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‘Communicate, Communicate, Communicate’ Isn’t So Easy in a Fractured Town

Some years ago, an administrator (no longer with the school district) told others that a good practice for leaders was to ‘communicate, communicate, communicate’ with the community. The concept makes sense: craft a message and then make sure it’s heard by repeating it. In a small town, how hard could that be?

As it turns out, in a small town that’s divided along ideological and cultural lines, it is hard. See Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021.

An example is a recent question, from Whitewater’s police chief to a newspaper reporter, as recounted in Community Action’s leader responds to police chief’s concerns on voucher program. It’s an ordinary practice for appointed or elected officials to seed topics in the press (although often the story conceals the origin of the official’s question). In this case, the story’s very title makes clear that the inquiry about the voucher came from a city official.

Indeed, the story is by evident design a reply to the chief’s question, with statements about ongoing oversight from a manager and a beneficiary of the voucher program.

Still, there’s nothing untoward about officials calling or writing to reporters in the hope that those reporters will inquire along lines the officials suggest.

What’s different, in Whitewater, is that this small town likely will not have one ‘community’ view about a topic, and what an official might hope would lead to a majority opinion will instead spawn a few differing opinions, not one of which will amount to a majority viewpoint. These different, opposing views will make their way online, as they did in this case.

More significant, those differing opinions will vary in quality, with some being strident, exaggerated, or simply false. (Some of the flimsiest claims in the present matter imply that the claimants are in possession of information that could only have, if true, come from official sources that revealed details of ongoing investigations. As it’s unlikely that anyone learned anything that way, it’s more likely that claims of inside knowledge are false.)

A question about vouchers, for example, may begin its journey well-fed and suitably dressed, only to become malnourished and thread-bare once a few others get hold of it.

The school administrator who once advised to ‘communicate, communicate, communicate’ underestimated the difficultly of communication in a splintered community. (Indeed, she understood the local scene poorly in many ways.) At best, counting on others to carry a topic forward relies on an uncertain band of local messengers. Some will prove articulate, some inarticulate. At worst, it leaves a message in the hands of others who will amplify it into discordance and dissonance.

Government can – and will – decide for itself. This libertarian blogger is not in the business of advising public officials, and they’re not in the business of taking a libertarian blogger’s advice.

It’s simply true that in Whitewater the audition for a topic or message faces an uncertain reception, as the audience is of differing tastes.

The reception is even more fraught when others, of varying skill or motivation, pick up the tune.

Daily Bread for 6.14.21

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 86. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:35 PM, for 15h 19m 19s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 14.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1777, the Second Continental Congress passes the Flag Act of 1777 adopting the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Austin Fast reports Rural Communities Fall Further Behind In COVID-19 Vaccination Rates:

A second CDC report from early June sheds light on the demographic and social factors linked to lower vaccination rates among all counties, whether rural or urban.

The CDC ranks over 3,000 counties nationwide using a social vulnerability index that measures 15 factors such as poverty, poor transit and crowded housing that weaken a community’s capacity to respond to disaster.

Researchers divided counties into four categories — large urban, suburban, small-to-medium urban, and rural — and looked for which demographic profiles were linked to lower vaccination rates. Across all these categories, households with children, people living with disabilities and single-parent households were more likely to see lower vaccination rates. And researchers say these gaps are particularly pronounced in suburban and rural counties.

Counties with higher numbers of mobile home residents, as well as those with higher poverty and lower education rates, also lagged significantly behind other counties within their rural-urban category, according to the CDC report.

“Rural communities often have a higher proportion of residents over 65 years of age, lacking health insurance, living with underlying medical conditions or disabilities, and with limited access to health care facilities with intensive care capabilities, which may make them more likely to get sick or die from COVID-19,” says Vaughn Barry, a CDC epidemiologist and one of the report’s lead authors.

 Carl Zimmer reports Novavax Offers U.S. a Fourth Strong Covid-19 Vaccine:

Novavax, a small American company buoyed by lavish support from the U.S. government, announced on Monday the results of a clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine in the United States and Mexico, finding that its two-shot inoculation provides potent protection against the coronavirus.

In the 29,960-person trial, the vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 90.4 percent, on par with the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and higher than the one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. The Novavax vaccine showed an efficacy of 100 percent at preventing moderate or severe disease.

Despite these impressive results, the vaccine’s future in the United States is uncertain and it might be needed more in other countries. Novavax says it may not seek emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration until the end of September. And with a plentiful supply of three other authorized vaccines, it’s possible that the agency may tell Novavax to apply instead for a full license — a process that could require several extra months.

Victoria Bekiempis reports Legal storm clouds gather over Donald Trump’s future:

The most threatening legal investigation, which involves potential for jail either for Trump or his associates if it proceeded and resulted in conviction, does not relate to his presidential duties.

The Washington Post reported on 25 May that Manhattan prosecutors had convened the grand jury that is “expected to decide whether to indict Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself, should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges”.

This development suggests that Manhattan prosecutors’ inquiry into Trump and his business concerns has hit an “advanced stage” after proceeding for more than two years. More, it indicates that Manhattan prosecutors believe they have discovered evidence of a crime. This potential evidence could be against Trump, an executive at his company, or his business.

Wasabi the Pekingese wins best in show at annual Westminster Dog Show:

Daily Bread for 6.13.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 90. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:34 PM, for 15h 18m 54s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 9.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1805, scouting ahead of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Meriwether Lewis and four companions sight the Great Falls of the Missouri River.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Patrick Markley reports Wisconsin Republicans, and a disgraced ex-Missouri governor, tour site of controversial Arizona ballot audit:

Four Wisconsin lawmakers toured the site of a controversial audit of Arizona ballots on Saturday alongside Eric Greitens, the former Missouri governor who stepped down three years ago after admitting to an affair and facing a blackmail allegation.

What the four Wisconsin Republicans planned to do with the information they gleaned from Arizona’s ballot examination remained unclear.

Their visit coincides with the Wisconsin Assembly hiring former law enforcement officials — including at least one with a partisan past — to review how the presidential election was conducted.

(The impatient agitation of conservative populism requires constant feeding, with one demand leading only to another. Vos will likely never go far enough for them, and each measure to satisfy them confirms that, short of turning Wisconsin into a herrenvolk state, there’s nothing he can do to satiate them. See generally Conservative Populism Moves in One Direction Only.)

 Jared Goyette reports MyPillow Guy’s MAGA Rally Rouses ‘Stop the Steal’ Truthers With Corn Dogs and Hate for Fox News:

NEW RICHMOND, Wisconsin —At just over seven months since Donald Trump lost the presidential election, just how strong is the siren song of “stop the steal” conspiracy theories within the Republican base? An answer of sorts could be found in the thousands of people wearing Trump-themed “patriot” gear who streamed into a grass field on Saturday to attend a “free speech festival” organized by one of the leading lights of election fraud misinformation: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

While Trump was scheduled to address the predominantly white crowd via Jumbotron, Lindell, who dubbed the event a “free speech Woodstock,” inexplicably threatened to end an interview with The Daily Beast when asked if the rally could be seen as a show of strength of the Trump movement generally.

….

Intertwined election fraud and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories were common themes in speeches by conservative A listers like Charlie Kirk, Chris Cox, and Dinesh D’Souza. They addressed the crowd while standing on a stage featuring a large Jumbotron where Trump was set to appear— “We have the biggest Jumbotron I think I’ve ever seen,” Lindell exclaimed —with two smaller Jumbotrons on either side and a gigantic American flag hanging from a pair of construction cranes on stage right.

“We’re going to have the American flag, the biggest flag that I know of,” he said.

The lineup included three Black speakers—the duo Diamond and Silk, who used to appear regularly on Fox News until they began promoting anti-vax theories, and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the firebrand conservative known for his inflammatory rhetoric against Black Lives Matter and the mistreatment of inmates at the county jail until he resigned from office in 2017.

How Recycling Machines Make New Clothes From Used Apparel:

Daily Bread for 6.12.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:34 PM, for 15h 18m 25s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1899, a tornado hits the town of New Richmond, Wisconsin: it “formed on the early evening of Monday, June 12, 1899 and tore a 45-mile long path of destruction through St. Croix, Polk and Barron counties in west-central Wisconsin, leaving 117 people dead, twice as many injured and hundreds homeless.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

 The Associated Press reports YouTube suspends Sen. Ron Johnson for COVID-19 misinformation

The Oshkosh Republican’s removal stems from statements he made during a June 3 Milwaukee Press Club event, which were posted to YouTube. He criticized the Trump and Biden administrations for “not only ignoring but working against robust research (on) the use of cheap, generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

A YouTube spokesperson said: “We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus.”

The company’s policy says it doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation contradicting local health authorities or the World Health Organization’s information about COVID-19.

Johnson blasted the website.

“YouTube’s ongoing COVID censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power,” he said in a statement. “Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives. They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies.”

(Johnson, of course, has no alternative medical viewpoint, just as Trump’s suggestion that injecting bleach might cure Covid-19 wasn’t a medical viewpoint. Whether ambitious, compromised, or crazy, Johnson’s kept going with a string of lies about the Capitol insurrection, relations with Russia, and the pandemic. He’ll use his deserved suspension from YouTube to position himself as redder than red, whether for another Senate run or a hoped-for place in a future Republican administration.)

 Bill Glauber writes Ron Johnson called Joe Biden ‘a liberal, progressive, socialist, Marxist.’ Can someone be all those things?:

Johnson replied: “Because he’s weak. And don’t ask me to get inside the mind of a liberal, progressive, socialist, Marxist like President Biden.”

….

Kennan Ferguson, at UW-Milwaukee political science professor, said: “I don’t think anybody can be all those things. Certainly the last three are like nesting dolls. Almost all Marxists are socialists and many socialists are progressives. But liberalism in the United States was developed as an anti-Marxist political theory.”

Ferguson said by his usage of the words, “Johnson means them all as epithets rather than ideological descriptors. You can see that in that he doesn’t know the differences between them.”

Richard Avramenko, a UW-Madison political scientist and director for the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, said Johnson would have been more accurate to describe Biden as a “left liberal.”

….

Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette University Law School Poll, said that “for folks on the right, at this point those labels have become more or less synonymous regardless of what their dictionary meanings are. From my point of view it represents the blending together of these terms without much care or concern for the actual substantial differences in meaning in those four words.

(Note well, Whitewater: Using these four terms indistinguishably is a measure of a disqualifying lack of knowledge or of sheer indifference. There is, however, a fitting term for someone who so misuses these distinct categories: ignoramus.)

New Species of Dinosaur Discovered in Australia:

Daily Bread for 6.11.21

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 96. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:33 PM, for 15h 17m 52s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress appoints the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Hope Karnopp reports Republican lawmakers spent more than $8.5 million in taxpayer money on lawsuits over three years:

In the last three years, Republicans have hired attorneys to challenge Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ COVID-19 response, intervene in cases to prevent changes to election laws and to defend laws limiting the powers of Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul that were enacted after the two were elected but before they took office.

Among the lawsuits they launched was one to halt Evers’ stay-at-home order during the pandemic last year. The state Supreme Court ruled in lawmakers’ favor, ending the stay-at-home order early.

The cost of the litigation to taxpayers was tallied by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau at the request of Democratic Rep. Evan Goyke of Milwaukee.

 Robert Mentzer reports Via Satellite, Trump Will Return To Wisconsin For Rally With Conspiracy Promoters:

A rally in western Wisconsin on Saturday featuring former President Donald Trump will include speakers who have called for martial law and promoted a bizarre conspiracy theory based on the false claim that Trump can be reinstated as president.

The “MAGA Frank” rally in New Richmond is expected to draw thousands of Trump supporters. It features a number of fringe conservative figures and commentators, including many who are still calling for the 2020 election to be overturned. At its center is Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, who in January was photographed carrying notes to a White House meeting that suggested Trump should declare martial law to prevent then President-elect Joe Biden from taking office.

More recently, Lindell has said he believes Trump will be back in office by August. The New York Times reported this month that Trump himself has told people he believes this is possible. There is no constitutional mechanism for reinstating a defeated president before the next election, and numerous recounts and investigations have uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

That won’t stop the speakers at Saturday’s Wisconsin rally from making wild, false claims, said Right Wisconsin editor James Wigderson, as they did at a similar event last month in South Dakota. Wigderson, a conservative who has become alienated from the Republican Party due to his strident rejection of Trump, says he sees little chance Wisconsin’s Republicans will condemn false or inflammatory statements made this weekend.

….

“When you’re telling the Republican base that the election got stolen, and oh by the way, the next election is going to get stolen, too, you’re driving people to do terrible things,” Wigderson said.

 Domenico Montanero reports There’s A Stark Red-Blue Divide When It Comes To States’ Vaccination Rates:

Surveys have shown Trump supporters are the least likely to say they have been vaccinated or plan to be. Remember, Trump got vaccinated before leaving the White House, but that was reported months later. Unlike other public officials who were trying to encourage people to get the shot, Trump did it in private.

The top 22 states (including D.C.) with the highest adult vaccination rates all went to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Some of the least vaccinated states are the most pro-Trump. Trump won 17 of the 18 states with the lowest adult vaccination rates. Many of these states have high proportions of whites without college degrees.

Wolf pups frolic in Belgium wildlife park:

Daily Bread for 6.10.21

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon thundershowers with a high of 91. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:33 PM, for 15h 17m 16s of daytime.  The moon is new with none of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1999, NATO suspends its airstrikes after Slobodan Milosevic agrees to withdraw Serbian forces from Kosovo.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Molly Beck reports Lost federal aid for Wisconsin schools under GOP budget action now pegged at $2.3 billion:

Wisconsin schools could lose $2.3 billion in federal funding under budget action by the Legislature’s Republican-controlled finance committee — nearly $1 billion more that could be lost in pandemic relief aid than previously believed.

Republican lawmakers writing the state’s next two-year state spending plan last month allocated an additional $128 million for K-12 schools, far below a state spending threshold required under federal relief laws that provide schools with funding to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Until Wednesday, lawmakers were under the impression $1.5 billion was at risk but a new memo shows the money in jeopardy surpasses $2 billion. The news comes at a time when state officials have learned the state has an additional $4.4 billion in revenue to use in spending decisions.

Rep. Mark Born and Sen. Howard Marklein, co-chairmen of the finance committee, have said the ultimate state budget plan they intend to send Gov. Tony Evers will address the issue and preserve the funding but have not yet said how they plan to tackle it.

 Phillip Inman reports G7 leaders will call for fresh WHO inquiry into Covid origins, leaked communique suggests:

Leaders at the G7 summit will call for a new, transparent investigation by the World Health Organization into the origins of the coronavirus, according to a leaked draft communique for the meeting.

The call was initiated by Joe Biden’s administration and follows the US president’s decision to expand the American investigation into the origins of the pandemic, with one intelligence agency leaning towards the theory that it escaped from a Wuhan laboratory.

The broad consensus among scientific experts remains that the most likely explanation is that Covid-19 jumped to humans from an animal host in a natural event. An on-the-ground investigation by WHO experts earlier this year concluded t it was “extremely unlikely” the pandemic began in a laboratory.

 Jonathan Chait writes Telling the Truth About Lab-Leak Theory Wouldn’t Help Trump:

Last night [6.8], Lindsey Graham told Sean Hannity’s audience that the news media’s dismissal of the lab-leak hypothesis “changed the course of this election.” Graham’s argument is that, had the media acknowledged the theory, “the election would have been about holding China accountable,” and hence Trump would have won.

This analysis makes about as much sense as anything else said on Hannity’s show. First, the lab leak was and is a hypothesis, so the extent of China’s culpability, if any, would never have been proven in any case. Second, Trump himself repeatedly praised the Chinese government’s handling of the virus — “China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus,” he tweeted on January 24. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency” — at a time Biden was raising questions about the lab leak. And third, Trump’s efforts to hold China’s government “accountable” would have simply failed, merely highlighting once again Trump’s total inability to handle the pandemic.

However the virus originated, Trump’s responsibility was to protect the country. Whether he failed to prepare, while repeatedly lying about it, after the virus came from a wet market or a lab seems unlikely to have made much of a difference.

(Emphasis added.)

Chocolatier Dips Cicadas in Chocolate for a Once in 17-Years Treat:

Daily Bread for 6.9.21

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon thundershowers with a high of 90. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:32 PM, for 15h 16m 35s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 0.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Park and Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1973, Secretariat wins the Triple Crown.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Patrick Marley reports Wisconsin to receive an unprecedented $4.4 billion in additional tax collections over three years, new report shows:

Wisconsin officials learned Tuesday they would take in a game-changing sum over three years — $4.4 billion more than previously projected — but they may not be able to agree on what to do with it.

The windfall would allow Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican lawmakers to cut taxes, slash borrowing, greatly increase funding for schools, boost spending on other programs or enact a combination of all those ideas.

To do that, they would need to cut a deal — something that has often eluded them. The governor and legislative leaders have rarely talked during the two years that they have shared power.

“The increase in general fund tax collections in 2021, particularly in the months of April and May, is unprecedented,” Bob Lang, the director of the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, wrote in a memo published Tuesday.

 Rob Mentzer reports Assembly Representative Attacks Nonprofit Children’s Museum With Nazi Analogy:

On Friday, Rep. Shae Sortwell, of Two Rivers, shared a Facebook post by Stevens Point’s Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum about the museum’s mask policy. Like many national retail chains, the museum is asking people older than age 5 who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue to wear masks during their visits to the indoor space. The museum said masks would be optional for those with vaccination cards.

Museum director Cory Rusch said the policy was an attempt to protect the health and safety of the many vulnerable grandparents who visit the museum with their grandkids, and he stressed no one will be turned away from the museum based on their vaccination status. But Sortwell’s Facebook post, made Friday morning on his verified Assembly social media account, shared the museum’s post with his own words added: “The Gestapo wants to see your papers, please.”

The Gestapo were a Nazi police force, directly responsible for torturing and killing political opponents of the regime and coordinating the deportation of Jews to death camps.

Sortwell did not respond to a request for comment from WPR on whether his use of the analogy trivializes the systematic murder of 6 million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust.

Sortwell’s post was shared hundreds of times on Facebook, and as of Monday afternoon, the original post had more than 500 comments, many of which include misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine or the false claim that a business requesting to see proof of vaccination is violating a health information privacy law.

 Reid J. Epstein and Lisa Lerer report Rejecting Biden’s Win, Rising Republicans Attack Legitimacy of Elections:

Across the country, a rising class of Republican challengers has embraced the fiction that the 2020 election was illegitimate, marred by fraud and inconsistencies. Aggressively pushing Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that he was robbed of re-election, these candidates represent the next generation of aspiring G.O.P. leaders, who would bring to Congress the real possibility that the party’s assault on the legitimacy of elections, a bedrock principle of American democracy, could continue through the 2024 contests.

Drone refuels U.S. Navy fighter jet in midair for first time:

Daily Bread for 6.8.21

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon thundershowers with a high of 88. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:32 PM, for 15h 15m 51s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 3.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets at 1 PM and the Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1949, George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Annie Mattea reports Marquette University joins Beloit College, Lawrence University in requiring students to vaccinated for COVID-19:

Marquette University has joined the growing list of universities requiring a COVID-19 vaccination for the fall semester, according to a message sent Monday by university president Michael Lovell. 

The requirement is that all students (professional, graduate and undergraduate) who will be attending classes are fully vaccinated by August 1.

In Wisconsin, only two other colleges have announced a similar requirement so far: Beloit College and Lawrence University. 

Beloit College’s decision allows those vaccinated to not wear masks. Lawrence University expects those vaccinated to continue to wear a mask and social distance when in public space.

Both universities plan to have in-person instruction in the fall, similar to Marquette’s plans.

  Elizabeth Beyer reports Madison School District to offer online option in fall after some students thrived virtually:

The Madison School District will offer online learning for up to 250 students in grades 6-12 at the start of the 2021-22 school year through a new online academy.

If successful, the Madison Promise Academy could be expanded beyond that. School Board member Ananda Mirilli said during a board meeting Monday that the academy stems from a desire to do things differently after the COVID-19 pandemic upended traditional models of public education.

“We learned that some students were very successful with virtual,” Superintendent Carlton Jenkins said.

….

“It would be a tremendous loss for us to abandon virtual learning when we have the opportunity now to strengthen virtual learning and to create a program with integrity,” Madison School Board president Ali Muldrow said.

Liz Essley Whyte reports Spreading Vaccine Fears. And Cashing In (“Meet the influencers making millions by dealing doubt about the coronavirus vaccines):

Scientists widely agree vaccines prevent dangerous diseases and do not cause autism or allergies. But in a few years [Heather] Simpson had gone from accepting that consensus to preaching against it. And it all started with the documentary series made by Tennessee couple Ty and Charlene Bollinger, who got their start by questioning mainstream cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

More than 450,000 people signed up to view the series the year it debuted, according to figures the Bollingers posted online, and 25,000 bought copies. At the price Simpson paid, the couple would have grossed $5 million in sales.

For the Bollingers and a network of similar influencers, speaking out against vaccines, including the coronavirus shots, is not just a personal crusade. It’s also a profitable business.

The Bollingers, for example, sell documentaries and books; other influencers hawk dietary supplements, essential oils or online “bootcamps” designed to train followers in anti-vaccine talking points. They frequently share links to each other’s content and products. Although the total value of anti-vaccine businesses is unknown, records indicate that the top influencers alone make up a multimillion-dollar industry. In 2020, the Bollingers told a court their cancer business had raked in $25 million in transactions since 2014.

In their videos, the Bollingers speak in earnest, unscripted, Southern-accented tones, as if they were friendly neighbors sharing lawn-care tips. Evangelicals with four children, they pepper their messages with Bible verses. They are among the most influential conduits for anti-vaccine messages online, with more than 1.6 million followers on various social media platforms and 2 million they say subscribe to their emails.

British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp goes at auction:

Daily Bread for 6.7.21

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see afternoon thundershowers with a high of 88. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:31 PM, for 15h 15m 02s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 7.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Equal Opportunities Commission meets at 5 PM.

On this day in 1899, Temperance crusader Carrie Nation begins her campaign of vandalizing alcohol-serving establishments by destroying the inventory in a saloon in Kiowa, Kansas.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Jessie Opoien reports Wisconsin Democrats line up to challenge Sen. Ron Johnson:

Six Democrats vying for the chance to unseat Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in 2022 made their cases to the party base on Sunday, each lobbing more barbs at the incumbent than at their primary opponents.

But it’s still not clear whether Johnson will seek reelection. He hasn’t ruled it out, despite having vowed while running in 2016 that he would not run for a third term. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Johnson in April, urging him to run again. Johnson told reporters during a recent virtual Milwaukee Press Club event that he doesn’t feel pressure to decide anytime soon.

The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are Outagamie County executive Tom Nelson, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, state treasurer Sarah Godlewski, state Sen. Chris Larson and physician Gillian Battino. Millennial Action Project founder Steven Olikara also spoke during the virtual Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention, although his campaign is still in an “exploratory” phase.

Still unknown is whether Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will remain on the ticket with Gov. Tony Evers as the governor seeks reelection, or if he will launch his own Senate bid.

  Wang Feng and write The Real Reason Behind China’s Three-Child Policy:

The Chinese public’s reaction to the new policy — judging by the dismay, jokes and ridicule expressed in popular posts on social media — suggests deep skepticism at the least.

