Daily Bread for 5.19.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with occasional afternoon showers, and a high of fifty-two. Sunrise is 5:27 AM and sunset 8:15 AM, for 14h 48m 42s of daytime. The moon is in its last quarter, with 45% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred ninety-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1675, noted explorer Fr. Jacques Marquette passes: “After the famous voyage down the Mississippi that he made in 1673 with Louis Joliet, Marquette vowed to return to the Indians he’d met in Illinois. He became ill during that visit in the spring of 1675 and was en route to Canada when he passed away. His diary of the trip is online in our [Wisconsin Historical Society] American Journeys collection.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous report that Comey prepared extensively for his conversations with Trump:

FBI Director James B. Comey prepared extensively for his discussions with President Trump, out of concern that the president was unlikely to respect the legal and ethical boundaries governing their respective roles, according to associates of the now-fired FBI chief.

The associates recounted how worried Comey was about meeting with Trump and recalled conversations in which they brainstormed how to handle moments in which the president asked for details of an investigation.

One associate referred to Comey’s preparation as a kind of “murder board” — a phrase used to describe a committee of questioners that hurls tough questions at someone as practice for a difficult oral examination.

(One prepares this way if one is uncomfortable, but also if one wants to build a case.)

Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Mark Mazzetti report that Trump Ally Was Once a Target of Russian Spies:

The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia. He claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match with the current Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the 1990s. He is one of President Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill….

But the F.B.I. has taken seriously the possibility that Russian spies would target American politicians. In a secure room at the Capitol, an F.B.I. agent told Mr. Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him as an “agent of influence” — someone the Russian government might be able to use to steer Washington policy-making, former officials said.

Mr. Rohrabacher said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the meeting had focused on his contact with one member of the Russian Foreign Ministry, whom he recalled meeting on a trip to Moscow. “They were telling me he had something to do with some kind of Russian intelligence,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. He recalled the F.B.I. agent saying that Moscow “looked at me as someone who could be influenced.”

(Imagine ‘prospect for Putin’ as one’s reputation. Better to be nothing than to descend so low.)

Brandon Patterson reports that The Feds Had Been Moving Away From Mass Incarceration For Years. Then Jeff Sessions Came Along:

Bipartisan support for shifting away from mandatory minimums has grown in recent years, as research has shown that incarceration does little to improve public safety and has had a disparate impact on communities of color—and as lawmakers have decided that running prisons costs too much.

Sen. Rand Paul said mandatory minimums have a racially disparate impact, and that Sessions’ policy shift would “accentuate” that “injustice.”

On Tuesday, in response to Sessions’ policy announcement, Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy proposed legislation more in line with Holder’s approach: It would allow judges to tailor sentences on a case-by-case basis, regardless of whether a mandatory minimum sentence applies. Paul said these minimums have a racially disparate impact, and that Sessions’ policy shift would “accentuate” that “injustice.” He also said his bill would save the DOJ money—the department currently spends nearly a third of its budget on corrections. A group of House members plan to introduce similar legislation.

Megan Garber describes Roger Ailes’s (Other) Legacy:

Karem Alsina, a makeup artist formerly employed by Fox News, recently shared a memory of her time at the network with New YorkMagazine’s Gabriel Sherman. The women anchors of Fox, Alsina recalled, would sometimes come to see her before they went to private meetings with Roger Ailes—the man who, until last year, was Fox’s chairman and CEO. “They would say, ‘I’m going to see Roger, gotta look beautiful!’” Alsina recalled. She also recalled this: “One of them came back down after a meeting, and the makeup on her nose and chin was gone.”

Ailes has another legacy, though, and it’s the one Karem Alsina suggested when she recalled her time preparing the women to meet with their boss: Ailes’s alleged pattern of sexual harassment—and, you could also argue, psychological manipulation—of his employees. He was accused of it by more than two dozen women, some anonymous, some named, some through lawsuits, some through testimony to the media. The allegations included not just direct harassment, but also surveillance, smear campaigns, hush money, and a general culture of misogyny at the network that claimed to be the only source of “fair & balanced” news in a nation rife with liberalism. Ailes vehemently denied the allegations. But there were so many women. They had so many stories—all unique, yet all troublingly similar. In July of 2016, under pressure from Rupert Murdoch and, more notably, Murdoch’s sons, Ailes resigned. He received $40 million from Fox as part of his exit agreement.

Anna Rubincam creates portraits as A Continuous Shape:

A Continuous Shape from Eyes & Ears on Vimeo.