Daily Bread for 5.12.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy, with a high of sixty-nine. Sunrise is 5:33 AM and sunset 8:08 PM, for 14h 34m 38s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred eighty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Florence Nightingale, English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing, is born this day in 1820. On this day in 1864, the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Infantry regiments fight during the  Spotsylvania Campaign (May 8-21,1864); the 36th Infantry fights at Spotsylvania from May 18-21,1864 (“The fiercest fighting in the Battle of Spotsylvania occurred in pouring rain on May 12, 1864. For 23 hours the two sides fought hand-to-hand along lines known as the Bloody Angle. When the battle ended, the trenches were filled with bodies. Colonel Rufus Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry left a vivid memoir of this day’s fighting.”)

Recommended for reading in full —

Rick Rommel reports that Retail just keeps getting tougher, as Kohl’s, Macy’s show:

The department store blues continued Thursday, with investors punishing Kohl’s, Macy’s and their competitors amid yet another round of downbeat financial results.

Even with a nearly four-fold increase in first-quarter profit that easily bested Wall Street expectations, Kohl’s stock shares fell 7.8%.

Compared with some, that was a good day. Macy’s stock plunged 17%. The stock of Dillard’s, a 293-store chain based in Little Rock, Ark., dropped 17.5%.

One reason: Ongoing erosion in sales at existing stores, a key measure of retailer health.

Same-store sales fell 2.7% at Kohl’s, 5.2% at Macy’s and 4% at Dillard’s.

It was further evidence of the continuing troubles of mainline department store retailers, which have suffered as discounters and internet giant Amazon thrive.

Rebecca Ruiz reports that the Attorney General Orders Tougher Sentences, Rolling Back Obama Policy:

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors late Thursday to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against crime suspects, reversing Obama administration efforts to ease penalties for some nonviolent drug violations.

The dramatic shift in criminal justice policy, foreshadowed during recent weeks, is Mr. Sessions’s first major stamp on the Justice Department, and it telegraphs his priorities to target drug dealing, gun crime and gang violence. The Justice Department released the new directives on Friday.

In an eight-paragraph memo to the nation’s prosecutors, Mr. Sessions returned to the guidance of President George W. Bush’s administration by calling for more uniform punishments — including mandatory minimum sentences — and directing prosecutors to pursue the strictest possible charges. Mr. Sessions’s policy, however, is broader than that of the Bush administration, and will be more reliant on the judgments of United States attorneys and assistant attorneys general.

(No drug warrior like an old drug warrior.)

Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian write that the Acting FBI director contradicts Trump White House on Comey, Russia probe:

Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe on Thursday rejected the Trump White House’s characterization of the Russian meddling probe as a low priority and delivered a passionate defense of former director James B. Comey — putting himself squarely at odds with the president while the bureau’s future hangs in the balance.

McCabe, who had been the No. 2 official in the FBI until President Trump fired Comey this week, said that the bureau considered the probe of possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump team during the 2016 election campaign a “highly significant investigation” and that it would not be derailed because of a change in leadership.

“You cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution,” McCabe said.

(One will have to wait – and it may not be a long wait – to see if McCabe keeps his job.)

Michael Schmidt reports that In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred:

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense….

Mr. Comey described details of his refusal to pledge his loyalty to Mr. Trump to several people close to him on the condition that they not discuss it publicly while he was F.B.I. director. But now that Mr. Comey has been fired, they felt free to discuss it on the condition of anonymity.

(Trump’s expectation of loyalty, seen in this account but in others, too, is more like that of a third-world autocrat or mafia boss.)

In Orange County, the sheriff’s department found itself with the task of telling swimmers that there were about fifteen great white sharks nearby. The announcement comes at about 3:50 on the video: