Daily Bread for 3.5.17

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of fifty-two. Sunrise is 6:21 AM and sunset 5:50 PM, for 11h 28m 35s of daytime. The moon is in its first quarter. Today is the one hundred seventeenth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1946, Winston Churchill delivers his Sinews of Peace (“Iron Curtain”) speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

Recommended for reading in full —

Lee Bergquist reports that Private green energy deal did not mean gold for UW-Oshkosh: “More than $4 million in university funds that were used to convert livestock waste into electricity play a key role in exposing the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Foundation to potential bankruptcy as rapidly changing markets have dulled the allure for some sectors of renewable power. The lessons for Wisconsin’s third-largest university: Green doesn’t necessarily turn to gold, and spending by UW-Oshkosh on private projects could leave taxpayers at risk. UW-Oshkosh’s foundation has spent heavily in recent years on technology that converts manure and other organic material into electricity — a strategy that is both legal and mirrors a trend among colleges of using private foundations to generate revenue….Citing excessive costs and an untested infrastructure to procure organic material such as waste from farm fields, Walker killed a $250 million project at UW-Madison in 2011 that would have burned biomass to generate electricity. In another case, a Dane County biodigester that received a $3.3 million state water quality grant to process manure from three farms near Waunakee suffered an array of operational problems, including manure spills and a methane gas explosion in 2014 before the business was taken over by new owners. Wisconsin leads the country in the number of farm-based facilities, with 35 in operation today, according to the State Energy Office. The office has estimated that seven other sites have shut down, or are no longer operating at full capacity, as biodigesters struggle with lower electricity prices.”

Chris Buckley and Keith Bradsher write that Xi Jinping’s Failed Promises Dim Hopes for Economic Change in 2nd Term: “The problem, critics say, is that Mr. Xi’s demands for centralized control, stability and political conformity have often drowned out hesitant steps toward economic liberalization. And his second term is likely to bring more of the same, they say. “I’m highly skeptical, since I don’t think it’s a lack of authority or the opposition of special interests that have kept him from moving in that direction so far,” said Scott Kennedy, the director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Rather, he’s operated according to his instincts in the face of economic challenges. And I don’t expect his instincts or those challenges to change much.” Many economists, executives and policy advisers in Beijing do not disguise their disappointment about what has happened to Mr. Xi’s promises of an audacious overhaul of the economy.”

Emily Rauhala reports on a ‘False prophet’: Duterte, the Catholic Church and the fight for the soul of the Philippines: “Since coming to power last summer, President Rodrigo Duterte has used biblical language to build a case for mass killings, vowing to sacrifice himself, even his son, to cleanse the nation of crime. Conjuring a world in which evil stalks the innocent, Duterte launched a wave of violence that has claimed at least 7,000 lives. With his critics cursed and shamed, and with public support for the president running high, the establishment, including the Roman Catholic Church, has for the most part stayed quiet. But now, more than seven months into Duterte’s tenure, with the death toll climbing night by night, the country’s Catholic hierarchy is finding its voice. In a pastoral letter published in February, church leaders denounced Duterte’s campaign as a “reign of terror” against the poor. Emboldened by their bishops’ stance, priests, nuns and missionaries are also taking a stand, offering sanctuary to fearful witnesses, paying for funerals and organizing rallies. Religious leaders who once supported the president are turning their backs on him, potentially hurting his political appeal.”

Ellen Nakishima considers How hard is it to get an intelligence wiretap? Pretty hard: “Senior officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because such matters are classified, said that there had been no wiretap on Trump. Under the law governing foreign-intelligence surveillance inside the United States, an FBI agent would need to show a federal judge that there is probable cause that the target is an “agent of a foreign power” — and that requires more than just talking to, say, the Russian ambassador. “Both criminal and foreign intelligence wiretaps have onerous and strict processes of approval that require not only multiple levels of internal Justice Department review, but also require court review and approval,” said Matthew Waxman, an expert on national security law at Columbia University. The law authorizing wiretaps in terrorism and espionage cases is known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, passed out of reforms recommended by the Church Committee in the wake of spying abuses by the FBI and the National Security Agency. The law bars targeted electronic surveillance on U.S. soil unless the government can show that the target was a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, and that the “facility” — the phone number or email address in question — is being used by the foreign power or agent. The law authorizing criminal intercepts — in cases such as murder, drug dealing or racketeering — is Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. Like FISA, the law requires probable cause, but in this instance that the target is about to or has committed a crime.”

Great Big Story describes The 100% Real, No BS, Absolutely Honest and True Story Behind Snake Oil:

The 100% Real, No BS, Absolutely Honest and True Story Behind Snake Oil from Great Big Story on Vimeo.