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Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021 — COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric

This is the eighth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021.

Why would a local politician publish statistics on a pandemic? Why would he write now and again with reports of the reach of the pandemic into his city?

He’d write this way out of concern for his community. If that’s not plain, then nothing is plain. It’s not fear of infection or ambition for control that prompted these numerous posts at the Whitewater Banner. Honest to goodness, it was no more – and no less – than a concern for others.

Those who have described a charitable impulse as a sinister one have been absurdly wrong.

I’ve been critical of what I’ve called ‘amateur epidemiology,’ but on practical, not moral grounds. It’s morally right to alert others of dangers (and COVID-19 has been a danger to many, across all the planet).

The contention that those who are concerned are instead afraid is false, if not projection. So many of us have carried on as before, but with precautions of masks, hand-washing, distancing, and now vaccination (while maintaining those prior precautions until the pandemic ends). Over this last year, there has not been a single day when I have been afraid for myself over the pandemic, yet I’ve not let a single morning or evening pass without asking for intercession on behalf of others, wherever they reside.

Instead, the practical problem with a local politician alerting others of this danger is that too many in and near Whitewater are in obstinate denial. To engage successfully on this topic with COVID-19 denialists or anti-maskers would require a long, hard slog.

About COVID-19 skepticism see On COVID-19 Skeptics and COVID Is Worse Than We Think.

A quick estimate, having written here continuously for fourteen years, is that a solid local discussion and explanation of risks would require about 100 lengthy posts in assertion or reply over a year. The time to research and present one’s position would be far greater than any written effort the city has seen. (A professional would need little additional research time, but a layperson would require a vast amount of preparatory reading.)

At best, this effort would, even if rhetorically powerful, likely end in no better than a stalemate. One might reinforce one’s position among the like-minded, but probably gain few converts to a more reasonable view.

For these practical reasons, I’ve not engaged on the topic.

Seeing humanitarian efforts characterized as tyranny should be a warning to Whitewater: this city is significantly less united – and less acculturated – than its leaders like to imagine or describe.

Anyone looking around will see economic hardship among some residents, and anyone listening or reading will see a significant number of false claims masquerading as profound truths.

The hard, important work of the city isn’t marketing to those outside, it’s healing and uplifting from within.

Tomorrow: Marketing.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-LeftThe City’s Few Progressives, The CampusThe Subcultural City, and The Common Council.

Daily Bread for 4.14.21

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 45.  Sunrise is 6:12 AM and sunset 7:36 PM, for 13h 24m 13s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 5.0% of its visible disk illuminated.

The school district’s Policy Review Committee meets via audiovisual conferencing at 1 PM.

On this day in 1775, the first abolition society in North America is established, the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Kelly Meyerhofer reports UW-Madison hires former Foxconn official to lead office working with businesses:

The hiring of John Garnetti, Foxconn’s former deputy director of U.S. strategic initiatives, comes about halfway through a five-year agreement between UW-Madison and the Taiwanese technology company that critics say has fallen far short of expectations.

Foxconn officials in 2018 committed $100 million to help fund a new UW-Madison engineering building and company-related research. Records show the university received $700,000 in the first two years of the deal — less than 1% of the company’s pledge.

Bruce Vielmetti reports Kenosha officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back returns to full duty, won’t face any discipline:

District Attorney Michael Graveley announced in January that Rusten Sheskey would face no criminal charges in the Aug. 23 incident that left Blake paralyzed from the waist down. 

On Tuesday, Chief Daniel Miskinis issued a press release on Twitter stating that Sheskey has also been cleared of breaking any internal policies, and has been back on duty after months of administrative leave since March 31.

….

On March 25, Blake filed a federal civil rights lawsuit for damages against Sheskey.

Blake claims Sheskey’s use of deadly force was excessive, violated Blake’s rights under the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable seizure, and was done with “malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference” to Blake’s rights.

One of Blake’s attorneys, Patrick Salvi Jr., called Tuesday’s revelation that Sheskey had returned to full duty without discipline very surprising.

“How can anyone say this is a desired result for a police encounter?” Salvi asked. He called it “a very sad state of affairs” if Kenosha police truly believe Sheskey acted in accordance with policy and training.

“But that’s not true and we’ll prove it in our lawsuit,” Salvi said.

