Daily Bread for 1.9.18

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of forty-one. Sunrise is 7:24 AM and sunset is 4:40 PM, for 9h 15m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 43.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred twenty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1863, the Battle of Arkansas Post begins: “The Battle of Arkansas Post, also called Fort Hindman, began on this day near the mouth of the Arkansas River. The 23rd Wisconsin Infantry was in the thick of the action all three days.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

Ezra Klein describes The most clarifying conversation I’ve had on Trump and Russia:

What really happened between the Trump campaign and the Russian government?

The investigation into that question has rocked American politics. The FBI director was fired over it. The attorney general might get fired over it. The president’s former campaign manager and his original national security adviser were charged with crimes as part of it. The president himself might ultimately be charged with obstruction of justice for his response to it.

It’s also a devilishly difficult story to follow, with information coming out in half-true dribs and drabs, new names grabbing headlines and then disappearing for weeks, and countless threads that need to somehow be stitched into a coherent whole. Which is why I asked Susan Hennessey to join the podcast this week.

Hennessey, a former lawyer at the National Security Agency, is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and managing editor of Lawfare, which has done extraordinary work both tracking and driving this story. And in this conversation, she pulls it all together in ways I found extremely clarifying, and occasionally horrifying.

This is a conversation about the big picture of the Russia investigation: what we know and what we don’t know, what Robert Mueller has actually promised to deliver, what collusion really means, how Trump’s aides could have done what they’ve been accused of doing, and much more.

The Daily Beast reports Gorka Unwittingly Confirms Trump Staff Were Told to Cooperate With Wolff:

While attempting to discredit Michael Wolff’s controversial new book about the Trump administration, former aide Sebastian Gorka unwittingly confirmed that White House staff were told to cooperate with Wolff. The Trump White House’s pushback against Fire and Fury has largely centered around the president’s claim that he did not give Wolff unlimited access and approval to hang around the West Wing and gather stories. But in a column for The Hill, Gorka revealed that he’d been asked to comply with the author: “When I met Michael Wolff in Reince Priebus’ office, where he was waiting to talk to Steve Bannon, and after I had been told to also speak to him for his book, my attitude was polite but firm: ‘Thanks but no thanks.’”

(Few Trump talking points survive unrefuted for more than a day or two.)

Christopher Ingraham reports Kansas lawmaker says African Americans are more susceptible to drug abuse because of ‘character makeup’ and ‘genetics.’:

Attempting to explain at a weekend legislative coffee session with constituents why “all drugs” were outlawed in the United States in the 1930s, Rep. Stephen Alford offered the following, according to The Garden City Telegram: “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, it’s that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because their character makeup, their genetics and that.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is not true.

According to federal data, there is virtually no difference between black and white Americans when it comes to either rates of illicit drug use or rates of substance-abuse disorder. In 2016, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 54 percent of whites age 12 and older had ever used an illicit drug in their lifetime, higher than the 46 percent rate among blacks.

Similarly, whites (7.8 percent) were slightly more likely than African Americans (7.6 percent) to meet diagnostic criteria for a substance-use disorder in 2016….

I published yesterday a video of a SpaceX launch, that seemed to go well, but unfortunately not every effort succeeds. Everett Rosenfeld reports Highly classified US spy satellite appears to be a total loss after SpaceX launch:

A highly classified U.S. government satellite appears to have been totally lost after being taken into space by a recent launch from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, according to a new report.

Dow Jones reported Monday evening that lawmakers had been briefed about the apparent destruction of the secretive payload — code-named Zuma — citing industry and government officials

The payload was suspected to have burned up in the atmosphere after failing to separate perfectly from the upper part of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the report said.

According to Dow Jones, the absence of official word on the incident means that there could have been another chain of events….

Biking to Protect Guatemala’s Rainforest? Of course

Winding through the lush rainforests below Guatemala’s Volcan de Agua is a growing mecca for mountain biking. Known as El Zur, the 2,500-acre private nature reserve was created to protect the land. Turns out, the best way to protect the land sustainably is to offer a variety of outdoor activities. Join guide José Pablo Jelkmann Mendia as he takes us through this pristine paradise on bike, replete with lush trails, suspension bridges and dreamlike waterfalls. It’s truly a site to behold.