), Feinstein found that the destruction of the Death Stars and collapse of the Galactic Empire would throw the galactic economy into chaos. “In this case study we found that the Rebel Alliance would need to prepare a bailout of at least 15%, and likely at least 20%, of [Gross Galactic Product] in order to mitigate the systemic risks and the sudden and catastrophic economic collapse,” said the study. “Without such funds at the ready, it likely the Galactic economy would enter an economic depression of astronomical proportions.”

Download (PDF, 426KB)

 

Daily Bread for 12.15.16

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be clear and cold, with a high temperature of eight degrees.  Sunrise is 7:19 AM and sunset 4:21 PM, for 9h 02m 34s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1791, following ratification by Virginia, the Bill of Rights takes effect.  On this day in 1847, Wisconsin convenes its second constitutional convention in Madison.

Worth reading in full — 

William Arkin, Ken Dilanian, and Cynthia McFadden unsurprisingly report that U.S. Officials: Putin [Was] Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack: “U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News. Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said. Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.”

(Kurt Eichenwald wrote along these lines far earlier.)

Eli Lake suggests that Obama Should Out Putin’s Wealth as Payback for Election Hacking: “Obama should shine a spotlight on the Russian president’s money. Since the 2014 stealth invasion of Ukraine, the CIA and the Treasury Department have devoted more resources to learning the details of Putin’s personal wealth. Obama should declassify dossiers of Putin’s and his inner circle’s fortune: their front companies, their homes, their yachts, their secret bank accounts. If he’s feeling puckish, Obama could tell his administration to anonymously post all that information on random public websites. He could say the CIA was hacked. Oops. Sorry, Vladimir. Our cyber security is a mess right now.  U.S. officials have hinted before that they know more than they are saying about Putin’s money. Adam Szubin, the acting undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, told the BBC in January that Putin “supposedly draws a state salary of something like $110,000 a year. That is not an accurate statement of the man’s wealth, and he has long time training and practices in terms of how to mask his actual wealth.” In October, retired Admiral James Stavridis told NBC News: “It’s well known that there’s a great deal of offshore money moved outside of Russia from oligarchs. … It would be very embarrassing if that was revealed, and that would be a proportional response to what we’ve seen.”

Mark Galeotti writes that Putin Is Waging Information Warfare. Here’s How to Fight Back: “Instead of trying to combat each leak directly, the United States government should teach the public to tell when they are being manipulated. Via schools and nongovernmental organizations and public service campaigns, Americans should be taught the basic skills necessary to be savvy media consumers, from how to fact-check news articles to how pictures can lie.Deterrence can also take the form of limiting the Russians’ ability to buy media muscle covertly. Global finance is still gangsters and the spooks’ best friend, allowing them to secretly move and spend money. By joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s latest and most stringent Common Reporting Standards agreement for sharing financial information, for example, and by putting pressure on American states with notoriously tough secrecy laws, Washington would make it harder for not just corrupt Russians officials but also Moscow’s security apparatus to spend money at will in America.”

Elizabethn Weise writes that It’s new and it’s bad: Yahoo discloses 1B account breach: “The latest breach is separate from a 500-million-account breach the company disclosed in September of this year. At the time, the 500-million-account breach, which took place in 2014, was believed to be the largest on record. Yahoo (YHOO) shares fell 2.5% after hours.”

Great Big Story tells describes how “[t]hree paralyzed men take up one of sailing’s most grueling challenges—a 750 mile race to Alaska through some of the most treacherous and remote waters on the planet. With no motors allowed and many miles from any help, the competition can be too dangerous for the world’s most fearless sailors. This team is out to prove they have what it takes to finish…”:

Hard Ship | A Really Great Big Story from Great Big Story on Vimeo.