Daily Bread for 7.21.24: The Godzilla-Making Toy Factory in Japan

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with afternoon showers and a high of 80. Sunrise is 5:36, and sunset is 8:25, for 14h 49m 09s of daytime. The moon is full, with all of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1832, Wisconsin sees the Battle of Wisconsin Heights:

Soldiers led by Colonel Henry Dodge caught up with Black Hawk near the Wisconsin River, outside present-day Sauk City. Black Hawk commanded only a small group of warriors from atop a hill, while Dodge pursued with a much stronger force of militia. Although greatly outnumbered, Sauk warriors turned the attack on American troops, allowing the Indian women and children to flee across the Wisconsin River. Black Hawk and his men were forced to retreat to the river, but night was falling so Dodge decided to continue the battle in the morning. But when the American troops went after the Sauk Indians the next day, the Sauk had crossed the river and disappeared. One American was killed and eight wounded while at least 50 Indians were killed and another 80 wounded. 

On this day in 1969, after a successful landing on July 20th, astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to walk on the Moon, followed 19 minutes later by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

The Godzilla-Making Toy Factory in Japan:

Explore the artistry of Marusan’s Japanese sofubi soft vinyl toys.

Bringing Godzilla collectibles and Kaiju figures to life. This story delves into the rich history of one of the oldest sofubi manufacturers, and showcases the skilled artisans and passionate collectors behind these cherished collectibles. Learn about the creation process, the cultural significance, and the enduring appeal of these soft vinyl masterpieces that captivate fans worldwide.

Japanese cats have a meal by the water:

Daily Bread for 7.20.24: Forever Impressive

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 79. Sunrise is 5:35 and sunset 8:26 for 14h 50m 59s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1832, during the Black Hawk War, Black Hawk leads approximately 700 Sac, Fox, and Kickapoo Indians through the juncture of the Yahara River and Lake Monona (then known as the Third Lake Passage) in present-day Madison. Black Hawk was fleeing the pursuing military. 

On this day in 1969, Apollo 11‘s crew successfully made the first human landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Six and a half hours later, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon.

Forever impressive:

On July 20, 1969, humans walked on another world for the first time in history, achieving the goal that President John F. Kennedy had set in 1961, before Americans had even orbited the Earth. After a landing that included dodging a lunar crater and boulder field just before touchdown, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the area around their lunar landing site for more than two hours.

When the lunar module landed at 4:17 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remained. Armstrong radioed “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupted in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.”

Daily Bread for 7.19.24: Update on ‘From Judicial Leak to Docket Entries’

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 78. Sunrise is 5:34 and sunset 8:27 for 14h 52m 45s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 95.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1963, Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 meters (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention.

On July 3rd, FREE WHITEWATER published a post about the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to take two abortion cases (after news that the court might take at least one case had leaked). See From Judicial Leak to Docket Entries. The Evers Administration filed on 7.17 to intervene in one of these cases (Planned Parenthood).

Henry Redman reports:

Attorney General Josh Kaul, who filed the first case in 2022, said in a statement that the Wisconsin Department of Justice is looking to intervene in the Planned Parenthood case to “help establish that the Wisconsin Constitution protects access to safe and legal abortion and does not permit the state legislature to ban nearly all abortions. The government should not be able to control critical reproductive health decisions.”

The filing argues that the state plaintiffs in the Kaul case should be allowed to intervene because the questions asked “are so closely connected that how each case is litigated or decided could directly impact the other.” It says the Kaul plaintiffs agree with the Planned Parenthood plaintiffs and want the chance to “fully argue why the Wisconsin Constitution would prohibit” a near-total abortion ban.

A link to the filing to intervene appears below:

Swathes of southern Europe bake as temperatures soar:

Film: Tuesday, July 23rd, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, The Boys in the Boat

Tuesday, July 23rd at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of The Boys in the Boat @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:


Rated PG-13

2 hours, 3 minutes (2023)

The triumphant underdog story of the University of Washington men’s rowing team, who stunned the world by competing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Directed by George Clooney.

One can find more information about The Boys in the Boat at the Internet Movie Database.

Daily Bread for 7.18.24: Interactive Maps on Wisconsin’s Legislative Primary Races

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:33 and sunset 8:28 for 14h 54m 29s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 90.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1968,  Intel is founded in Mountain View, California.

The Wisconsin Examiner has published two interactive maps for Wisconsin’s legislative primary races:

These interactive maps show every candidate listed on primary ballots in August this year as certified by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. They also include additional information about some of the Democratic and Republican primary races as well as information about the most competitive districts identified by a Marquette Law School analysis done by John Johnson, a research fellow in the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education. In his analysis, Johnson used the results of the 2022 state legislative elections to predict which districts will have close races under the 2024 maps.


2024 Wisconsin State Assembly Primary Races (‘Map reflects candidates who will be on the August primary ballots’) [link opens in another window]

2024 Wisconsin State Senate Primary Races (‘Map reflects candidates who will be on the August primary ballots. Odd numbered Senate districts (grey) are not up for election this year’ [link opens in another window]

Wisconsin’s August Partisan Primary is 8.13.24, Wis. Stat. 5.02(12s).

Butterfly Chases Hummingbird at Panama Fruit Feeders:

Watch this quick clip of a butterfly chasing a White-vented Plumeleteer above the platform feeder in Panama. Stay until the end to see a slow-motion replay of the events. It’s unclear exactly what led to this interaction. Butterflies and hummingbirds often compete for the same food sources, and there’s research to suggest both hummingbirds and various insect species will display interspecific territorial behavior near food sources.

Daily Bread for 7.17.24: The Questionable Search for a Bellwether (Door County Edition)

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:33 and sunset 8:29 for 14h 56m 10s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 82.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1821, the Kingdom of Spain cedes the territory of Florida to the United States.

So, a Wisconsin county may signal the presidential election outcome?

There’s always been, and always will be, a search for bellwethers. I’ve my doubts about their value, but even if I were more confident that a reliable trendsetter for 2024 could be found, the hesitant interviewees in NBC’s news video offer no reliable foundation to predict Door County’s, Wisconsin’s, or America’s direction.

Instead, the brief video suggests that NBC News would rather not step too far into the topic of the video’s title. News as a nervous weathervane (which way to go, perhaps nowhere?) makes this inquiry into a bellwether an unpersuasive undertaking.

Paris mayor finally swims in Seine to prove water purity:

‘It seems natural and easy’: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo finally takes the plunge into the River Seine to dispel concerns over the river’s cleanliness ahead of the Olympic swimming events.

Daily Bread for 7.16.24: Wisconsin Cities Get Stiffed for Campaign Visits

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:32 and sunset 8:29 for 14h 57m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 73.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Alcohol Licensing Committee meets at 5:30 PM, and the Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1969,  Apollo 11, the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon, launches from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Florida.

Julius Shieh reports Wisconsin cities want presidential candidates to pay for pricey campaign stops:

With President Joe Biden and Donald Trump again eying Wisconsin as a crucial presidential election battleground, some cash-strapped municipalities hope their campaigns will pick up the tab for their expensive visits to the state.

Those include the cities of Green Bay and Eau Claire, where officials said they still haven’t been reimbursed for tens of thousands of dollars in costs related to public safety and operational support during campaign visits dating back to 2016. 


  • Officials in Green Bay say Donald Trump’s campaign has refused to reimburse the city for more than $42,700 in public safety and operations costs from rallies in 2024 and 2016. 
  • President Biden has not visited Green Bay this year, but the campaign has reimbursed the city for $7,000 in costs related to first lady Jill Biden’s visit.
  • Green Bay says the campaigns of two Democrats still owe the city for costs stemming from events in 2016: Hillary Clinton (about $12,500) and Bernie Sanders (nearly $2,000).
  • Officials in Eau Claire, which hosted Trump and Clinton in 2016, say the city is still owed nearly $47,000 and $7,000 from each visit respectively, but they are next [sic] expecting to be paid. 
  • Madison, the site of a rally for President Biden on July 5, follows a long-standing practice of not billing campaigns for visits. It does not plan to invoice Biden’s campaign.

Watch as storm chasers follow a forming tornado in North Dakota:

Two storm chasers watched from their car as a tornado formed in Richland County, North Dakota.

Daily Bread for 7.15.24: The Different Politics of Wisconsin & Minnesota

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 88. Sunrise is 5:31 and sunset 8:30 for 14h 59m 24s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 64.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1799, the Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.

Jake Steinberg and Briana Bierschbach ask Why is Wisconsin a swing state while Minnesota isn’t? (‘A mix of political history, shifting economies, turnout and state policies have set the two states on diverging paths’):

On paper, Minnesota and Wisconsin seem like they would produce similar election results.

They’re both upper Midwestern states with farms in the south, forests in the north and connections to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River that drew Scandinavian and German migrants.

But Minnesota hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1972. Its politics lean left, with Democrats controlling a trifecta in state government. Despite Donald Trump’s belief he has “a really good shot” of winning Minnesota this year, Cook Political Report rated the state as “likely Democrat” until last week, when it downgraded the state to “lean Democrat.”

Wisconsin, on the other hand, shocked the nation by helping elect Donald Trump in 2016. The state’s politics have shifted right under an entrenched Republican majority in the state Legislature. The Badger State is a key battleground in this year’s presidential race, a point emphasized by the Republican National Committee’s choice of Milwaukee for its nominating convention this month.

The states have long walked a similar path, but differences in political culture, economic fortunes and voter enthusiasm are causing them to diverge….

Worth reading in full.

Sun blasts X1.2-class solar flare. See spacecraft views:

Daily Bread for 7.14.24: Wet, and Now Drought-Free

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with evening thundershowers and a high of 90. Sunrise is 5:30 and sunset 8:31 for 15h 00m 56s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 56.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1789, revolutionary insurgents storm the Bastille:

After four hours of fighting and 94 deaths the insurgents were able to enter the Bastille. The governor de Launay and several members of the garrison were killed after surrender. The Bastille then represented royal authority in the centre of Paris. The prison contained only seven inmates at the time of its storming and was already scheduled for demolition, but was seen by the revolutionaries as a symbol of the monarchy’s abuse of power. 

On this day in 1960, Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her study of chimpanzees in the wild.

Danielle Kaeding reports June Was One of Wettest Months in Wisconsin History (‘Wisconsin is drought-free after the entire state struggled with drought conditions in 2023’):

Last month was one of the wettest on record for June in a dramatic reversal from the drought conditions that covered Wisconsin at the same time last year.

The month marked the sixth-wettest June in state history based on records dating back to 1895. That’s according to Steve Vavrus, director of the Wisconsin State Climatology Office.“Last June was the fifth-driest statewide, so this marks the biggest one-year precipitation flip-flop from one June to the next,” Vavrus said.

In June, the state averaged 6.97 inches in rainfall, which was 2.27 inches above normal for the month.

“Most parts of the state had more wet days than dry days in June, which is especially unusual in the summer,” Vavrus said.

The La Crosse area set a monthly record with 24 days of rain last month compared to the previous record of 22 days seen in 1935 and 2013. Frequent rain prompted flooding along the Mississippi River and brought water levels to its second-highest for the month at 11.01 feet.

While all regions saw more rain than normal, climate data shows northwestern and southcentral Wisconsin experienced the most rain.In southcentral Wisconsin, Madison saw a total of 8.82 inches for the month of June. Meteorologist Nate Falkinham with the Milwaukee/Sullivan office for the National Weather Service said rainfall was more than 3.5 inches above the norm.

Watch Hurricane Beryl’s ‘full journey’ in 12-day infrared time-lapse:

See Hurricane Beryl’s journey in this infrared time-lapse captured from June 28 to July 9, 2024 by NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite.

Daily Bread for 7.13.24: Sydney’s Feathered Celebrities

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:29 and sunset 8:31 for 15h 02m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 46.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1787, the Congress of the Confederation enacts the Northwest Ordinance establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory. It also establishes procedures for the admission of new states and limits the expansion of slavery.

Sydney’s Feathered Celebrities:

Sydney, Australia, has some new social media stars. Sulphur-crested cockatoos are going viral in parks, public transport, and urban apartments, often leaving a trail of chaos behind them.

But the candidates for Australia’s “naughtiest bird” haven’t always lived in the city. So, what brought them here? And how are Sydney’s residents using smartphones to track them? We learn all about the Wingtag and Big City Birds projects.

Fireball seen across Wisconsin skies on Thursday night:

Reports from the International Meteor Organization show a fireball streaked across the night sky on Thursday, July 11.

Daily Bread for 7.12.24: Committee Ponders the Universities of Wisconsin

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 85. Sunrise is 5:28 and sunset 8:32 for 15h 03m 51s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 37.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1543, King Henry VIII of England marries his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, at Hampton Court Palace.

Baylor Spears reports Study committee meets for first time to consider future of the University of Wisconsin System:

A study committee made up of lawmakers and members of the public will spend the next few months discussing the future of the University of Wisconsin system and solutions for ongoing concerns, which appeared to be wide ranging during the panel’s first meeting on Thursday. 

The group will provide legislative recommendations when it wraps up its work late this year.  It comes after a legislative session that was marked by a showdown over diversity, equity and inclusion, controversy over free speech on campuses as well as the financial future of the UW system.

Committee chair Rep. Amanda Nedweski (R-Pleasant Prairie) noted during the meeting that the UW system faces challenges that include declining enrollment on many campuses  along with  fiscal constraints at individual institutions and at the system level. She said the committee would be a place to openly, honestly and respectfully discuss the issues in a public setting, even though conversations may be “intense” and “uncomfortable” at times. 

“We all are here because we share the goal of taking action that will support the function of the UW system as an effective economic driver in our state going forward,” Nedeweski said. 

The committee is made up of four state lawmakers — including Nedweski, Sen. Cory Tomczyck (R-Mosinee), Rep. Alex Joers (D-Middleton) and Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) — as well as 14 members of the public, who have an array of stakes in and ties to the UW system. It is planning to meet four other times between now and November. 

A few remarks:

  1. There is no certainty about what the study committee might propose, let alone what action might be taken on any proposals it makes.
  2. Over the years, I’ve been critical — with justification — of several administrators at UW-Whitewater. (There’s no reason to be critical of the current chancellor; he’s managing well during difficult times.)
  3. The success of our local campus is vital to the socio-economic health of Whitewater. That success does not depend on, and will not come from, a narrow focus on a particular economic advantage that the university offers to a few business people, such as student rentals.
  4. Whitewater needs to abandon the notion, so to speak, that someone who supplies hospital beds is qualified to practice medicine.
  5. After the last three years, it should be evident to residents that offering apartments for rent does not provide any unique insight into K-12 education, university education, municipal finance, Wisconsin’s Public Records Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31–19.39), Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.81–19.98), or coherent (let alone persuasive) speaking during public meetings.

Italian artist creates Eiffel Tower in farm field ahead of Paris Olympics: