Daily Bread for 7.17.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of eighty. Sunrise is 5:32 AM and sunset 8:29 PM, for 14h 56m 41s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 41.5% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the two hundred fiftieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Library Board is scheduled to meet at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1918, the Bolsheviks execute Nicholas II of Russia and several members of his immediate family, after which their “bodies were then mutilated,[1] burned and buried in a field called Porosenkov Log in the Koptyaki forest.[3] 

Recommended for reading in full — 

Anne Applebaum observes that It’s now clear: The most dangerous threats to the West are not external:

Just over a week has passed since President Trump offered, in Warsaw, a very particular defense of Western civilization. He praised Poland for its fight against Nazism and Soviet communism long ago, though he said little about the country’s success since 1989. He spoke of the things that hold the West together, including classical music and God, but made only glancing references to democracy. He also spoke of the threats to the West, alluding to dangers from the “South or the East” as well as from an “oppressive ideology,” radical Islam, that “seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.”

In the days since that speech, rapidly moving events in Warsaw have proved him wrong: As I write this, Poland is proving that the greatest threat to the West is not radical Islam. The greatest threat is not even external: It is internal. In Poland, a democratically elected but illiberal government has, in the past few days, escalated its attack on its own constitution, pushing new laws openly designed to create a politicized judiciary. And it feels emboldened to do so by the visit of the U.S. president….

Vann R. Newkirk writes about What The ‘Crack Baby’ Panic Reveals About The Opioid Epidemic:

….I was struck by a recent article in the New York Times by Catherine Saint Louis that chronicles approaches for caring for newborns born to mothers who are addicted to opioids. The article is remarkable in its command and explanation of the medical and policy issues at play in the ongoing epidemic, but its success derives from something more than that. Saint Louis expertly captures the human stories at the intersection of the wonder of childbirth and the grip of drug dependency in a Kentucky hospital, all while keeping the epidemic in view….

The article is an exemplar in a field of public-health-oriented writing about the opioid crisis—the most deadly and pervasive drug epidemic in American history—that has shaped popular and policy attitudes about the crisis. But the wisdom of that field has not been applied equally in recent history. The story of Jamie Clay and Jay’la Cy’anne stood out to me because it is so incongruous with the stories of “crack babies” and their mothers that I’d grown up reading and watching.

The term itself still stings. “Crack baby” brings to mind hopeless, damaged children with birth defects and intellectual disabilities who would inevitably grow into criminals. It connotes inner-city blackness, and also brings to mind careless, unthinking black mothers who’d knowingly exposed their children to the ravages of cocaine. Although the science that gave the world the term was based on a weak proto-study of only 23 children and has been thoroughly debunked since, the panic about “crack babies” stuck. The term made brutes out of people of color who were living through wave after waves of what were then the deadliest drug epidemics in history.

Of Trump, Jay Rosen writes His campaign to discredit the press is a permanent feature of Trump’s political style (article has detail around each point):

Which is to say this “war” (terrible term, clumsy and lazy) will almost certainly continue, despite the periodic discovery by journalists that Trump loves to banter with reporters, and that he lives and dies by the very media coverage that he poisonously calls fake. 

The campaign to discredit mainstream journalism is thus a permanent feature of Trump’s political style. Why? I have some ideas. But I probably missed a few. If you point them out in the comments (or by social media) I will add the best ones to this post, with credit. 

1. Because it’s a base-only presidency with a niche, not a broadcasting strategy….

2. Because this is what they have; they don’t have much else….

3. Because Trump is a creature of media— and its creation….

4. Because people in the White House think “media” warring is governing….

5. Because turning reporters into ritualized hate objects is easy to do, supporters love it, and it meets Trump’s need for public displays of dominance….

6. Because it’s the one campaign promise he can definitely keep….

7. Because with the Federal government in Republican hands there is an “enemy gap”….

8. Because it binds him to the base, which has been tutored in this resentment since 1969….

9. Because they know a lot of bad news has yet to emerge….

10. Because the sheer ugliness of the spectacle repels the uncommitted, persuading them that there’s no point in paying attention….

11. Because his fantasy claims during the campaign pre-ordained critical coverage if Trump won….

Avi Selk writes that Trump praised a woman’s body. A foreign minister wondered ‘if she could say the same of him’:

But, speaking of allies, what did they think of what Trump said in Australia, which has its own history of awkward diplomacy with the president?

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation called up the country’s foreign minister to find out.

“You’re in such good shape, such good physical shape, beautiful,” the host told Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, quoting Trump. “Would you be flattered or offended?”

This was arguably a politically sensitive question, what with alliance and all. But the foreign minister didn’t hesitate.

“I’d be taken aback,” Bishop said.

And then this zinger: “I wonder if she could say the same of him?”

(She probably couldn’t — Trump is sedentary to the point of obesity.)

Loren Grush writes that one can Feel like you’re zooming over Pluto and its moon Charon with NASA’s new 3D animations: