Daily Bread for 12.1.23: The Parade

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be rainy earlier in the day with a high of 37. Sunrise is 7:06 and sunset 4:21 for 9h 15m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 82.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott

Whitewater’s annual Christmas parade takes place tonight. The parade begins at 6 PM, with events before and after. (See the link to the Downtown Whitewater Facebook page with details on those accompanying events.)

(The parade route — principally along Main Street — is in green, the staging area in red, and the detour route in black.)

The Parade of Lights, like the July 4th parade held nearly half a year earlier, brings together people from across the city without charge, and without expectation other than a common, joyous celebration.

Preserving these parades, and building from them, is part of the work of re-knitting the city. 

What’s in the Night Sky December 2023:  Geminid Meteor Shower | Astronaut’s Tool Bag:

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Daily Bread for 11.30.23: The End (for Now) of Interest Rate Increases?

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 44. Sunrise is 7:05 and sunset 4:22 for 9h 16m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 89.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1938, in London, the Crystal Palace is destroyed by fire.

By Philip Henry Delamotte (1821–1889) – Smithsonian Libraries, Public Domain,

Jeanna Smialek and  report Fed Officials Hint That Rate Increases Are Over, and Investors Celebrate (Stocks and bonds were buoyed after even inflation-focused Federal Reserve officials suggested that rates may stay steady):

Taken together with other recent remarks from Fed officials, the latest comments offer an increasingly clear signal that central bank policymakers may be finished with their campaign to increase interest rates in a bid to slow demand and cool inflation. Interest rates are already set to a range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent. The Fed’s next meeting will take place on Dec. 12-13, and investors are overwhelmingly betting that the central bank will hold rates steady, as policymakers did at their last two meetings.


Fed officials have been nervously watching continued strength in the economy: Gross domestic product expanded at a breakneck 4.9 percent annual rate [later revised to 5.2] in the third quarter. The concern has been that continued solid demand will give companies the wherewithal to continue raising prices quickly. 

But recently, job growth has eased and consumer price inflationhas shown meaningful signs of a broad-based slowdown. That is giving policymakers more confidence that their current policy setting is aggressive enough to wrestle price increases fully under control.

Positive national economic news is an early Christmas present from Americans to America. 

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Elk:

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Daily Bread for 11.29.23: About Those Wisconsin Best & Worst Lists

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 41. Sunrise is 7:04 and sunset 4:22 for 9h 18m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 95% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1961, Enos, a chimpanzee, is launched into space. The spacecraft orbits the Earth twice and splashes down off the coast of Puerto Rico.

  Rick Barrett reports Why Wisconsin is the ‘best’ or ‘worst’ place on so many random lists (‘Clickbait or helpful, rankings for cities and states are viral marketing’):

The Green Bay Packers have some of the sexiest fans in the NFL and Milwaukee’s Gen-Zers are No. 1 in the nation for leaving the nest.

As a state, Wisconsin has bragging rights beyond cheese. We’re one of the “least clumsy” states, according to a ranking, and we’re fifth in the nation among elderly-friendly labor markets.

Those are just a few of the dozens of surveys, rankings, and studies that pour into journalists’ emails, some serious and others nothing more than clickbait. Some result in stories while others fall flat.

Even zombies have weighed in on the action.

In one study, Milwaukee was ranked 66th among U.S. cities best able to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Huntington Beach, Calif., was No. 1 followed by Bellevue, Wash.; Alexandria, Va.; and Minneapolis.

California lawn care company uses surveys for marketing

The zombie study was done by Lawn Love, an online lawn-care company and prolific publisher of city and state rankings, some of which actually include topics like lawn irrigation.

There may be useful information in these lists, but their primary purpose is to promote a product. See also @ FREE WHITEWATER, Live by Clickbait Marketing, Perish by Clickbait Marketing.

Curious dolphins watch aquarium staff member mop the floor:

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Daily Bread for 11.28.23: Opportunity If We’ll Take It

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 23. Sunrise is 7:03 and sunset 4:22 for 9h 19m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5 PM

  On this day in 1895, the first American automobile race takes place over the 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea wins in approximately 10 hours.

  A 11.21.23 essay from Brookings by author Homi Kharas describes what fuels middle-class optimism. (Kharas has a new book, The Rise of the Global Middle Class, that I have not yet read. For today, this post confines itself to Kharas’s 11.21 essay.) 

Kharas notes the rise of a global middle class:

Joining the middle class has been a ticket to the good life for two centuries now, a history I trace in a new book “The Rise of the Global Middle Class.” The American Dream, the glorious years of European reconstruction after World War II, miracle economic growth in Japan and other East Asian countries, Xi Jinping’s great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and India’s software revolution each brought hundreds of millions of people into the ranks of the global middle class. Today, thanks to this progress, most of the world, upwards of 4 billion people, enjoy a middle-class or better lifestyle for the first time ever.

Yes. (I’ll note that the period of China’s greatest economic success came only after liberalizing her economy toward freer markets, and that period of liberalization is regrettably over.)

Here’s how Kharas describes middle-class optimism:

Middle-class life satisfaction rests on two pillars. The first is the idea that hard work and self-initiative will lead to prosperity. The second is that thanks to this prosperity, the children of middle-class families will enjoy even more opportunities for the good life.

There’s a local aspect to this. To be successful, a community needs to have middle-class success. 

In Whitewater, CDA types in the decade from 2010-2020 failed to capitalize on state and national economic gains. See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom. (“While Wisconsin and America advanced, these gentlemen were left admitting reluctantly their own poor performance. (There was a national boom, uplifting many cities, but it passed by Whitewater. What did Whitewater get after the Great Recession, years into a national boom? Whitewater received a designation as a low-income community.  The gentlemen speaking, these ‘Greater Whitewater’ development men, were by their own accounts at the center of local CDA policy during most of the years that the state and national boom ignored Whitewater.) See also A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA (“This new EOZ program allows for private investments to be made, with significant tax benefits, in lower income communities like ours that need a boost to their economy,” said Larry Kachel, Chair of the Whitewater Community Development Authority (CDA).” Emphasis added.)

We have a chance for better. See A Development Director for Whitewater (“Whitewater’s development policy is meant to be a community development policy, not one captured against the public interest by a few. Who owns Whitewater? The proper answer — the answer suitable for a beautiful, well-ordered American town — is everyone and no one.”)

Rescued baby turtles scurry into the sea:

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Daily Bread for 11.27.23: Car v. Deer

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 26. Sunrise is 7:02 and sunset 4:23 for 9h 21m 17s of daytime. The moon is full with 100% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee meets at 6 PM and the full board at 7 PM. Earlier, Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM.

  On this day in 1945, CARE (then the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe) is founded to send CARE Packages of food relief to Europe after World War II.

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT [Large language model].

  John Davis reports Car-deer accidents in Wisconsin in 2023 are expected to be similar to recent years (‘In the last 15 years, the chances of hitting a deer have increased’): 

Wisconsin drivers are on pace to hit as many deer this year as they have in each of the past three years.

Car-deer accidents in the state have been declining recently according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. But according to data from an insurance company, there’s still a greater chance of hitting a deer now in Wisconsin than there was 15 years ago.

“Recently, it’s been holding pretty steady,” said David Pabst, director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “We’re still doing over 16,000 crashes over the last three years, and we’re on that same track right now for 2023.”

Pabst said there have been about 11,000 car-deer accidents as of mid-October of this year. Between 25 and 33 percent of all the state’s car-deer accidents happen in October and November each year. This is the mating season for deer, also known as the rut, and deer are on the move. Most deer accidents this time of year happen in the dark, especially around dawn and dusk.


“We’ve always thought of deer hunting as a northern thing and that was certainly the case in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,” said DNR deer program specialist Jeff Pritzl. “There’s still deer up north, but at the turn of the century, the deer population in the southern half of Wisconsin blossomed and continues to.”

This libertarian blogger uses a Mac, not a PC, but millions of Americans use their PCs for work and gaming. Many gamers enjoy snacks when battling monsters or fighting enemy armies while communicating with other players via headset. Where there’s a will, there’s a way: Steve Mollman reports Doritos is offering gamers AI-powered software that cancels out annoying crunching sounds. Mollam reports: 

Consider eating Doritos while playing video games. For many, gaming and the popular PepsiCo snack go hand-in-hand, but there’s a problem for players communicating via headset mics: crunching sounds. Many complain the noises distract them and hurt their performance.

AI has come the rescue in the form of Doritos Silent, described in a PepsiCo promotional video as “the world’s first AI-augmented snack powered by crunch cancellation.” The idea is that players can munch away without fear of disturbing other players. In addition to the snack there is software available for free download (it only works with Windows PCs for now).

Developing the product took six months and involved artificial intelligence and machine learning analyzing more than 5,000 crunch sounds, according to the snacks-and-beverage giant.


Of course, many observers might dismiss Doritos Silent as a trivial development, or a mere marketing ploy. A PC Gamer review called it “profoundly stupid,” while admitting it worked well enough with Doritos, if not always with competing snacks.

Either way, Doritos Silent speaks to how drawn marketers are to the video game industry (including Heineken, which recently offered a gaming PC that doubles as a fridge). Globally this year, that industry is expected to generate $188 billion in revenue, up 2.6% from 2022, according to a report from Newzoo, an Amsterdam-based industry tracker.

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Daily Bread for 11.26.23: Winter in Wisconsin – A Place Like No Other

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see light snow in the morning, followed by a mixture of clouds and sunshine, with a high of 33. Sunrise is 7:00 and sunset 4:23 for 9h 22m 55s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1838, the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature assembles in Madison for the first time:

[A]fter moving from the temporary capital in Burlington, Iowa, the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature assembled in Madison for the first time. Two years earlier, when the territorial legislature had met for the first time in Belmont, many cities were mentioned as possibilities for the permanent capital — Cassville, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Platteville, Mineral Point, Racine, Belmont, Koshkonong, Wisconsinapolis, Peru, and Wisconsin City. Madison won the vote, and funds were authorized to erect a suitable building in which lawmakers would conduct the people’s business.

Progress went so slowly, however, that some lawmakers wanted to relocate the seat of government to Milwaukee, where they also thought they would find better accommodations than in the wilds of Dane Co. When the legislature finally met in Madison in November 1838 there was only an outside shell to the new Capitol. The interior was not completed until 1845, more than six years after it was supposed to be finished. On November 26, 1838, Governor Henry Dodge delivered his first speech in the new seat of government.

We’ve had some snow today, and that’s sure to delight some but disappoint others.  Wisconsin offers myriad winter adventures. Sam Li’s Winter in Wisconsin – A Place Like No Other highlights some of our cold-weather offerings. Go ahead, lean in: 

The 3D printer that crafts complex robotic organs in a single run:

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Daily Bread for 11.25.23: Shop Small Today in Whitewater

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 35. Sunrise is 6:59 and sunset 4:24 for 9h 24m 35s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 95.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1783, the last British troops leave New York City three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris:

Evacuation Day on November 25 marks the day in 1783 when the British Army departed from New York City on Manhattan Island, after the end of the American Revolutionary War. In their wake, General George Washington triumphantly led the Continental Army from his headquarters north of the city across the Harlem River, and south through Manhattan to the Battery at its southern tip.

It’s Shop Small Saturday in Whitewater. Join your fellow residents at Cravath Lakefront Park, 341 S. Fremont Street, for a festive day in our small & beautiful city — 

Usher in the holiday season by supporting all things local. This family-friendly FREE event will feature more than 40 local, small businesses that you can support on Small Business Saturday. Enjoy food trucks, sweet treats, live music, pictures with Santa and holiday shopping. November 25th from 10-2p!

Hawk photobombs a Minnesota traffic camera and stares deeply into it:

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Daily Bread for 11.24.23: A Development Director for Whitewater

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 30. Sunrise is 6:58 and sunset 4:24 for 9h 26m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 90.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1971, during a severe thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper (aka D. B. Cooper) parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane with $200,000 in ransom money. He has never been found.

Like most people, this libertarian blogger likes to listen to music. Much of my favorite music is jazz, and some of that jazz music is played on a piano. I, however, do not play the piano. (A cat walking across the keys would produce a more pleasing sound than any effort of mine.) 

And yet, and yet, like so many others who don’t play the piano, I can tell the difference between competent playing and… something less.

Now, I’m not a ‘development’ person (and have never claimed to be one). Instead, any critique of Whitewater’s traditional development approach offered at FREE WHITEWATER has rested on simple, fundamental analyses of economics, evidence of performance, logical reasoning, and good government.

On this last point: Whitewater’s development policy is meant to be a community development policy, not one captured against the public interest by a few. Who owns Whitewater? The proper answer — the answer suitable for a beautiful, well-ordered American town — is everyone and no one.

Soon, the City of Whitewater will have a new Economic Development Director. WhitewaterWise reports Berg hired as city’s economic development director:

The Whitewater Common Council Tuesday learned from City Manager John Weidl that Calli Berg has been hired as the city’s new economic development director.

According to her resume, Berg brings 25 years of experience in “all aspects of economic development, including business retention, attraction, and expansion,” along with other skill sets, including financial analysis and packaging, grant writing, administration, fund management, and tax increment and credit programs.

She is currently employed as the director of economic development, Milwaukee County, serving in that position since January of 2022. Prior to that, she worked as the director of economic development in the city of Franklin, between 2018 and 2022, and was the president and owner of BDM Services, a company, according to her resume, which provided consulting services to municipalities regarding economic development activities. The business began its operations in 2008.

Berg has additionally held such positions as business development manager with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and director of the Coloma-Watervliet Area Economic Development Corporation, in Berrien County, Mich.

She holds an undergraduate degree in business administration-marketing, and is certified by the International Economic Development Council as an economic developer. She is recognized by the National Development Council as an economic development finance professional and has been named by West Michigan Business Direct Weekly as a Business Leader Under 40, and has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Michigan Economic Developers Association, according to her resume.

Ms. Berg has an impressive background in development policy.

This libertarian blogger is a tragic optimist, but the fundamental outlook of tragic optimism is, happily, optimism.  

While so very many in the city will be rooting for Calli Berg’s success, no one in Whitewater will be more hopeful than I’ll be. 

One wishes the very best for Ms. Berg in applying her experience and her insight to advance Whitewater’s community development on behalf of all our community.

James Webb Space Telescope captures stunning view of Milky Way’s heart:

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Film: Tuesday, November 28, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, In the Heart of the Sea

Tuesday, November 28th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of In the Heart of the Sea @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:


Rated PG-13

2 hours, 2 minutes (2015) 

A dramatization of the true events that inspired Herman Melville’s classic American novel “Moby Dick.” In 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted and destroyed by a mammoth great white whale. This film recreates the telling of that tale by a survivor, to an incredulous young Herman Melville. Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Holland. Directed by Ron Howard. Incredible visual effects!

One can find more information about In the Heart of the Sea at the Internet Movie Database.

Friday Catblogging: Nearly 300 Different Facial Expressions

See Think cats are aloof? They make nearly 300 facial expressions, study says:

Brittany Florkiewicz has always been a dog person, but she was surprised by what she discovered when reviewing more than 100 hours of cat videos.

Florkiewicz, a psychology professor at an Arkansas college, spent her childhood running around her yard with her family’s German shepherds and Labrador retrievers. She believed dogs were friendlier and more expressive than cats, as many pet owners do.

That changed when she and a co-researcher began studying cats in 2021 to learn more about how they communicate and express themselves. After videotaping and reviewing felines’ facial expressions at a cat cafe for nearly a year, Florkiewicz debunked her lifelong belief.

The researchers found that cats displayed at least 276 different facial expressions, according to the study’s results, which published last month in the journal Behavioural Processes. Florkiewicz told The Washington Post that the findings show cats are more articulate and affectionate than previously thought.

Daily Bread for 11.23.23: Happy Thanksgiving

 Good morning.

Thanksgiving in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 41. Sunrise is 6:57 and sunset 4:25 for 9h 28m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 82.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1876, corrupt Tammany Hall leader William Magear Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) is delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.

 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons Are Inflated:

How to Carve a Turkey | The New York Times:

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Daily Bread for 11.22.23: Puzzling, Ongoing Irresponsibility

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 43. Sunrise is 6:56 and sunset 4:26 for 9h 29m 52s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 75.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1963, President Kennedy is assassinated and Texas Governor John Connally is seriously wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald, who also kills Dallas Police officer J. D. Tippit after fleeing the scene. Vice President Johnson is sworn in as the 36th President of the United States afterward.

Yesterday, I linked to the agenda of the Whitewater Common Council session for 11.21.23. In that Tuesday post, this libertarian blogger listed several agenda items that drew my particular interest. Today’s post will consider one of those items, No. 27. Embedded above is a video recording of the session, with the discussion of Item 27 beginning on the video at 2:14:30

Here is Item 27: 

Item 27. Discussion and possible action regarding the formation of a council action plan to address Common Council self-governance- Common Council/HR

At the 11.7.23 session of the Whitewater Common Council — only two weeks earlier — the performance of the council majority had fallen so far that after returning from closed session the council issued the following statement: 

At this time, the Council wishes to make the following statement: 

The Council is respectful that each individual councilmember has distinct, competing, and divergent viewpoints designed to promote the best interests of the city and representation of the community.

The Council intends to work on a plan to enhance the effectiveness of the Council as a body and as that body works with the employees of the city. The Council is committed to Robert’s Rules as a guideline and the city’s Transparency Ordinance.

The Council will explore and conduct training as to governance, conduct of meetings, and open meeting compliance, and encourage appointed office holders to participate in such opportunities.

The Council will explore standards of decorum and civility for its meetings.

The Council will work with the City Manager for the development of an onboarding process for newly elected and appointed office holders. The Council will set expectations for self-accountability, individual commitment to one another. 

The Council will consider whether the use of outside resources is of benefit to this process including resources from CVMIC, and the executive branch of the city, facilitators, or other resources. 

The Council’s commitment to this plan is ongoing, which the Council will address at subsequent meetings. 

See The Complaint Against (Some) on the Whitewater Common Council.

In all recent memory, over decades, no common council in the City of Whitewater has had to admit to performance so inadequate. (Council President Allen did not read the statement; he left it to another councilmember while he sat saying nothing on behalf of the council he leads.) 

A few remarks about the discussion of Item 27 from last night’s session: 

1. His “Bad.” One would imagine that having listened to the early November statement, Allen would remember its significance only two weeks later. One would imagine that an agenda item on 11.21 that plainly reads “Discussion and possible action” would cause Allen to prepare for discussion and possible action. Apparently not. 

Instead, Allen tried to push on without discussion to Item 28. When he was reminded that he was skipping an item that directly addresses this council’s self-governance, Allen replied “My bad.” See video at 2:15:46

Yes, his bad. A responsible leader would have remembered this item, prepared for it, and made it a key part of this meeting. 

2. The Handouts on Robert’s Rules.  It’s a commendable service to this city that HR Manager Sara Marquardt ordered and distributed laminated handouts with key points from Robert’s Rules. She was right to do so. These councilmembers should have made this purchase on their own when they first joined the Whitewater Common Council. (It’s obvious that some of the council members understand these procedural rules quite well, indeed. It’s equally obvious that the majority does not.) 

3. “We Could Probably.”  When considering the necessary and fundamental work of self-governance, Allen expressed a few qualms:

We could probably do some of them over the winter break, but you know, we all have other jobs too.

See video at 2:19:53

Councilmembership is a volunteer position; no one is drafted. If the crucial responsibility of self-governance is too hard for Allen or others, then they should resign from the Whitewater Common Council.

Allen has a habit of looking for the easy road for himself and his majority. In August, when Allen learned that he, along with others, would have to meet a proper deadline for submitting his agenda items before a meeting, his first reflex was to make it easier on himself: “Oh, well, then I guess we’ll have to change that because that’s we’ve never enforced it before.” See Scenes from a Council Meeting (Responsibility).

By contrast, Whitewater’s residents fortunately show an admirable commitment to self-discipline and hard work that this council majority lacks. 

How to Make Simple Mashed Potatoes | Thanksgiving Recipes | The New York Times:

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