Daily Bread for 3.12.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:09 AM and sunset 6:58 PM, for 11h 48m 52s of daytime. The moon is full today. Today is the one hundred twenty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 2009, notorious swindler Bernie Madoff pled guilty to 11 federal felonies, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements, perjury, theft from an employee benefit plan, and making false filings with the SEC. On this day in 1862, 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry musters in at Milwaukee. The regiment would lose 312 men during service in defense of the Union.

Recommended for reading in full —

Jason Stein reports for Sunshine Week: Secretive software doing more state of Wisconsin work: “Government is using private computer models to scrutinize most Wisconsinites in some way, from criminals to income taxpayers. State officials generally know the information being fed into these programs but often don’t know how the firms analyze the data. Companies guard these methods closely since this “special sauce” represents the basis for their business. That creates potential pitfalls because these computer models can make mistakes, said Cathy O’Neil, a Harvard-trained mathematician and author of the 2016 book “Weapons of Math Destruction.” “The problem is we have a blind trust mindset with the data,” O’Neil said. “We need to demand evidence that big data is accurate, fair and legal.” Bill Lueders agreed, saying the public has a right to know how government works. “The state of Wisconsin should not be using outside contractors if it means less transparency,” said Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.”

David Filipov writes that A film about a slain Putin critic gets a screening — just off Red Square: “It takes about 700 steps at a leisurely pace to stroll from the lavish mall along Red Square to the bridge over the Moscow River where, more than 740 days ago , Russia’s most prominent opposition leader was gunned down as he made that walk with his girlfriend. There, in the shadow of the red brick Kremlin walls, an informal shrine marks the spot and the memory of Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and President Vladi­mir Putin’s loudest critic. A neat row of flowers, candles and portraits is guarded in shifts around the clock by pro-democracy activists, who frequently find themselves targeted by police. It’s truly a makeshift memorial: When its guardians are hauled away, city workers remove the flowers and portraits, and it’s up to the next shift to remake it. Against this tense backdrop, something remarkable is happening in a small, luxurious movie theater inside that opulent mall. A film is showing that recounts, in unflinching detail, the rise and fall of Russian democracy through the story of Nemtsov’s political career, from a whiz-kid regional governor considered presidential material to the political margins of an illiberal society dominated by Putin. That the film “The Man Who Was Too Free,” was allowed to be made, much less shown across Red Square from the Kremlin, came as a shock to its creators, Mikhail Fishman and Vera Krichevskaya. Told entirely through monologues by Nemtsov’s associates, interviews with him and video footage of his public speeches, the documentary focuses on the missed chances and miscalculations that led to Putin’s unchallenged rule. The Russian leader, whose intolerance of criticism is legendary, does not come off in a flattering light.”

Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg report that During his political rise, Stephen K. Bannon was a man with no fixed address: “In the digital age, when most Americans leave a clear footprint of their whereabouts, Bannon left a meandering trail filled with ambiguity, contradictions and questions. The Post found that Bannon left a negligible footprint in Florida. He did not get a Florida driver’s license or register a car in the state. He never voted in Florida, and neighbors near two homes he leased in Miami said they never saw him. His rent and utility bills were sent to his business manager in California. Bannon’s former wife occupied the premises, according to a landlord and neighbors. At the same time Bannon said he was living with his ex-wife, she was under investigation for involvement in a plot to smuggle drugs and a cellphone into a Miami jail, a law enforcement document obtained by The Post shows. The Post learned that state prosecutors in Miami have an active investigation into Bannon’s assertions that he was a Florida resident and qualified to vote in the state from 2014 to 2016. In late August, investigators subpoenaed Bannon’s lease of a Coconut Grove home and other documents. They also contacted the landlords of that home and another that Bannon leased nearby, and sought information from a gardener and handyman who worked at one of the homes, according to documents and interviews.”

Hunter Walker describes How the ACLU is gearing up to take on Trump, one city at a time: “And along with the lobbying and legal work that is typically the ACLU’s bread and butter, the organization is trying something new as it pushes the Freedom Cities agenda. The ACLU is providing supporters with a blueprint for activism to apply pressure on local authorities to adopt the plan. It’s a clear departure for the organization. For nearly a century, the ACLU has been nonpartisan and focused on legal battles. The organization’s foray into grassroots organizing and activism is the brainchild of Faiz Shakir, a 37-year-old former Senate aide who was hired in January as the group’s national political director. “People have known us for, ‘See you in court,’” Shakir said in the Freedom Cities memo. “I hope now they’ll also know us for, ‘See you in the streets.’” The ACLU’s Freedom Cities campaign will begin with a “Resistance Training” live-streamed from Miami, Fla., on Saturday afternoon. Supporters will be given materials instructing them on how to get meetings with local officials who are “key pressure points.” The ACLU is also advising activists on specific arguments to make in order to pressure them to adopt the policies. These initial meetings are just the beginning. The ACLU has also launched a website, People Power, which will feature maps highlighting future Freedom Cities meetings and other events. In addition to keeping people involved in the immigration policy effort, Shakir said the site will allow supporters to suggest ideas for future efforts.” (Disclosure: I am a longtime member of the ACLU.)

Great Big Story tells of Found Sounds: Making Instruments From Trash

Found Sounds: Making Instruments From Trash from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

Ken Butler is a Brooklyn-based artist and musician who has built over 400 musical instruments. But these aren’t just any custom-built instruments. Butler builds his pieces from discarded items he finds on the streets of New York City. Hockey sticks, tennis rackets, brooms, golf clubs, pieces of furniture, styrofoam, toothbrushes: all are fair game for his masterpieces. It’s musique concrète … jungle.