Michael Gerson writes Tucker Carlson shows what mass-marketed racism looks like:

The Anti-Defamation League has demanded Carlson’s firing for his unapologetic embrace of “replacement theory.” Here is how Carlson defined this idea in the process of defending it last week: “The Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate of the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.”

Why people should be offended by this mystifies Carlson. “Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it,” he continued. “No, no, no, this is a voting-rights question. I have less political power because they are importing a brand-new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that? The power that I have as an American, guaranteed at birth, is one man, one vote, and they are diluting it.”

There is a reason, of course, that “everyone” wants to make a racial issue out of this. Because it is a putrescent pile of racist myths and cliches. Nearly every phrase of Carlson’s statement is the euphemistic expression of white-supremacist replacement doctrine. “The Democratic Party” means liberals, which translates into Jews. They are importing “new people” from the “Third World” means people with black and brown skin. Those kinds of people, in the racist trope, are “obedient,” meaning docile, backward and stupid. Their votes do not constitute real democracy because they are replacing the “current electorate” — which is presumably whiter and less docile. These paler, truer Americans are thus deprived of their birthright of political dominance. And fighting back — making sure the new Third World people have less power — becomes a defense of the American way.

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Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The Common Council

This is the seventh in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021.

Whitewater has a seven-person person city council with an appointed city manager to run the daily affairs of the town. Two of the council seats are at-large, and the other five members are from aldermanic districts.

While the city manager acts in a delegated executive function, the city council embodies both the legislative and executive authority of the city.

Looking back over more than a dozen years one finds a number of municipal controversies, disappointments, and problems. Some of these challenges came from council members, themselves: the obstinate, the obtuse, or otherwise troublesome on that public body.

Whitewater is a city less unified that it has pretended to be, and managing conflicting desires and agendas on the city’s common council required during this time a shrewd parliamentarian’s approach. Patrick Singer, who was council president in Whitewater for more than a decade during a notably difficult period, ably exercised his role in this city.

(Easily stated: it’s often been in decisions and actions one might imagine contrary to my views or interests that Singer performed some of his best work.)

Whether by intuition or instruction (or perhaps both), Singer was notably, memorably  skillful. Even-keeled in expression, economically thoughtful in remarks (never too much or too little), he was a patient conductor in a city suffering with others’ ceaseless strivings to be center stage, full spotlight.

One doesn’t have to be a government man to see that local government, and the community, will miss his public work.

In the year since Singer stepped down as council president, the city has probably seen as much community-council controversy as at any moment of the last decade. The pandemic has been difficult for Whitewater, of course, but Whitewater has seen many significant difficulties over the years.

I have sometimes agreed, and more often disagreed, with current council president Lynn Binnie, but it’s odd to the point of nuttiness that some in town so misunderstand his place in Whitewater’s ecosystem. Singer’s successor has attracted criticism as power hungry, and as though he were some sort of radical who – impossibly – sought to establish a version of Haight-Ashbury on Cravath. That’s all nonsense.

I once heard Nancy Pelosi say that she did not hate people, however critical she was of them. She’s not alone in that outlook; it’s certainly mine. There’s no one in the government who merits hatred. (At the same time, one carries on without regard to what government or others think of oneself; commentary is not a task for the emotionally needy.)

Whitewater’s new council leader is as close in approach (if not ideology) to Old Whitewater’s outlook as almost anyone in the city: concerned about detail (but sometimes at the expense of perspective), community-oriented (but sometimes more attentive to notable residents over less notable residents), participatory at meetings (but sometimes impatient with others’ remarks), wanting to inform (but sometimes with disregard of conflicts of interest or while omitting key details).

Like many of that older outlook, this approach tends toward dealmaking with, or praise-making of, established conservatives, and these deals often redistribute public money from general uses to special interest projects.

That’s a pinched outlook that leads to bad policy; it’s not the coming of a Leninist state.

Meaningful, enduring criticism depends on insight, delivered with cold composure. This small and beautiful city deserves no less.

Tomorrow: COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-LeftThe City’s Few Progressives, The Campus, and The Subcultural City.

Daily Bread for 4.13.21

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of  51.  Sunrise is 6:14 AM and sunset 7:35 PM, for 13h 21m 26s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

There will be a school board election canvass at 9 AM, and Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets via audiovisual conferencing at 6 PM.