Yet the Chinese Communist Party is aware of all this, of course. So why is it pursuing a policy that it can only know is bound to fail and already seems unpopular?

Even when the government eases rules about procreation, it is only confirming that such rules exist — and that they are the party’s to dictate. This, too, is population control, and population control is a foundation of any surveillance state. The Chinese Communist Party simply cannot give that up.

Family planning has been an essential state policy for decades, a pillar of the Chinese Communist Party’s monumental social engineering project. By loosening caps on births today, the party may be acknowledging that China is facing a demographic crisis. But it still can’t allow the very notion of population control to be called into question — no more than it can tolerate, say, any admission or any open discussion about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 or the atrocities committed during the Cultural Revolution.

And so the Chinese government isn’t just encouraging women to have more children — and hoping to coax them with maternity leave and other benefits, as well as promises to mobilize resources at all levels of the state. It has vowed to “guide young people to have the correct perspectives on dating, marriage and family.”

Lifting controls over births would be, for the Chinese Communist Party, a tacit admission that its past policies have failed. And yet anything short of removing all such regulations will only ensure more failure.

NASA to return to Venus with DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions:

Daily Bread for 6.6.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see sunny skies with a high of 91. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:30 PM, for 15h 14m 10s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 13.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1944, the Allied invasion of Normandy begins: “A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.”

Troops of Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One) wading onto the Fox Green section of Omaha Beach (Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France) on the morning of June 6, 1944. American soldiers encountered the newly formed German 352nd Division when landing. During the initial landing two-thirds of Company E became casualties.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Laurel White reports Gov. Tony Evers Announces 2022 Re-Election Bid At State Democratic Convention:

“Wisconsin, I’m in. I’m running for re-election. We’ve accomplished a lot in the last few years, but we’re just getting started. We have more work to do, together,” he said. “This is the moment where we can choose to fix the big problems in Wisconsin and bounce back stronger than ever before.”

Evers won the 2018 election by just 29,227 votes.

“We know Republicans aren’t going to make this easy,” he said. “The one predictable thing about this pandemic —and heck, ever since November of 2018 — is that Republicans will do everything in their power to stop our success, to keep us from getting things done, to keep Wisconsin headed in the right direction.”

In late 2018, GOP leaders in the state Legislature used a lame duck session to pass new limits on the governor’s power, just weeks before Evers’ inauguration.

Since then, Republicans have passed bills that would take away Evers’ authority to oversee federal funds, challenged his administration’s authority to issue public health orders in court and bypassed several of his special session calls on things like policing, gun laws, and Medicaid.

  Amy B. Wang reports Trump called Arizona Senate president to thank her ‘for pushing to prove any fraud’ in election, emails show:

Newly released emails sent to and from Arizona state senators reveal that President Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani reached out personally to urge GOP officials there to move forward with a partisan recount of the 2020 election, despite a lack of evidence of widespread fraud or other issues.

Hundreds of pages of emails related to the GOP-ordered audit underway in Maricopa County were obtained by the nonprofit legal watchdog group American Oversight through a records request under the Freedom of Information Act. The group published them Friday, along with a scathing statement that decried the audit as a “sham partisan crusade.”

In one email dated Dec. 2, Arizona state Senate President Karen Fann (R) told two constituents that she had spoken with Giuliani “at least 6 times over the past two weeks.”

In another exchange dated Dec. 28, a constituent threatened that Fann would be recalled by “the new patriot movement of the United States” for not standing up for Trump.

Fann assured him that the state Senate was “doing everything legally possible to get the forensic audit done” and that they planned to sue the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. (The Republican-led board in November had voted unanimously to certify the county’s election results, with the board chairman declaring there was no evidence of fraud or misconduct “and that is with a big zero.”)

“I have been in numerous conversations with Rudy Guiliani [sic] over the past weeks trying to get this done,” Fann wrote in the Dec. 28 message. “I have the full support of him and a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud.”

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