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Film: Tuesday, September 24th, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park, The Upside

This Tuesday, September 24th at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of The Upside @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

Tuesday, September 24, 12:30 PM
(Comedy/Drama)
Rated PG-13; 2 hours, 6 minutes (2017).

The relationship between a wealthy quadriplegic man (Bryan Cranston) and an unemployed ex-convict (Kevin Hart) who is hired to help him. The film also features Nicole Kidman.

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

Enjoy.

 

Daily Bread for 9.21.19

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see scattered thundershowers with a high of seventy-six.  Sunrise is 6:41 AM and sunset 6:53 PM, for 12h 11m 44s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 56.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand forty-seventh day.

On this day in 1962, Janesville, Wisconsin’s oldest mill closes:

Janesville’s oldest manufacturer, Rock River Woolen Mills, ceased operation after 113 years….Started in 1849 as Monterey Water Power Mill, the mills initially produced fine yarns, flannels and cashmere.

Recommended for reading in full:

Benjamin Wittes writes The Witness and the Whistleblower: Some Thoughts:

If it is true that the president used the threat of withholding congressionally authorized funds to—in the Post’s words—“extort” a foreign leader into investigating a domestic political opponent and his family, that would be a very big deal indeed. That allegation, if true, would unambiguously constitute an impeachable offense, indeed an offense that positively demands impeachment from any Congress that wishes to be taken seriously. It would be impeachable for at least three separate reasons: first, because it would involve the extortion of a foreign leader for personal and political gain; second, because it would involve the solicitation of a foreign government’s involvement in a U.S. election; and third, because it would involve the solicitation of a foreign government’s investigation of a political opponent in a fashion that grossly violates the civil liberties of a U.S. person, namely Biden’s son.

….

Without getting into the question of whether Congress would ultimately prevail if it decided to lock horns with the executive branch over the production of the whistleblower’s complaint, I will say that there is little to no chance of Congress prevailing quickly in court. If this goes to litigation, it will mean a months-long stand-off. Congress will once again be deferring to an executive branch investigation (in this case, that of the inspector general) that will be conducted in secret. And the legislature will be waiting for the fruits of that investigation to show up at its door—asking the executive branch to share information for it to evaluate, rather than developing that information itself.

….

Congress needs to think hard about how to raise the costs, both to the executive and to individual witnesses, of the sort of defiance it has seen—and to shorten the time frame for addressing defiance. One oft-discussed possibility is to revive the long-dormant inherent contempt power of Congress and to begin using it to coerce compliance by recalcitrant witnesses. Imposition of large and mounting daily fines could effectively force witnesses to bear the risk of delay and defiance, and it has the advantage of not depending on executive branch enforcement for a contempt citation. But it’s also a big risk. The power hasn’t been deployed in a long time, and it’s not 100 percent clear that courts would tolerate it.

(Whether the president has committed an underling, impeachable offense here is separate from the executive branch’s refusal to transmit the whistleblower’s complaint.  The subject of the complaint is the critical issue.)

Jupiter’s Moon Io Casts Large Shadow on Gas Giant Planet:

Daily Bread for 9.20.19

Good morning. Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of seventy-eight.  Sunrise is 6:40 AM and sunset 6:55 PM, for 12h 14m 36s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 66.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand forty-sixth day.

On this day in 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, ends:

For three days, 58,000 Union troops had faced off against 66,000 Confederates in the war’s second-bloodiest battle. The battle left Union troops pinned inside Chattanooga, Tennessee, and temporarily halted their advance into the heart of the Confederacy. Nine Wisconsin regiments participated.

Recommended for reading in full:

Natasha Korecki reports Why it will be hard for Trump to win Wisconsin again:

Few expect the three key counties that surround the state’s largest city to vote Democratic next year. But they say the level of enthusiasm for Trump in Wisconsin’s so-called WOW counties — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington — matters a great deal in a state where three of the past five presidential elections were decided by less than 1 percent. In the state’s political equation, they serve as a conservative counterweight to the big Democratic margins traditionally delivered by Milwaukee and Madison. Unless that suburban GOP engine delivers its own blowout win for Trump next year, it will be difficult for him to capture the state a second time. “For the president to win Wisconsin again, he’s not going to have the free ride he had last time. He’s not going to have Hillary Clinton sitting on her hands,” said Brandon Scholz, former executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party. “He’s going to have a completely engaged opposition party on the ground.” Clinton famously never made it to Wisconsin, where her failure to campaign is widely believed to have cost her a state that had not voted Republican for president since 1984 — less than 23,000 votes ultimately decided the contest. Democrats are determined not to make that tactical mistake again. The national party pointedly placed its nominating convention next summer in Milwaukee — where a 19 percent drop in African American turnout doomed Clinton’s chances in 2016.

(Indeed, Trump will not win Wisconsin again, and in this small town from which I write, he will lose by an even greater margin than he did in 2016.)

Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris, Greg Miller, and Carol D. Leonnig report Whistleblower complaint about President Trump involves Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter:

Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer who was elected in a landslide in May.

That call is already under investigation by House Democrats who are examining whether Trump and his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign. Lawmakers have demanded a full transcript and a list of participants on the call.

Charlie Goldberg explains Why Blaming Video Games for Violence is Wrong:

Truth-Telling and Tale-Weaving

In conditions of real injury, in which truth-telling is important, tale-weaving about irrelevant matters is worse than wasteful: it’s a misdirection from the significant to the insignificant. Three recent stories illustrate the critical difference between these approaches.

As a truth-telling story, Hope Kirwan of Wisconsin Public Radio reports ‘Students Deserve To Be Heard’: UW-La Crosse Student Shares New Details On Harassment Claim Response:

A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student who accused a professor of sexual harassment says more students have come forward with similar complaints.

UW-La Crosse student Caycee Bean detailed the alleged harassment in a public Facebook post Sept. 4. She also voiced her frustrations with the university’s lack of communication about the investigation into her report.

In a new statement this week, Bean said she has heard from several students who had similar experiences with the same professor and one or more people have brought complaints to the university.

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow confirmed with Wisconsin Public Radio that additional information about the professor’s conduct has been brought to the university by other people since Bean posted her experience on Facebook. A university spokesman said no formal complaints have been filed against the professor at this time. Gow declined a request from WPR to answer further questions.

The new statement from Bean also provided further details about her experience and UW-La Crosse’s response.Bean, who plans to graduate this spring, said she made a report to university officials in March about an incident of sexual harassment by a professor that happened during her freshman year in spring 2015. 

By contrast, two recent tale-weaving stories from the Janesville Gazette (Beleckis, Jonah as reporter; Schwartz, Sid as editor) about Whitewater focus on the trivial.

In Night walks, masks and navigating new spaces: Meet UW-Whitewater’s new chancellor, the Gazette tells a pretty tale about UW-Whitewater’s new chancellor, Dwight Watson, but in about 500 words of story-telling, it’s biography, not issues, that appear on the page:

Dwight Watson likes to walk at night.

Sometimes when he’s restless, he’ll go out at midnight or 1 a.m.

It’s therapeutic for him.

Watson is new to the area—he started this month as UW-Whitewater’s 17th chancellor.

(In an accompanying – and edited – brief six-minute video, the Gazette‘s reporter asks only one follow-up question (and that’s about someone’s name, not a substantive issue). If other follow up questions were asked, then they didn’t make the online version. Instead, when the chancellor makes declarative statements, the reporter leaves them unquestioned. See Gazette interview with UW-Whitewater Chancellor Dwight Watson.)

In UW-Whitewater’s police chief heads up a task force on crime statistics, the same Gazette reporter never asks Chief Kiederlen about the wide gap between a claim of crime-statistics expertise and UW-Whitewater’s use – on the main page of its website – of a counterfeit study to claim it’s the safest campus in Wisconsin. See The Marketing of Misinformation: UW-Whitewater’s Use of a Counterfeit ‘Campus Safety’ Study. Either these men think the study is legitimate (in which case they’re experts only in third-tier public relations), or they know it’s junk, in which case they’re ineffectual in the face of others’ third-tier public relations.… Continue reading

‘Keeping Harvey Weinstein’s Secrets’

Harvey Weinstein is responsible – directly and personally – for his actions. Others, however, assisted him in concealing his violent coercion. Astonishingly, as the New York Times reports, some of those who aided Weinstein were – of all people – attorneys who made public careers as victims’ rights advocates. The two podcasts embedded below detail their audacity. A corrupt influence corrodes in places and ways that are almost unimaginable.

Last week, our colleagues Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published a book documenting their investigation of Harvey Weinstein. In writing it, they discovered information about two feminist icons — Gloria Allred and her daughter, Lisa Bloom — that raises questions about their legacies and the legal system in which they’ve worked. Today, we look at the role of Ms. Bloom, a lawyer who represented Mr. Weinstein. 

Guests: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, investigative reporters for The New York Times and the authors of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.” For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily

In Part 2, we look at the role of Ms. Bloom’s mother, the women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred.  Guests: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, investigative reporters for The New York Times and the authors of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.” For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily

Daily Bread for 9.19.19

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see afternoon showers  with a high of seventy-eight.  Sunrise is 6:39 AM and sunset 6:57 PM, for 12h 17m 29s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 75.6% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the one thousand forty-fifth day.

On this day in 1832, the Sauk and Fox cede their Iowa lands:

On this date Sauk and Fox Indians signed the treaty ending the Black Hawk War. The treaty demanded that the Sauk cede some six million acres of land that ran the length of the eastern boundary of modern-day Iowa. The Sauk and Fox were given until June 1, 1833 to leave the area and never return to the surrendered lands. Some sources place the date as September 21.

Recommended for reading in full:

Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Shane Harris report Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say:

The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.

In a tweet from yesterday, one reads of courage and principle of the deepest measure:

The Swiss Art of Papercutting:

School Board, 9.16.19: Applicant Interviews and Reporting

On Monday night, the Whitewater Unified School District’s board met to interview four applicants for a vacancy on the board (following the resignation of board member Jean Linos). The agenda for the meeting, although posted online, listed none of the applicants: not by total number, let alone by name or with their accompanying letters of interest.

Board members must have seen the agenda beforehand; they should have known that it was a paltry one.

Yesterday, I submitted a public records request under Wisconsin law to the district for a video recording, information on the vote tally for the applicants, and the letters of interest the applicants submitted. The video is now online (see above); the district has replied that responses to the two other items in the request are pending.

These applicants – Andrew Crone, Maryann Zimmerman, Miguel Aranda, and Nick Baldwin – presented well, and one wishes successful applicant Miguel Aranda the best during his term on the board (a term running to April 2020). (In the final round between applicants, the board selected between Aranda and Zimmerman, on a 5-1 vote for Aranda.)

There were two questions for each applicant:

  1. Tell about yourself and why you are interested in serving the students, families, and staff of the Whitewater School District.
  2. Please share what skills, characteristics, and experience that would enhance your service on the school board.

Anyone watching the video will see that this was a strong group of applicants. Whitewater should know their names, see their letters of interest, and know how current board members voted for the applicants. There’s so much talk about celebrating successes, and yet a genuine success – having a good group of applicants – was not, so to speak, celebrated enough (with good information).

After this meeting, a reporter (Beleckis, Jonah) for the Janesville Gazette wrote a brief and low-information story about the meeting. See Whitewater School Board’s newest member says he can be a liaison for Latino community. His newspaper uses the motto ‘Local Matters,’ but Whitewater’s local didn’t matter much to the reporter: he didn’t take the time to list all the applicants’ names, the questions they answered, or even tell which two applicants made it to the final round.

For this reporter and the paper’s editor (Schwartz, Sid) this was a shallow and forgettable effort. A single theme worked into a headline, but less information than one would expect from a high-school newspaper. This looks like the work of those who do not respect their readers: men who doubt the ability of readers to follow facts about Whitewater and instead think that the title is all that matters to a story. Readers in Whitewater – and everywhere else – are sharper than that, and deserve more than that. (What would be worse: if the Gazette’s editor doesn’t read what goes in his own paper, or if he does and still approves?)

It’s admirable for a board member to want to be a liaison to a community; a proper newspaper story would be able to convey that message while still stating key facts about an interview.

It should be needless to say that the selection of an applicant deserves more than a few words accompanying a treacly photograph.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 9.18.19

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of eighty-one.  Sunrise is 6:38 AM and sunset 6:58 PM, for 12h 20m 22s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 83.7% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the one thousand forty-fourth day.

Whitewater’s Community Involvement & Cable TV Commission meets at 5 PM.

On this day in 1793, President Washington presides over the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol in the building’s southeast corner.

Recommended for reading in full:

Bruce Murphy writes Bradley Foundation Works to Kill Food Aid:

The Trump administration has proposed a plan to slash food benefits for many Americans who now get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits. An estimated 18 percent of recipients or 3.6 million people could lose the food assistance, including as many as 63,000 in Wisconsin.

The Trump administration says this will close a “loophole” that allows too many people to get the aid. “But proponents of the current system say it helps low-income families who work but have huge child care, housing and other expenses that leave them with insufficient money to buy food,” as NPR has reported.

Where did the idea for this change come from? A bland sounding group called the Foundation for Government Accountability has been instrumental in pushing the idea.

….

“In December, the Foundation for Government Accountability hosted public officials from across the country in Orlando. The scene: Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, an ocean-themed oasis with palatial fountains next to a lake lined with palm trees.

Tory Newmyer writes Trump says a big China deal could come ‘maybe soon.’ That’s unlikely:

President Trump on Tuesday warned the Chinese not to wait until after the 2020 election to strike a trade deal. But the two sides remain far apart on key issues, and the possibility of a breakthrough this year remains remote.

That’s the candid assessment of three people close to the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide me their unvarnished views of the state of play between the world’s two largest economies. In short, these people agreed, the two sides still have miles to go to resolve U.S. demands for major, structural change in how the Chinese government manages its economy.

And for the time being, with the Chinese economy showing signs of stress, Trump appears to feel no urgency to forge anything the administration would tout as a comprehensive agreement.

“I think there’ll be a deal maybe soon, maybe before the election, or one day after the election,” Trump said yesterday. “And if it’s after the election, it’ll be a deal like you’ve never seen, it’ll be the greatest deal ever and China knows that.” Trump said he told Chinese leaders: “If it’s after the election, it’s going to be far worse than what it is right now.”

(Emphasis in original.)

The History of the United States Capitol:

Coming Soon to the Gerrymandered Fifth Congressional District…

Think the WISGOP couldn’t find someone worse for the Fifth Congressional District than F. James Sensenbrenner has been? Think again. Molly Beck reports Longtime state Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald announces bid for Congress:

Scott Fitzgerald, a fixture of the Wisconsin state Senate for the last 25 years, announced Tuesday he would seek a higher office in the U.S. House of Representatives. Fitzgerald, 56, is the first Republican to enter the race to succeed retiring Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and launches a bid to represent the deeply conservative district at a time when his ties to President Donald Trump may turn off some voters in the Milwaukee suburbs.

Whitewater is not a Milwaukee suburb – it’s a small and beautiful city far from most of this over-stretched district. Fitzgerald will never carry a majority of this city’s residents; his politics are, at bottom, a threat and affront to them.

It will be well worth covering every moment of his campaign.

Daily Bread for 9.17.19

Good morning.

Constitution Day  in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of seventy-nine.  Sunrise is 6:37 AM and sunset 7:00 PM, for 12h 23m 15s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 89.8% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the one thousand forty-third day.

The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee meets at 8:00 AM.  Whitewater’s Alcohol Licensing Committee meets at 6:15 PM, and the Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

 On this day in 1787, the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia successfully ends.

Recommended for reading in full:

 Geoffrey Skelley caution Don’t Use General Election Polls To Try To Predict The Primaries

First up, do early head-to-head polls like the ones Biden has cited tell us anything about how well a candidate will do in the primary? To test this idea, we collected polls conducted in the last half of the calendar year before the primary (July to December) and built two models to predict how each candidate would ultimately do in the nomination contest: One model used polls of the primary race and candidates’ name recognition, and the other model used those two factors plus incorporated how well the candidates did in head-to-head polls of the general election. We then compared the two models to see if adding in the general election polls improved our modeling. So, to spoil the ending a bit, do head-to-head polls help us predict who will win the nomination when we already know where candidates stand in the primary polls? The short answer is: No, they don’t seem to help much at all.

 Ari Berman reports Civil Rights Groups Challenge Trump’s “Racially Discriminatory Scheme” to Skew Redistricting

On Friday, civil rights groups filed the first lawsuit challenging the executive order, claiming it was “motivated by a racially discriminatory scheme to reduce Latino political representation and increase the overrepresentation of non-Latino Whites, thereby advantaging White voters at Latino voters’ expense.”

For decades, state legislative and Congressional districts have been drawn based on total population. If districts were instead based only on citizens or eligible voters, that could lead to a major shift in power from Democratic to Republican areas, as many Democrats represent areas with concentrations of non-citizens and non-voters, including children. If those people are not counted in legislative apportionment, that would benefit Republicans, who tend to represent whiter, more homogenous areas with fewer non-citizens and young people.

Over the past decade, Republicans have sought to make such a change. The late Republican gerrymandering expert Thomas Hofeller, who also led the behind-the-scenes efforts to add the citizenship question, wrote in a 2015 study that drawing districts based on eligible voters instead of the total population would “would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

 Handcuffed and Humiliated: North Carolina homeowner detained in own home after false alarm

Daily Bread for 9.16.19

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-eight.  Sunrise is 6:36 AM and sunset 7:02 PM, for 12:49:26 of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.1% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the one thousand forty-second day.

The Whitewater Library Board meets at 6:30 PM, and the Whitewater Unified School District also meets at 6:30 PM.

 On this day in 1864, the Wisconsin 13th Infantry participates in an operation against Confederate generals Forrest and Hood in Tennessee.

Recommended for reading in full:

 Andrew Calderon reports Border Courts Swamped With New Asylum Cases (‘Thousands of cases have been filed since President Trump started forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico’):

Early this year, the Trump administration began forcing thousands of migrants seeking asylum to return to Mexico, to wait there for immigration court hearings that would decide whether they could settle in the United States. New government figures show the policy is rapidly flooding some courts assigned to handle the cases.

The numbers from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the agency within the Department of Justice that runs the immigration court system, show that so far this year, nearly 17,000 new asylum cases for migrants waiting in Mexico have been assigned to border courts through the end of August. And the numbers have been growing. More than 6,000 were filed in August alone.

These figures are likely an undercount of the number of people affected by the policy. According to data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, 26,000 people had received notices to appear in these courts by the Department of Homeland Security through July.

Hyonhee Shin reports North Korea leader Kim invited Trump to Pyongyang in letter:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited U.S. President Donald Trump to visit Pyongyang in a letter sent in August amid stalled denuclearisation talks, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday, citing diplomatic sources.

Kim, in the letter sent in the third week of August, spoke of his “willingness” for a third summit and extended an invitation for Trump to visit the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified source.

Trump on Aug. 9 said he had received a “very beautiful letter” from Kim.

But U.S. officials have not said anything about a second letter in August.

Trump and Kim have met three times since June last year to discuss ways to resolve a crisis over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes, but substantive progress has been scant.

How Beyond Meat’s Stock Surged 500 Percent In 2019:

The Whitewater, WI Conflict of Interest Gallery™

Ours is an era of conflicts of interest and self-dealing. Conflicts of interest sometimes begin with ignorance but they persist through arrogance. Simple principles of separation between roles that were once understood and respected (in the main) are now commonly rationalized away. If one bemoans degraded national ethics, one should be clear that local officials and private parties paved the way for ethical lapses through their own lesser standards.

And so, and so — a gallery of conflicts and ethical lapses, to be updated so often as necessary. One can – and should – match each lapse with a reply.

Latest Submission: School Board Member Reports for Local Newspaper on His Own District’s Meetings (online 9.6.19, in print 9.9.19).

Whitewater Unified School District board member Tom Ganser writes as a ‘correspondent’ for Daily Union editor Chris Spangler in a story entitled Whitewater School District Holds Annual Data Retreat. He is nowhere in the story identified as a school board member. That’s the editor’s lapse of journalistic standards. The board member has an official duty of oversight on a public body, but reports on those over whom he has oversight. That’s his lapse into a conflict of interest between roles as an impartial overseer and a mere press agent.

The Whitewater, WI Conflict of Interest Gallery™

In fairness, this conflict-laden approach has beset Whitewater for years. A truly proper gallery of this sort would require an entire wing dedicated to the work of longtime Whitewater councilmember and current school board member Jim Stewart, who so often published accounts of the very meetings and government initiatives of which he was a part. I’ve a fair number of saved examples, but perhaps the current owners of Stewart’s archive will place the full oeuvre de l’artiste online.