On this day in 1960, the United States launches Transit 1-B, the world’s first satellite navigation system.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Rory Linnane reports Burlington schools failed to address ‘racially hostile’ environment, DPI finds:

Burlington Area School District officials failed to report, investigate and respond to racist incidents for years, the state Department of Public Instruction has found, and ordered district officials to address its “racially hostile environment.”

It took years of advocacy by Darnisha Garbade, a parent of two former Burlington students, to get to this point, while she repeatedly hit dead-ends with district officials.

“I asked, I begged, I cried and pleaded for help on many occasions to many of Burlington’s leaders but was treated as if I was the problem, instead of racism being the problem,” Garbade said in a news conference Monday. “I consistently spoke the truth, and even provided evidence when I wasn’t believed. And yet, I still wasn’t believed.”

Steve Plank, superintendent of the Burlington Area School District, did not acknowledge any wrongdoing but said he regrets that anyone felt discriminated against and will comply with the order.

….

When the American Civil Liberties Union helped Garbade appeal the district’s finding to DPI, the state agency found numerous issues with the district’s handling of reports of racial harassment of Garbade’s children and many other students.

On Friday, DPI ordered the district to submit a corrective action plan within 30 days, including specific steps to prevent discrimination in discipline; address the racially hostile environment; review its practices for reporting discrimination complaints; and bring its policies up to compliance with state codes.

Martin Pangelly reports Tucker Carlson: Murdoch backs Fox News host in ‘white replacement’ furore:

The chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League told Lachlan Murdoch on Monday an award it gave his father a decade ago “does not absolve you, him, the network, or its board from the moral failure of not taking action” against the Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Jonathan Greenblatt has called for Carlson to be fired for advocating “white replacement” theory, a racist trope which holds that the Democratic party favours unlimited immigration in order to boost its vote.

….

“Demographic change is the key to the Democratic party’s political ambitions,” he [Carlson] said. “… In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country.”

In a reply provided to CNN, Greenblatt said: “Although I appreciate the sentiment that you and your father continue to support ADL’s mission, supporting Mr Carlson’s embrace of the ‘great replacement theory’ stands in direct contrast to that mission.

“…ADL honored your father over a decade ago, but let me be clear that we would not do so today, and it does not absolve you, him, the network, or its board from the moral failure of not taking action against Mr Carlson.”

Greenblatt also said Carlson’s “attempt to at first dismiss” the racist theory “while in the very next breath endorsing it under cover of ‘a voting rights question’ does not give him free license to invoke a white supremacist trope.

“In fact, it’s worse, because he’s using a straw man – voting rights – to give an underhanded endorsement of white supremacist beliefs while ironically suggesting it’s not really white supremacism. While your response references a ‘full review’ of the interview, it seems the reviewers missed the essential point here.”

Unearthing the little-known ancient theatres of Greece’s Epirus region:

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The Subcultural City

This is the sixth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021.

There’s no politically predominant group in Whitewater. Strictly speaking, a subculture implies a dominant culture, but it’s less dramatic to describe Whitewater as several subcultures than as balkanized. One might call the city multicultural, but that term often implies an acceptance of different cultures, and neither Whitewater’s traditionalists nor populists can be described as friends of multiculturalism…

Whitewater is a collection of subcultures sitting beside, and sometimes mixing, with each other.

It was the claim – the insistence, truly – of Old Whitewater that there was one town, with one people, and one message for them. This claim lingered long past its expiration date; it lingers in some minds still.

The height of that view was 2006-07, before the Great Recession. There are few towns where a local politician would publish an online news site and be taken seriously. Old Whitewater took all of this seriously. A traditional conservative outlook was simply assumed as the default outlook of each and all. Boosterism was the patina of that time in this city, but beneath that coat of whitewash there were genuine grains from different timbers.

The Great Recession and its aftermath broke apart any credible claim – if ever there were one – that the city was of one type of person or outlook. (Failure to understand the enduring influence of the Great Recession on Whitewater and other small Midwestern towns is a significant misunderstanding.)

What Whitewater was below the surface then is more evident now: about half college students, half non-students, White, Latino, Black, and each of these groups of more than one politics (some in support of this more diverse city, others opposed to the very idea of diversity).

(For many years, I waited patiently and hopefully for more publications, of varying viewpoints, to sprout here. They have. Residents with recourse to digital tools now publish dozens upon dozens of local pages through Facebook, stand-alone sites, Twitter, or Instagram. There may be no person in the city happier about this than I am.)

No doubt local government would like one quick stop, one easy touch, but a normal  community – let alone a vibrant one – seeks more than that.

There’s much from publishing that Whitewater still needs, but a more competitive publishing environment is a better environment.

That more competitive publishing environment is a consequence of the shift from one (presumed) dominant politics to several competing political factions.

Tomorrow: The Common Council.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-LeftThe City’s Few Progressives, and The Campus.

Daily Bread for 4.12.21

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see scattered showers with a high of 58.  Sunrise is 6:15 AM and sunset 7:34 PM, for 13h 18m 39s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets via audiovisual conferencing at 6:00 PM.

On this day in 1776, with the Halifax Resolves, the North Carolina Provincial Congress authorizes its Congressional delegation to vote for independence from Britain.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Rich Kremer reports Thompson Continues Push for Systemwide Online Education Program:

University of Wisconsin System interim President Tommy Thompson is continuing his push for a system-wide approach to online education. Thompson says a unified front on behalf of all UW System campuses is the best way to compete with out-of-state colleges spending heavily in Wisconsin to attract working adults to take courses.

During a UW Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, Thompson sounded the alarm about increasing competition for working adults with some college credit but no degree.

“The barbarians are at the door,” said Thompson. “Arizona State, Western Governors, University of Southern New Hampshire is a big one, coming in and advertising. And they’re taking approximately, I would say, 35 to 40 percent of our students.”

According to a UW System review of 25 online programs with the most Wisconsinites enrolled during the 2018-2019 school year, UW System campuses had 37 percent of the total. Wisconsin technical colleges enrolled 32 percent while out-of-state universities enrolled 37 percent.

Anne Applebaum writes What America’s Vaccination Campaign Proves to the World:

The best answer to Russian and Chinese strongmen who offer thousands of vaccines to countries that say nice things about them is to flood the market with millions of American doses, helping everyone regardless of what they say about the U.S. or anyone else. After Trump, the American political system won’t win much admiration again anytime soon. But if American democracy is no longer a trusted product, American efficiency could be once again. Within a matter of weeks, a majority of American adults will have had their first dose of a vaccine. What if the U.S. then begins to pivot from mass-vaccinating its own citizens to mass-vaccinating the rest of the world? Americans can’t do social trust, but we can do vaccines, plus the military logistics needed to distribute them: planes, trucks, cold-storage chains. The best cure for propaganda and disinformation is real-life experience: If people see that the vaccines work, they will eventually get one. We can end the global pandemic, improve the economy for everybody, protect ourselves and everyone else, and create the relationships that can help us deal with crises to come.

 Catherine Rampell writes Republicans are learning that there’s more to capitalism than tax cuts:

Democrats, having achieved unified control of government, are threatening to reverse the major corporate tax cut Republicans passed in 2017. Yet corporate America is criticizing Republicans, and for something unrelated: legislation in Georgia, Texas and other states that threatens to strip Americans of their voting rights

…..

these corporations aren’t criticizing anti-voter bills out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re doing so because speaking up is good for the bottom line. They’ve crunched the numbers and determined that promoting voting rights is more financially valuable than whatever they stand to gain from slightly lower tax rates.

Among those at risk of disenfranchisement, after all, are these companies’ customers and employees. And it’s not such a great business move to endorse attempts to take away your customers’ and employees’ civil rights; even staying neutral on the issue — as some companies tried to do before the Georgia law passed — can alienate consumers who are either direct victims of the law or allies of those victims.

‘Dolphin Stampede’ Filmed in Dana Point, California:

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The Campus

This is the fifth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021Whitewater, Wisconsin is a small town where about half the residents are university students. Town-Gown conflicts here aren’t the most in all North America, but they’re not the least, either.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is beset with challenges apart from politics: long-term structural limitations of the UW System’s funding, a declining demographic of typical college-age students, short-term revenue losses from the pandemic, two unsuited chancellors in a row (Telfer, Kopper), a mediocre media relations shop, and a current chancellor (Watson) who undermines any chance of improvement whenever he stoops to that media shop’s stale or false talking points.

The direct influence of the university on the town’s local politics is probably overstated: many university faculty or staff members do not live in the city, and students attend UW-Whitewater for reasons understandably more important to them than city politics. (For those who do live and vote in the city, national or state elections draw more participation than wholly local races.)

It’s indirectly, as a topic, that the university plays its key political role: as an economic resource (although, again, an often over-stated one), as a source of pride, frustration, or controversy. Old Whitewater – whatever the politics of the residents – has never been comfortable with the university (especially as it grew larger from 2006-2016). Some of Old Whitewater wished the university never grew, others that it grew only on campus, and others would have preferred that the whole city look more like an extended nursing home or library than a college town.

There have been landlords who have profited from this public university’s rise during that time, but not all residents have seen benefits so tangible. (These landlords are, mostly, self-identified business conservatives who owe their livelihoods to a state-funded public university.)

It’s as a source of continuing controversy among those unaffiliated with the university that UW-Whitewater exerts the most influence over city politics. That’s the unsolved Town-Gown problem, one that is no less a problem now than it was ten or twenty years ago. Structural limits, misconduct, and unforced errors have left UW-Whitewater a public-relations failure within its own divided city.

Some small towns’ residents universally ache with love and pride for their local campus; Whitewater is not one of those places.

How many people from the university vote in any given election is less significant to the city’s local politics than the indirect influences of the campus.

Tomorrow: The Subcultural City.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-Left, and The City’s Few Progressives.

Daily Bread for 4.11.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see scattered showers with a high of 55.  Sunrise is 6:17 AM and sunset 7:33 PM, for 13h 15m 51s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, American forces liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Martin Pangelly reports ‘Dumb son of a bitch’: Trump attacks McConnell in Republican donors speech:

Donald Trump devoted part of a speech to Republican donors on Saturday night to insulting the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell. According to multiple reports of the $400,000-a-ticket, closed-press event, the former president called the Kentucky senator “a dumb son of a bitch.”

Trump also said Mike Pence, his vice-president, should have had the “courage” to object to the certification of electoral college results at the US Capitol on 6 January. Trump claims his defeat by Joe Biden, by 306-232 in the electoral college and more than 7m votes, was the result of electoral fraud. It was not and the lie was repeatedly thrown out of court.

Earlier, the Associated Press reported that it obtained a Pentagon timeline of events on 6 January, which showed Pence demanding military leadership “clear the Capitol” of rioters sent by Trump.

Trump did nothing and around six hours passed between Pence’s order and the Capitol being cleared. Five people including a police officer died and some in the mob were recorded chanting “hang Mike Pence.” More than 400 face charges.

(Mar-a-Lago: where cannibalism’s the preferred cuisine.)

Andrew Ryan reports For years, the Boston Police kept a secret: the union president was an alleged child molester:

A father and his teenage daughter walked into the Hyde Park police station last August and reported a heinous crime.

The girl said she had been repeatedly molested from age 7 through 12 by former Boston police union president Patrick M. Rose Sr. Five more people soon came forward, accusing Rose of molesting them as children over the span of three decades, including the girl’s own father.

Rose being tagged as a child sexual abuser was news to the city when he was arrested and charged last summer. But it wasn’t news to the Boston Police Department where Rose served for two decades as a patrolman.

A Globe investigation has found that the Boston Police Department in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against him for sexual assault on a 12-year-old, and, even after the complaint was dropped, proceeded with an internal investigation that concluded that he likely committed a crime. Despite that finding, Rose kept his badge, remained on patrol for another 21 years, and rose to power in the union that represents patrol officers.

Today Boston police are fighting to keep secret how the department handled the allegations against Rose, and what, if any, penalty he faced. Over the years, this horrific case has come full circle: The father who brought his daughter in last summer to report abuse by Rose was the boy allegedly abused at age 12 in the 1995 case. The department’s lack of administrative action back then may have left Rose free to offend again and again, from one generation to the next.

Prosecutors now say the boy recanted his story under pressure from Rose, a common phenomenon for young survivors of abuse when faced with demands from their abuser. Though the criminal case against Rose was dropped as a result, a separate police internal affairs investigation went forward and concluded Rose broke the law.

Meet Some of The Last Papyrus Makers In Egypt Keeping A 5,000-Year-Old Craft Alive:

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The City’s Few Progressives

This is the fourth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021The largest political gathering in Whitewater in 2020 was a rally for racial justice in Whitewater following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Hundreds attended. It was not, however, an allowedly progressive event – the small local group Whitewater Unites Lives invited anyone, and many (if not most) who attended surely did so without considering themselves progressives. (I’m not affiliated with either group.)

Official reactions to that broad-based rally, and to a separate group of Black Lives Matter protesters, show that Whitewater is not a progressive city. It’s not even a center-left city.

If Whitewater were a progressive city, or even a center-left city, then her city manager would not have been confused and frustrated at the simple observation that (1) ‘Black Lives Matter’ simply means ‘Black Lives Matter [as much],’ (2) would have readily understood that ‘All Lives Matter is a rejection of ‘Black Lives Matter [as much],’ (3) would not have gone to another city and complained about the reasonable expectation to understand these points, and (4) the Whitewater Common Council would have addressed all of this more confidently, responsively, and openly.

The reception for that BLM group, of which two university professors were core members, shows limits of progressive politics – or any significant political changes – in the city. Some of those limits are structural and some are cultural. See Built Against Substantive Change.

(These progressive efforts for change, including presenting several enumerated demands, would not have been my approach, in any event. One does not demand what one cannot lawfully take, and there was no chance of compelling immediate change from Whitewater’s city government or agencies. In the absence of a lawful power to demand, successful efforts are attritional, not immediate. An approach that looks at many parts of an institution at once – from bottom, sides, and top – is less practical than a focus on one part. If one wishes to negotiate with leaders, that’s a lengthy process of discussion. If one opposes leadership, then a long attrition campaign should stay focused on those leaders, without additional goals. Lengthy means lengthy, and long means long.)

And yet, and yet — what part of their free exercise threatened others? Would Dr. Thomas have called down lightning from the sky? (How convenient, then, to fly a kite and key.) Would Dr. McFadden have sent a flock of flying monkeys into the city? (It seems unlikely; having seen Dr. McFadden and her friends march through town, her complexion shows no tint of green.)

About those BLM protesters, marching day after day in the summer, a simple observation: it’s a loss of composure, if not of reason, to have overreacted to them as though they were a danger to this city. If lawful marches and lawful discussions are too hard for Whitewater’s residents and officials, then the deficiency lies with residents and officials rather than these protesters.

Tomorrow: The Campus.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in Whitewater, and The City’s Center-Left.

Daily Bread for 4.10.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 52.  Sunrise is 6:19 AM and sunset 7:32 PM, for 13h 13m 02s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 2.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 2019, scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project announce the first-ever image of a black hole, located in the center of the M87 galaxy.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Daphne Chen, Sarah Volpenhein, and Olivia Cohen report Garbage bags as PPE. Infected staff on duty. Residents found unresponsive. Wisconsin nursing homes during the pandemic:

In one of the most comprehensive looks at nursing home safety during the pandemic, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation has found that 1 in 3 Wisconsin facilities violated coronavirus protocols, including by asking COVID-positive staff to keep working, not screening visitors for symptoms and not isolating infected residents.

Even when inspectors were present, employees at several facilities didn’t always wear face masks. Two homes substituted flannel shirts or plastic aprons for gowns, despite having an ample supply. At least five nursing homes didn’t tell residents or their families about coronavirus cases for days or weeks.

According to the Journal Sentinel review of hundreds of state and federal inspection reports from March 2020 to January 2021, officials cited 133 of Wisconsin’s 360 nursing homes for coronavirus-related violations, with some of them incurring multiple violations.

Two-thirds of the violations occurred in August or later, months into the pandemic, showing that even with more time and better access to masks and testing, some nursing homes still failed to take basic measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

See Database: Look up Wisconsin nursing homes with coronavirus deficiencies. (As of 4.10.21, the database includes a 7.16.20 report for violations at Fairhaven.)

Dan Diamond reports Trump officials celebrated efforts to change CDC reports on coronavirus, emails show:

Trump appointees in the Department of Health and Human Services last year privately touted their efforts to block or alter scientists’ reports on the coronavirus to more closely align with President Donald Trump’s more optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to newly released documents from congressional investigators.

The documents provide further insight into how senior Trump officials approached last year’s explosion of coronavirus cases in the United States. Even as career government scientists worked to combat the virus, a cadre of Trump appointees was attempting to blunt the scientists’ messages, edit their findings and equip the president with an alternate set of talking points.

Science adviser Paul Alexander wrote to HHS public affairs chief Michael Caputo on Sept. 9, touting two examples of where he said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had bowed to his pressure and changed language in their reports, according to an email obtained by the House’s select subcommittee on the coronavirus outbreak.

 Leon Yin and Aaron Sankin report Google Blocks Advertisers from Targeting Black Lives Matter YouTube Videos:

Last June, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki made a big promise to help Black YouTubers.

“We’re committed to doing better as a platform to center and amplify Black voices and perspectives,” she wrote in a blog post, announcing a $100 million fund to support them. “At YouTube, we believe Black lives matter and we all need to do more to dismantle systemic racism.”

But an investigation by The Markup found that YouTube parent company Google blocks advertisers from using dozens of social and racial justice terms, including Black Lives Matter, to find YouTube videos and channels upon which to advertise.

At the same time, Google offered advertisers hundreds of millions of choices for YouTube videos and channels related to White supremacist and other hate terms when we began our investigation, including “all lives matter”—a phrase frequently used as a dismissive rejoinder to Black Lives Matter—and “White lives matter.”

St Vincent rocked by explosive eruptions at La Soufrière volcano:

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The City’s Center-Left

This is the third in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021. There’s a joke that a Democrat told me at the turn of the century about Democrats in Whitewater: “Do you know who’s the head of the Whitewater Democrats? No? Well, neither do we.”

Those days are long past.

The Great Recession (‘07-‘09), its lingering aftermath, and a divisive statewide politics under Walker led to the rise of a more visible group of Democrats in town. The traditional conservatives in the city were shocked, simply shocked to see that residents were protesting Walker, collecting signatures for a recall, or campaigning more openly than before for Democratic candidates.

Politicking that was normal and ordinary for other cities breached traditional Whitewater’s cultural perimeter fence. About a decade ago, a traditional conservative worried himself about “pickets” protesting on a sidewalk, and sought to reassure others that the protest was under the watch of a strong law enforcement presence. Oh, brother.

Now, a decade on, Democrats in the city are more visible than before.

They will self-define as they wish, but I’ll divide the city’s Democrats into two main types: the center-left and progressives. While these terms vary from person to person, the distinction here is between someone like Biden (center-left) and someone like Sanders (progressive). Some ham-handedly misidentify distinct type after type, and fling terms with disregard (e.g., center-left, progressives, socialists, Marxists, Mauritanians, Lithuanians, whatever…). There are obvious & meaningful distinctions.

It’s the center-left that predominates among Democrats in Whitewater (as they do among Democrats in most places).

They are now, and are likely to to remain, a group that can easily recognize its own, more-numerous members.

Whether they develop as a group that acts confidently for its views, advocating and defending locally, will determine their future in the city. (Conservatives in Whitewater, by contrast, consistently assert and defend their own views. They are outspoken. The traditional conservatives speak by habit, the transactionalists by calculation, and the populists by instinct. For decades conservatives predominated in the city, and saw themselves as the eternal, unalterable default politics of the city.)

While the center-left has grown more numerous, and so more visible, it is notably less assertive than any kind of conservative in town. Perhaps a memory of being less common makes them softer spoken and more deferential. It’s evident that the center-left in many other cities, including nearby ones, is more assertive than the center-left in Whitewater.

The local center-left is chiefly uniform in manner and expression, so that (unlike the conservative populists) the messaging of some would not likely undermine the messaging of others (but there’s an exception to mention later in this series).

They face two big challenges in Whitewater.

First, as some among the center-left now have opportunities for boards and commissions that they did not have before, a tendency for compromise and concession makes them vulnerable to conservative transactionalists’ proposals and deal-making. (While many conservative populists consider deals with the center-left inherently unacceptable, the transactionalists know the value of a temporary deal that makes them look fair-minded while concurrently redistributing public resources to their right-leaning cronies.)

Second, they’ve the tendency of many in Whitewater to ignore local political adversaries in the hope that those adversaries will simply go away. Doubtless, some adversaries will fade away. It’s a mistake, however, to think that all of one’s political adversaries will go away. The traditional conservatives lived behind a cultural perimeter fence of their own construction, convinced they could ignore anyone beyond, and it’s brought them only decline.

Tomorrow: The City’s Few Progressives.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election Results and The Kinds of Conservatives in Whitewater.