Daily Bread for 4.15.17

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-nine. Sunrise is 6:13 AM and sunset 7:38 PM. The moon is a waning gibbous with 83% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1945, British and Canadian soldiers liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp: “The scenes that greeted British troops were described by the BBC‘s Richard Dimbleby, who accompanied them: “…Here over an acre of ground lay dead and dying people. You could not see which was which… The living lay with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them … Babies had been born here, tiny wizened things that could not live … A mother, driven mad, screamed at a British sentry to give her milk for her child, and thrust the tiny mite into his arms, then ran off, crying terribly. He opened the bundle and found the baby had been dead for days. This day at Belsen was the most horrible of my life.”

On this day in 1861, Governor Alexander W. Randall receives a telegram from Washington requesting one regiment of 780 men to serve the Union for three months in the Civil War. (Within a week ten companies, from Kenosha, Beloit, Horican, Fond du Lac, Madison, and Milwaukee were ready.)

Recommended for reading in full — 

Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports that the White House to Keep Its Visitor Logs Secret: “WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The White House announced Friday that it would cut off public access to visitor logs revealing who is entering the White House complex and which officials they are meeting, breaking with the Obama administration’s practice and returning a cloak of secrecy over the basic day-to-day workings of the government….The announcement was another turnabout for Mr. Trump after a week of changing course on an array of domestic and foreign policy matters. In a 2012 posting on Twitter, he chided Mr. Obama for failing to release certain records, including college transcripts, as President George W. Bush had. “Hiding something?” Mr. Trump wrote then. Mr. Trump has rejected other basic standards of presidential disclosures, like the release of his tax returns, leading to questions over whether he would reveal who comes and goes at the White House.”

Alan Feuer reports that At Choate, Decades of ‘I’d Rather Let It Go at That’: “That attitude — letting it go at that — typified the response of the school’s administration toward the sexual misconduct of teachers for decades, according to the report, which was prepared for the school by an investigator at an outside law firm. The response continued through the administrations of three headmasters, one of whom remains a trustee for life at Choate. Since at least the 1960s, not only did at least a dozen Choate instructors prey upon their students, but a long list of administrators helped to keep the sexual abuse under wraps, rarely telling other members of the faculty and almost never alerting the authorities.”

T.R. Reid asks that Filing Taxes in Japan Is a Breeze. Why Not Here?” “Parliaments and revenue agencies all over the world have done what Congress seems totally unable to do: They’ve made paying taxes easy. If you walk down the street in Tel Aviv, Tokyo, London or Lima, Peru, you won’t see an office of H & R Block or a similar company; in most countries, there’s no need for that industry….What’s going on in these countries — and in many other developed democracies — is that government computers handle the tedious chore of filling out your tax return. The system is called “pre-filled forms,” or “pre-populated returns.” The taxpayer just has to check the numbers. If the agency got something wrong, there’s a mechanism for appeal. Our own Internal Revenue Service could do the same for tens of millions of taxpayers. For most families, the I.R.S. already knows all the numbers — wages, dividends and interest received, capital gains, mortgage interest paid, taxes withheld — that we are required to enter on Form 1040….Questions like that have prompted some members of Congress — including Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon; Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts; and Dan Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana — to champion pre-filled forms. But their bills never went anywhere because the tax-preparation industry lobbies strenuously against them. The “Tax Complexity Lobby,” as it has been called, includes big national preparers like H & R Block and tax-prep software companies.”

Gal Beckerman describes How Soviet Dissidents Ended 70 Years of Fake News: “True internal pushback against the Soviet regime began to emerge only in the 1960s, at the moment when the political temperature inside Russia was moving from post-Stalinist thaw back to chilly. The suppressions began with the trial of the satirical writers Yuli Daniel and Andrei Sinyavsky in early 1966. As protests and further trials followed, the dissidents were faced with an interesting dilemma: how to fight back most effectively in light of the information that was coming their way. Almost daily, they would hear the details of interrogations, stories passed around about life in the labor camps, and the drumbeat of searches and arrests. The dissidents could have presented their own form of propaganda, hyping the persecution and turning that rich Soviet lexicon of “hooligans” and “antisocial elements” into bitter screeds against the state itself. But they didn’t. They chose instead to communicate it all as dispassionately and clinically as possible. They reached for what we might call objectivity.”

So, why is Area 51 called Area 51?

Captured: Joseph Jakubowski

This community – and many others – will be able to enjoy Easter weekend without concern over Jakubowski as a continuing threat:

“RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. – Joseph Jakubowski was captured early Friday morning in western Richland County, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department told WRCO radio in Richland Center they got a tip last night at 8:30 p.m.Thursday about Jakubowski and that 4 different counties sheriff departments participated in the search.

He was apparently found off County Highway U in Richland County.”

Via Jakubowski captured in Richland County: Law enforcement got tip last night @ Channel 3000.com.

Posted 8:10 AM CDT.


Daily Bread for 4.14.17

Good Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with an even chance of afternoon thundershowers, and a high of sixty-five. Sunrise is 6:15 AM and sunset 7:36 PM. The moon is a waning gibbous with 89% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1775, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (then the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage) becomes America’s first abolition society. On this day in 1865, Pres. Lincoln is shot while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre (and passes away the next day). Former Wisconsin governor Leonard Farwell was in attendance and rushed to warn Vice President Andrew Johnson of an impending attack.

Recommended for reading in full —

Karen Madden writes that a Wisconsin Mega-dairy’s future in question after ruling: “SARATOGA – An appeals court has blocked key parts of a proposed large-scale dairy farm that has been the subject of controversy for years in central Wisconsin, leaving both sides of the 5-year-old issue wondering what happens next. The owners of the proposed farm, known as Golden Sands, do not have the right to use more than 6,000 acres of land for agriculture and manure spreading, according to the Wisconsin District IV Court of Appeals in a ruling issued Thursday morning. The ruling overturns an earlier decision by a Wood County Circuit Court judge, which found the Wysocki Family of Companies’ application for dairy buildings on 100 acres of Saratoga land allowed it to use additional land associated with the proposed dairy for agricultural purposes. The appellate judges who issued the ruling found that Golden Sands “fails to support” its legal claim to use the land as proposed.”

Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall consider Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs:

Proponents of drug prohibition claim that such policies reduce drug-related crime, decrease drug-related disease and overdose, and are an effective means of disrupting and dismantling organized criminal enterprises.

We analyze the theoretical underpinnings of these claims, using tools and insights from economics, and explore the economics of prohibition and the veracity of proponent claims by analyzing data on overdose deaths, crime, and cartels. Moreover, we offer additional insights through an analysis of U.S. international drug policy utilizing data from U.S. drug policy in Afghanistan. While others have examined the effect of prohibition on domestic outcomes, few have asked how these programs impact foreign policy outcomes.

We conclude that prohibition is not only ineffective, but counterproductive, at achieving the goals of policymakers both domestically and abroad. Given the insights from economics and the available data, we find that the domestic War on Drugs has contributed to an increase in drug overdoses and fostered and sustained the creation of powerful drug cartels. Internationally, we find that prohibition not only fails in its own right, but also actively undermines the goals of the Global War on Terror.

See, full study, Four Decades and Counting The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs.

Historian Rick Perlstein writes I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong: “A puzzle remains. If Donald Trump was elected as a Marine Le Pen-style — or Hiram Evans-style — herrenvolk republican, what are we to make of the fact that he placed so many bankers and billionaires in his cabinet, and has relentlessly pursued so many 1-percent-friendly policies? More to the point, what are we to the make of the fact that his supporters don’t seem to mind? Here, however, Trump is far from unique. The history of bait-and-switch between conservative electioneering and conservative governance is another rich seam that calls out for fresh scholarly excavation: not of how conservative voters see their leaders, but of the neglected history of how conservative leaders see their voters.”

David Graham observes that Press Secretary Sean Spicer Throws In the Towel: “Why had the president decided the Ex-Im Bank wasn’t such a bad idea? “Let me get back to you on the Ex-Im bank. It’s a very complex issue and I would like to get back.” Why does Trump no longer believe China is devaluing its currency, even though he has said so as recently as February? “It’s a very, very complex issue and I’m gonna leave it to the president to specifically answer it,” Spicer offered. There’s an element of comedy to this: Spicer’s job is to explain the president’s positions to the press and the public. And sure, the press secretary can’t be expected to be an expert in every topic. Except that Spicer knows a thing or two about trade policy, having served as a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during the George W. Bush administration.”

John Bacon explains Stuff you should know if you find a bat in your salad: “If you do find a bat in your salad, don’t touch it! The CDC says data suggest that transmission of the rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant or unrecognized bites from bats. “Human and domestic animal contact with bats should be minimized, and bats should never be handled by untrained and unvaccinated persons or be kept as pets,” the CDC says. A warning most of us probably don’t really need. If there is direct contact with a bat, unless you are certain there was no bite or scratch, the CDC recommends a delightful little regimen it calls “post-exposure prophylaxis.” Translation: a series of shots over two weeks. Also, if you are wondering whether you may have eaten salad from the recalled production line, fear not. “People who have eaten the recalled salad product and did not find animal material are not at risk and do not need to contact their health department,” the CDC cheerfully reports.”

Canadian Milk Producers Seek Regulatory Help to Defeat American Competition

The video below, from the Journal Sentinel, describes how Canadian dairy farmers, unable to compete in the market with Wisconsin & New York dairies, have sought regulatory help from the Canadian government because they cannot manage the volume of American milk production. (Rather than concede their own competitive inferiority, they’ve predictably blamed American dairies for producing too much.)

For every Wisconsin business that’s argued for a regulatory, protectionist advantage – this is what it feels like when foreign businesses plot with their regulators against a free market, to our disadvantage:

See, also, Dozens of Wisconsin dairy farms could be forced out of business because of trade dispute:

About 75 farms in Wisconsin have already been told that, in less than 30 days, Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood will no longer buy their milk – leaving the farms without a place to ship their product in an already oversupplied market.

At issue is a U.S-Canada trade dispute over what’s called “ultra-filtered milk,” a protein liquid concentrate used to make cheese. Grassland said it lost its Canadian business when Canada changed its dairy policies to favor domestic milk over a supply from the U.S.

Daily Bread for 4.13.17

Good morning.

Whitewater will see a rainy Thursday with a high of fifty-four. Sunrise is 6:14 AM and sunset 7:35 PM, for 13h 21m 21s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1743, Thomas Jefferson is born. On this day in 1864, the 14th, 29th, 33rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments help repulse Confederate troops attacking Union transport ships headed upstream on the Red River Expedition.

Recommended for reading in full —

Mike McIntire reports that After Campaign Exit, Manafort Borrowed From Businesses With Trump Ties: “Aug. 19 was an eventful day for Paul Manafort. That morning, he stepped down from guiding Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, after a brief tenure during which Mr. Trump won the Republican nomination, Democrats’ emails were hacked and the campaign’s contacts with Russia came under scrutiny. Dogged by revelations about past financial dealings in Ukraine, Mr. Manafort retreated from public view. But behind the scenes, he was busy with other matters. Papers were recorded that same day creating a shell company controlled by Mr. Manafort that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a [pro-Russian] Ukrainian-born billionaire and another led by a Trump economic adviser. They were among $20 million in loans secured by properties belonging to Mr. Manafort and his wife.”

Kelsey Sutton reports that GAO says it’s investigating Trump transition team: “The Government Accountability Office will investigate whether members of President Donald Trump’s transition team followed federal guidelines and ethics rules during the presidential transition, following complaints lodged by Democratic lawmakers in November. In a letter dated April 5 to Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the GAO confirmed that it would examine the transition team, including reviewing its use of federal funds and looking into the team’s communications with foreign governments. The letter was posted to Warren’s website this week and reported by The Associated Press on Wednesday.”

Jay Elwes conducts an interview with Richard Dearlove, the fomer head of Britain’s MI6, for Interview: Richard Dearlove—I spy nationalism: “…the allegations that members of Trump’s staff had illegal contact with the Russian government during the election campaign are “unprecedented,” said Dearlove. As for the president’s personal position, he said, “What lingers for Trump may be what deals—on what terms—he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money when others in the west apparently would not lend to him.” I also asked Dearlove about Trump’s suggestion that the US National Security Agency (NSA) or British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had bugged Trump Tower on the instructions of Barack Obama. This allegation was flatly rejected by both organisations and also by James Comey, Director of the FBI, who told Congress in a March hearing that “we have no information to support” Trump’s claim. “This is simply deeply embarrassing,” said Dearlove, “for Trump and the administration, that is. The only possible explanation is that Trump started tweeting without understanding how the NSA-GCHQ relationship actually works.”

Kaitlin Menza writes that Audience Laughs as Kellyanne Conway Complains About Liars: “She spoke at D.C.’s Newseum during an all-day examination of journalism in the Trump era. Other speakers included recent Pulitzer winner David Farenthold of the Washington Post and press secretary Sean Spicer. What does Conway, the woman who coined the term “alternative facts” to describe the information that President Trump relayed to the country regarding his inauguration crowd size, have to say about honesty in the media? “You can turn on the TV—more than you can read in the paper because I assume editors are still doing their jobs in most places—and people literally say things that just aren’t true,” Conway said with no trace of irony. The crowd at the Newseum promptly laughed in her face, to which she nodded and smiled as if to note she was in on the joke.”


Watch as a bald eagle protects her eaglet in during storm that spawned tornado in Washington:

He Knew

Raquel Rutledge reports that Eric Haertle knew the medical products he sold were infected:

The former co-owner and chief operating officer of a Hartland pharmaceutical company — once among the nation’s largest manufacturers of alcohol wipes — has pleaded guilty to shipping a product he knew was contaminated with dangerous bacterium.

Eric Haertle, who owned Triad Pharmaceuticals and its sister company, H & P Industries, along with his two siblings, made “false representations to FDA,” allowing hundreds of cases of alcohol pads labeled as “sterile” to be sent out when he knew samples from the lot had tested positive for bacillus cereus, a potentially deadly bacterium, according to the plea agreement filed in federal court….

Triad and H & P were named in at least 10 federal and state lawsuits claiming their products sickened and in some cases killed someone, including a case involving a 2-year-old Houston boy.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation in 2011 found the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had been in the company’s manufacturing plants repeatedly during the previous decade, citing the company for numerous health and safety violations.

At one visit, months before the Houston boy, Harry Kothari, died, FDA inspectors warned the company its product sterilization process was insufficient. But the agency took no formal enforcement action. It wasn’t until April of 2011, several months after Kothari’s death from a bacillus cereus infection, that U.S. Marshals raided the company and seized $6 million worth of product, essentially shutting down its operations.

Via Former owner of Triad, company whose contaminated wipes were tied to deaths, convicted of felony @ JSOnline.

See, also, full coverage of this matter in the Journal Sentinel‘s Shattered Trust series.

There’s an oft-repeated quotation that one should ‘never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.’ (The remark is commonly misattributed to Napoleon; its provenance lies elsewhere, and is more recent.)

In any event, self-professed incompetence is an all-too-easy (and often false) defense among sophisticated wrongdoers.

Eric Haertle wasn’t merely negligent.

He knew.

Daily Bread for 4.12.17

Good morning.

Midweek in Whitewater will be increasingly partly cloudy with a high of sixty-three. Sunrise is 6:16 AM and sunset 7:34 PM, for 13h 18m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-fifth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets today at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1861, Confederate forces begin the Civil War by firing on Fort Sumter. On this day in 1864, the 14th, 29th, and 33rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments help repulse Confederates attacking Union transport ships heading upstream on the Red River Expedition.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous report that the FBI obtained FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page: “The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said. The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials. This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.”

(On 11.7.16, Louise Mensch reported about the existence of FISA warrants in this regard, more generally, in EXCLUSIVE: FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia.)

Meg Jones reports that a Civil War group files a lawsuit to get Wisconsin city to mow grass around graves: “A Civil War group upset over conditions at a Muskego cemetery that contains Civil War veterans’ graves filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to get the city to mow the grass. The Sons of Union Veterans asked Muskego officials last year to clear weeds and debris from the graves at a tiny cemetery at the southwest corner of Ryan and North Cape roads. The city refused because the small plot is a plant sanctuary and the last native prairie in Muskego. Muskego clears away some of the plants in the spring with a controlled burn but that also concerns members of the Wind Lake chapter of Sons of Union Veterans. “From their periodic burnings that they do, it’s degraded the (burial) stones where they’re about ready to fall apart and tip over,” said Bob Koenecke, the group’s commander. “We’d like them to stop the burning and we’d like them to clean up the cemetery.” Under Wisconsin law, veterans’ graves must “receive proper and decent care” from cemetery owners. The lawsuit filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court Tuesday is seeking a declaratory judgment on whether the way Muskego is caring for the cemetery is proper and decent.”

Heidi M Przybyla writes that Republicans avoid town halls after health care votes: “The migration away from public forums has been going on for months, despite complaints from constituents and local media. There have been roughly 30 recent newspaper editorials slamming lawmakers for avoiding town halls and calling on members to face their voters, not only in bluer portions of the country like New York but also in critical battlegrounds like Pennsylvania’s 6th and 7th districts, represented by Reps. Pat Meehan and Costello. Costello’s office screened participants for his Saturday town hall through the online reservation site Eventbrite and forbid videotaping, leading the local Democratic Party chair to call the event “staged.” Others lawmakers are holding question-and-answer events over the phone or Facebook Live, a social media tool allowing them to speak to a camera while avoiding uncomfortable public exchanges with the citizens they represent.”

Tom Daykin writes that Journal Sentinel block to be redeveloped for newspaper’s offices, other uses: “A preliminary deal has been reached to sell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s longtime downtown headquarters to a Michigan development firm that plans to renovate it into offices for the newspaper and other businesses as well as street-level restaurant?space. ProVisions LLC, led by Murray Wikol,?also has conceptual plans to demolish a portion of the property, the old Milwaukee Sentinel building, and develop an 18-story office tower at the site….Gannett Co. Inc., which owns the Journal Sentinel, and Troy, Mich.-based ProVisions,?have reached a preliminary sale agreement. The companies hope to complete the transaction by June, Wikol said. “This better supports our business needs moving forward — it will allow us to improve our space for the future, including an emphasis on digital capabilities and collaboration,” said Chris Stegman, Journal Sentinel president. “It reinforces our commitment to the community and will be part of reinvigorating the west side of downtown.” Gannett plans to lease back space on the historic Milwaukee Journal building’s fourth and fifth floors, Wikol and Stegman said.”

(The headline should have read Gannett sells Journal Sentinel Building, Will Lease Back Only Part.)

A Great Pyrenees makes a break for it (but was found safe fifteen hours later sleeping in a nearby yard) —

Sarah Kendzior Ponders Foreign Affairs ‘In the Shadow of Putin’

Sarah Kendzior, an anthropologist with a background studying the dictatorships in the former Soviet republics of central Asia, speaks to Lindsay Beyerstein on Beyerstein’s The Breach podcast:

This week on The Breach, journalist Sarah Kendzior joins us to talk about the weaponization of information in Putin’s Russia. The full extent of Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election is still under investigation, but Russia has a well-documented history of influencing politics abroad with propaganda, disinformation, cold hard cash, and even cyber warfare. Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee was not an isolated incident.

SeeThe Breach: In the Shadow of Putin With Sarah Kendzior @ Rewire. A transcript of the podcast is available online.

Kendzior’s remarks about Russian political goals in 2016 are only part of a notable interview:

Lindsay: Some intelligence analysts have said that Putin’s initial goal was just to be a chaotic influence on the election but that he eventually gravitated towards a preference for Trump. Does that make sense?

Sarah: I think both things are possible. In a sense, it’s a win/win. To start off, I think that our institutions were already fragile before Russia intervened in any way. I think because they were fragile, Russia was able to pull off what they seem to have done in the manner that they did it. So I think in one sense they’re exacerbating problems that already existed and making them worse through propaganda and political maneuvering and other means. I think he also preferred Trump to win in part because Clinton was a fiercer opponent in terms of Russia’s geopolitical aims, but also because of this long history that Russia seems to have with Trump ranging from Manafort to Trump’s connection to oligarchs to various people who Trump employed in the cabinet, including Flynn who’s now gone, but also, Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson who received the order of friendship. Trump designed the cabinet that’s extremely pro Putin that has many individuals that have personal ties and corporate ties, and obviously that works to their advantage.

Daily Bread for 4.11.17

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of fifty-one. Sunrise is 6:17 AM and sunset 7:33 PM, for 13h 15m 45sof daytime. The moon is full, with 99.9% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-fourth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1898, Pres. McKinley asks Congress for a declaration of war against Spain. On this day in 1965, six tornadoes struck Southern Wisconsin, killing 3 and injuring 65, as part of an outbreak of 51 tornadoes responsible for 260 deaths and over $200 million in damages throughout Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Recommended for reading in full

Jacob Carpenter reports that a Milwaukee woman accuses jail staff of causing unborn child’s death: “A former inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail is alleging her unborn child died in the womb because of improper medical care she received while in Sheriff’s Office custody. Attorneys for Jennifer Jawson said they believe medical staff failed to give the 35-year-old mother proper prescriptions during her weeklong stint in jail. Jawson was nearly 9 months pregnant when her child’s heart stopped beating, her lawyers said Jawson’s attorneys on Friday filed a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit against a county agency. It’s the fifth notice of claim filed against the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office in relation to medical care and a death involving an inmate in 2016. Four people died at the facility last year.”

Anthony Faiola and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report How Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church against anti-migrant populism: “ As politicians around the world including President Trump take an increasingly hard line on immigration, a powerful force is rallying to the side of migrants: the Roman Catholic Church led by Pope Francis. Catholic cardinals, bishops and priests are emerging as some of the most influential opponents of immigration crackdowns backed by right-wing populists in the United States and Europe. The moves come as Francis, who has put migrants at the top of his agenda, appears to be leading by example, emphasizing his support for their rights in sermons, speeches and deeds. The pro-migrant drive risks dividing Catholics — many of whom in the United States voted for Trump. Some observers say it is also inserting the church into politics in a manner recalling the heady days of Pope John Paul II, who stared down communism and declared his opposition to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The Vatican is standing in open opposition to politicians like Trump not just on immigration but also on other issues, including climate-change policy. But the focal point is clearly migrant rights.”

Michael J. O’Loughlin reports New data suggest Clinton, not Trump, won Catholic vote: “According to an analysis of American National Election Studies data by a political scientist at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Catholic voters narrowly went for Democrat Hillary Clinton, 48 percent to 45 percent. Among Hispanic Catholics, Mrs. Clinton cleaned up handily, winning by more than 50 points.”

Rick Wilson contends that The Trouble With Trump’s White House Is Donald Trump: “Trump is faced with terrible options when it comes to rearranging the deck chairs on the SS White House, and those of us who warned you this was inevitable are ordering popcorn. The cancer in the presidency isn’t his staff—though they reflect his shoddy intellect, his shallow impulsiveness, his loose grasp of reality, and Chinese-menu ideology. The problem is Trump himself, and nothing and no one can change that. Let’s start with the leader of the Pepe Army sleeper cell at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Steve Bannon. If Trump keeps his chief strategist, he keeps the poisonous, post-conservative nationalism and thinly-veiled racial and religious animus that helped put him in the Oval Office. Bannon was great at running a conspiracy blog, but his political instincts are those of an arsonist, not a strategist. He has led Trump into a series of unforced political debacles, tainted relations with Congress, and alienated members of America’s new royal family. He’s already become persona non grata in Congress for his absurdly villainous performance trying unsuccessfully to browbeat them into accepting the ludicrously unpopular Trumpcare bill, and his economic nationalism is big-government statism wrapped in populist trade and industrial policies. Bannon is a famous brawler, and like many brawlers after too many beers, he lashes out any anyone for lookin’ at him funny. A Bannon power center in the White House is as dangerous as its vacuum.”

So, why do goats have weird eyes?

A Craft of Future Past

A Craft of Future Past: Mastering Antiquarian Horology from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

Brittany Nicole Cox is one of the only antiquarian horologists in the world. She’s basically a mechanic—a mechanic from the 17th century. Cox fixes old machines with watch or clock mechanisms inside them for a living. Often, these machines are missing parts that frequently no longer exist, so Cox fashions them herself. To visit her workshop is to see what the future looked like centuries ago, and while Cox’s trade is laborious, time-consuming and incredibly intricate, she is preserving a magical part of humanity’s past.

Film: Tuesday, April 11th, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park: Moonlight

This Tuesday, April 11th at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of Moonlight @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin community building.

Moonlight (2016) is a coming-of-age drama about a young, African-American man growing up and coming to terms with his identity and sexuality while living in a troubled Miami communityBarry Jenkins directs the one hour, fifty-one-minute film, starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, and Duan Sanderson. Moonlight won three 2017 Academy Awards (Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Mahershala Ali, and Best Adapted Screenplay). The film carries an R rating from the MPAA.

One can find more information about Moonlight at the Internet Movie Database.


Daily Bread for 4.10.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see a high of seventy on a day with a probability of thunderstorms. Sunrise is 6:19 AM and sunset 7:32 PM, for 13h 12m 57s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-third day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1866, Henry Bergh founds the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City. On this day in 1861, 26 volunteers from Sauk County depart for Madison where they would become part of the First Wisconsin Infantry, Company F. (By the end of the war, over one thousand men would serve in the Union Army from Sauk County alone.)

Recommended for reading in full —

Emily Steel reports that Fox Asks Law Firm to Investigate Bill O’Reilly Harassment Claim: “21st Century Fox has enlisted the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to investigate at least one accusation of sexual harassment against the Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. The move is the latest in the response to a New York Times investigation published this month on Mr. O’Reilly’s settlements with five women who complained of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior. Wendy Walsh, a former guest on Mr. O’Reilly’s show who detailed accusations against him to The Times, called 21st Century Fox’s anonymous hotline last week, prompting the investigation. “21st Century Fox investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters,” the company said in a statement on Sunday. Paul Weiss is the same law firm that conducted an internal investigation into Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman. 21st Century Fox executives decided to dismiss Mr. Ailes after the lawyers took statements from at least six women who described inappropriate behavior by him.”

Danny Vinik outlines Trump’s threat to the 2020 Census: “Already, Congress’ inability to agree on a full-year funding measure for fiscal 2017 has forced the Census Bureau to cancel multiple field tests and delay opening three field offices. It also had to cut back on new, less labor-intensive methods for verifying household addresses, a critical undertaking that was supposed to make the 2020 Census more cost-effective and accurate. And more broadly, the Trump administration’s hardline rhetoric and executive orders cracking down on undocumented immigrants may already be creating a major new risk for the census, making members of minority and immigrant communities less likely to respond. “If you imagine that the federal government is asking for personal information and you feel that the federal government is hostile and that if you were to answer this, perhaps they would use this against you,” said Terry Ao Minnis, director of the census and voting programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “That of course will make people less inclined to participate.”

Lindsey Rupp, Lauren Coleman-Lochner, and Nick Turner report that America’s Retailers Are Closing Stores Faster Than Ever: “Extrapolating out to the full year, there could be 8,640 store closings in 2017, Buss said. That would be higher than the 2008 peak of about 6,200. Retail defaults are contributing to the trend. Payless is closing 400 stores as part of a bankruptcy plan announced on Tuesday. The mammoth chain had roughly 4,000 locations and 22,000 employees — more than it needs to handle sluggish demand. HHGregg Inc., Gordmans Stores Inc. and Gander Mountain Co. all entered bankruptcy this year. RadioShack, meanwhile, filed for Chapter 11 for the second time in two years. Other companies are plowing ahead with store closures outside of bankruptcy court. Sears Holdings Corp., Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. are shutting hundreds of locations combined, reeling from an especially punishing slump in the department-store industry.”

Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr. describe How Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions: “A Washington Post examination found that Bannon was able to produce more than a dozen conservative documentaries over the past decade by drawing on a network of two dozen nonprofit organizations and private companies. Bannon helped arrange donations from wealthy Republicans to the nonprofits that paid him for films and other work, documents show. At the same time, Bannon and his firms took in at least $2 million from the nonprofits and an additional $5?million from the private companies, records show. Bannon, who had already made millions on Wall Street, often was paid in multiple ways for each project — a common practice in Hollywood, where he had worked as an entertainment financier. Because he was paid through the nonprofit and private companies, which have limited obligations to disclose details about their activities, the total pay to Bannon remains unknown. In a personal financial disclosure released by the White House last month, Bannon reported his net worth as between $11.8 million and $53.8 million. Bannon, the White House and Schweizer did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Tax specialists told The Post that some of Bannon’s activities raise questions about compliance with Internal Revenue Service restrictions against using tax­exempt charities to attack a political candidate or for excessive personal financial benefit.”

Simon Whistler presents The Rubber Band: Holding It Together Since 1820:

Daily Bread for 4.9.17

Good morning.

Palm Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of seventy-three. Sunrise is 6:21 AM and sunset 7:31 PM, for 13h 10m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 97% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1865, Lee surrenders to Grant. The 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments were among the troops that had helped corner Lee there. The 36th were present to witness the formal surrender ceremony.

Recommended for reading in full —

Margaret Sullivan observes that The media loved Trump’s show of military might. Are we really doing this again?: ““Guest after guest is gushing. From MSNBC to CNN, Trump is receiving his best night of press so far,” wrote Sam Sacks, a Washington podcaster and journalist. “And all he had to do was start a war.” Why do so many in the news media love a show of force? “There is no faster way to bring public support than to pursue military action,” said Ken Paulson, head of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center. “It’s a pattern not only in American history, but in world history. We rally around the commander in chief — and that’s understandable.” Paulson noted that the news media also “seem to get bored with their own narrative” about Trump’s failings, and they welcome a chance to switch it up. But that’s not good enough, he said: “The watchdog has to have clear vision and not just a sporadic bark.”

(This is true of successful criticism: it begins and exhibits periods of a sporadic bark’s maneuver, but it prevails though a clear vision’s attrition. See, along these lines, What Grant’s Overland Campaign Teaches for Grave Political Conflict.)

Former GOP Congressman Mickey Edwards exclaims Stand Up, Paul Ryan, or Step Aside: “The toadiness of the legislative leadership, and the low regard in which it is held by the president’s entourage, have led to such previously unimaginable scenes as Stephen Bannon, a senior White House staff member, giving orders to members of Congress and demanding a copy of the leadership’s secret vote counts to create an enemies list for possible reprisals. Mr. Bannon should have been ordered to leave the Capitol. Again, it was Speaker Ryan’s job at that moment to assert the independence and equal status of the legislative branch. Instead, he obsequiously ran downtown to see the boss.”

(Local publications like the Janesville Gazette have cosseted Janesville resident Paul Ryan for years, but their gentle petting has ill-prepared Ryan for defending his institution against men like Bannon.)

Jeremy Peters contends that Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’: “The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner….But those who question Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon’s motives say the central premise of “The Fourth Turning,” with its religious subtext and dark premonitions, is a convenient excuse to sow fear and justify extreme action. Many academic historians dismiss the book as about as scientific as astrology or a Nostradamus text. And many will find reason for alarm in its conclusion that the coming crisis will demand loyalty and conformity from citizens.”

(It’s worth noting that Bannon’s ideas derive from several, but equally fringe, theories.)

Joshua Partlow reports that The Soviet Union fought the Cold War in Nicaragua. Now Putin’s Russia is back: “Three decades after this tiny Central American nation became the prize in a Cold War battle with Washington, Russia is once again planting its flag in Nicaragua. Over the past two years, the Russian government has added muscle to its security partnership here, selling tanks and weapons, sending troops, and building facilities intended to train Central American forces to fight drug trafficking. The Russian surge appears to be part of the Kremlin’s expansionist foreign policy. In other parts of the world, President Vladimir Putin’s administration has deployed fighter planes to help Syria’s war-battered government and stepped up peace efforts in Afghanistan, in addition to annexing the Crimean Peninsula and supporting separatists in Ukraine.”

Here’s a video from You Suck at Cooking that tackles tomato sauce:

Daily Bread for 4.8.17

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Saturday will be sunny with a high of sixty-nine. Sunrise is 6:22 AM and sunset 7:30 PM, for 13h 07m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 92.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fifty-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s home-run record (714) by hitting his 715th home run off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing. On this day in 1865, Union forces including the 8th, 11th, 14th, 20th, 23rd, 27th, 28th, 29th, 33rd, and 35th Wisconsin Infantry regiments capture Spanish Fort and seize control of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Recommended for reading in full —

Jason Stein and Patrick Marley report GOP allies Scott Walker, Robin Vos have heated Twitter, text exchange on Wisconsin budget: “As I recall, the debate started with the unprecedented discussion of starting with a new budget & the continued attacks on transportation. It would be odd if I didn’t defend my positions,” Walker wrote at one point in the text exchange. “I think it actually started with the decision of your office to not really involve us before the process began unlike each of your other budgets … So without giving us ownership of anything in your budget it’s kind of hard for us (to) just rubber stamp it,” Vos responded. “Unlike the last budget where we met with nearly every member in advance & got trashed,” Walker snapped back.”

The New York Times editorial board asks, After the Airstrikes on Syria, What’s Next?: “It was hard not to feel some sense of emotional satisfaction, and justice done, when American cruise missiles struck an airfield in Syria on Thursday. The country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, needed to understand that there would finally be a cost for his brutality, in this case the use of chemical weapons with sarin, a banned nerve agent, that killed scores of civilians earlier this week in one of the worst atrocities of the Syrian civil war. But it is also hard not to feel unsettled by the many questions raised by President Trump’s decision. Among them: Was it legal? Was it an impetuous, isolated response unrelated to a larger strategy for resolving the complex dilemma of Syria, a nation tormented not just by civil war but also by the fight against the Islamic State? So far, there is no evidence that Mr. Trump has thought through the implications of using military force or figured out what to do next.”

Louisa Loveluck and Zakaria Zakaria write that Warplanes return to Syrian town devastated by chemical attack: “ Residents of the Syrian town devastated by a chemical-weapons attack last week said that warplanes had returned to bomb them Saturday as Turkey described a retaliatory U.S. assault as “cosmetic” unless it removed President Bashar al-Assad from power. At least 86 people were killed in Tuesday’s attack on the northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun, which left hundreds choking, fitting or foaming at the mouth. Eyewitnesses said Saturday that fresh airstrikes on the area — now a ghost town — had killed one woman and wounded several others. Photographs from the site showed a pair of green slippers, abandoned by a blood-spattered doorway. The U.S. military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield early Friday in the first direct American assault on Assad’s government since that country’s six-year civil war began. Although American officials have predicted that the strikes would result in a major shift of Assad’s calculus, they appeared to be symbolic in practice. Within 24 hours of the American strikes, monitoring groups reported that jets were taking off from the bombed Shayrat air base once again.”

Rosie Gray writes of Trump’s Disillusioned Supporters (the president’s military action in Syria is a bitter disappointment for some of his biggest fans): “What Trump did was nothing less than a betrayal, a betrayal of his supporters, of his message ‘America First!,’ of his promise to be different—to learn from the mistakes of the past and chart a new course,” said Richard Spencer, the alt-right leader who takes credit for coining the term. “I’ll wait and see, of course, but I’m not sure I can continue to support him. Most all of the alt-right feels the same way.” Spencer tweeted on Thursday, “Tulsi Gabbard 2020 #Trumped,” a reference to the Democratic congresswoman who recently made a controversial trip to Syria and met with Bashar al-Assad. Mike Cernovich, the pro-Trump blogger and Twitter personality who identifies as a member of the “new right,” has been tweeting and livestreaming his opposition to military action almost constantly since the news of the strikes last night. Cernovich, who claimed this week that the chemical attack was carried out by “deep state agents,” told me he still supports Trump. “If Hillary had been elected I wouldn’t even bother speaking out, as war would be certain,” Cernovich said in an email. “I’m still a Trump supporter, as last night’s air strikes appeared to have been limited. I do not and will not support another war in the Middle East.” “There comes a day in every child’s life when his Daddy bitterly disappoints him,” Milo Yiannopoulos, the former Breitbart tech editor and provocateur who resigned from the site earlier this year amid controversy over remarks he’d made about pedophilia, wrote on his Facebook on Thursday night.”

Tech Insider describes 5 survival myths that could get you killed:

Less is Often More

Whitewater’s Common Council had a several items of interest on its agenda for last night’s meeting (among them A Hotel, a Party Plan, and a Dog).

The hotel and the dog (a police canine) were dropped from the agenda, and the item about a party plan (to address larger-scale social events) was discussed only in part. There was discussion of a mailing, with the latest proposal being a revision of an earlier mailing; the best practice will be to wait and see what a final product (if any) looks like.

As for dropping items from the agenda, as long as the items aren’t emergency needs (and neither a dog nor a hotel fits that category), I’ll suggest that less is more. As a procedural and as a legal matter under our Open Meetings Law, Wis. Stats. §§ 19.81-19.98, it’s true that ordinarily the concern is adding items, not omitting them.)

On a hotel in particular, there’s no reason concern oneself too much with it, as for the near-term it’s always been a longshot.

There’s something amusing in this matter from the Banner, whose publisher has flacked countless ineffectual capital-spending programs for years, showing apparent concern over a tax-credit-chasing hotel project for the center of town that’s unlikely to break ground there. In the improbable event that this should be a later-in-life conversion to a more prudent outlook, one should welcome it.

Daily Bread for 4.7.17

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of fifty-seven. Sunrise is 6:24 AM and sunset 7:28 PM, for 13h 04m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 85.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred fiftieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1862, Union forces under the command of Gen. Grant defeat Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in southwestern Tennessee. On this day in 1970, the Milwaukee Brewers play their first game at County Stadium.

Recommended for reading in full —

Annysa Johnson and Kevin Crowe report that Wisconsin voters continue to approve more school referendums as $700 million OK’d this week: “Voters across Wisconsin agreed Tuesday to boost local school spending by an additional $700 million, approving the majority of referendums school districts placed on the ballots. In all, voters agreed to take on an additional $464.7 million in new debt for building projects — on top of the $1.35 billion approved last year — and to contribute an additional $235 million for operating expenses. Of the 65 questions before voters Tuesday, 40, or 62% passed, including a near-record $181.3 million sought for the burgeoning Verona Area School District in Dane County. But more than a third of the measures failed, an outcome district officials say will force them to cut programming, lay off staff, and eliminate or defer building maintenance and improvements.”

Adam Taylor reports that Trump loves a conspiracy theory. Now his allies in the fringe media say he’s falling for one in Syria: “Across the Internet, an alternative take on the horrific attack — widely attributed to the Syrian government — has begun to spread. It was a “false flag,” the theory goes, designed to trick Trump into intervening more forcefully in the Syrian war. Those spreading this theory are often closely linked to the “alt-right,” a small, far right movement whose members are known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view. One of the most notorious figures associated with the movement, Mike Cernovich, posted tweets on Wednesday claiming that the gut-wrenching footage of victims of the attack had been faked.”

Note: There’s ample evidence that the gas attacks against civilians were both genuine and devasating; Trump’s trafficked in so many lies, and his most rabid supporters are so accustomed to lies, that now a conspiracy-driven chief executive faces his own conspiracy-driven vanguard.

Maggie Haberman, Jeremy Peters, and Peter Baker report that It’s Bannon vs. Kushner: “WASHINGTON — Thick with tension, the conversation this week between Stephen K. Bannon, the chief White House strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, had deteriorated to the point of breakdown. Finally, Mr. Bannon identified why they could not compromise, according to someone with knowledge of the conversation. “Here’s the reason there’s no middle ground,” Mr. Bannon growled. “You’re a Democrat.” The schism within Mr. Trump’s perpetually fractious White House has grown in recent weeks, fueled by personality, ideology and ambition. At its core are Mr. Bannon, the edgy, nationalist bomb-thrower suddenly in the seat of power, and Mr. Kushner, the polished, boyish-looking scion of New Jersey and New York real estate. Even as Mr. Kushner’s portfolio of responsibilities has been expanding, Mr. Bannon’s in recent days has shrunk with the loss of a national security post.”

The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes that, in reponse to Trump, California Fights Back: “For starters, California should continue to pursue its agenda on human and civil rights, on clean air, water and climate change, and on equality. Trump can dismantle the federal Clean Power Plan, but he can’t stop the state from moving toward its renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030 as laid out in SB 350 two years ago. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can reduce national fuel efficiency standards, but if it seeks to revoke California’s waiver that lets the state set its own, tougher rules, state lawmakers should fight back, including taking the agency to court if necessary. Trump can continue his counterproductive and mean-spirited efforts to deport non-criminal immigrants living in the country illegally, but the state’s local law enforcement agencies are not legally required to do the feds’ job for them; they should not.”

What would an orchestra of typerwiters sound like? Playing Against Type: The Typewriter Orchestra shows

Playing Against Type: The Typewriter Orchestra from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

For pre-digital natives, there’s nothing quite as nostalgia-inducing as the manual “click,” “clack” and “ding” sounds of an old mechanical typewriter. That’s why The Boston Typewriter Orchestra is making these old machines quite literally “sing” again. Since 2004, this six-man ensemble has been playing a range of covers and original songs on both desktop and portable machines from years past. And if you thought all typewriters emitted the same sounds, think again. This orchestra’s sonorous symphonies have captivated crowds all over New England.