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Happy Mother’s Day

Watch all five episodes: Run Mama Run.

See also This Runner Went After Her Olympic Dream Just Four Months After Giving Birth.

Elite runner Sarah Brown trains through an unexpected pregnancy to compete in the Olympic trials only 16 weeks after giving birth. Directed by Daniele Anastasion for espnW and ESPN Films.

Daily Bread for 5.8.21

Good morning.

Mother’s Day in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 59. Sunrise is 5:37 AM and sunset 8:05 PM, for 14h 28m 06s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 4.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1815, Francis Ronalds describes the first battery-operated clock in the Philosophical Magazine.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Philip Bump writes Time has only weakened the argument that the Russia probe was a victory for Trump:

For example, in early February 2019, a member of Mueller’s team argued to a federal judge that an August 2016 meeting between Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign manager, and a man named Konstantin Kilimnik went “very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating” — that is, the question of possible coordination. In the final Mueller report, though, the investigators admitted that they couldn’t answer key questions about that meeting.

At that meeting, Manafort had shared campaign data with Kilimnik, though Mueller’s team “could not reliably determine Manafort’s purpose in sharing internal polling data with Kilimnik during the campaign period.” This was hampered by Manafort offering false information to his team and to the grand jury and by Manafort’s using encrypted messaging apps.

“Because of questions about Manafort’s credibility and our limited ability to gather evidence on what happened to the polling data after it was sent to Kilimnik,” the Mueller report reads, his team, referred to as “the Office,” “could not assess what Kilimnik (or others he may have given it to) did with it. The Office did not identify evidence of a connection between Manafort’s sharing polling data and Russia’s interference in the election, which had already been reported by U.S. media outlets at the time of the August 2 meeting.”

Only last month was the question of what happened more fully answered: Kilimnik — who had been previously identified as a Russian intelligence agent (including casually by Manafort’s number two at the campaign) — “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy.”  

 Adam Gopnik writes What Liberalism Can Learn from What It Took to Defeat Donald Trump:

The first lesson, and vindication, for those of that liberal turn of mind is the continuing demonstration of the superiority, both moral and pragmatic, of pluralism to purism. That truth has been demonstrated twice by that improbable liberal hero Joe Biden, first in the Democratic primaries and then in the general election. There was an extended moment, in 2018 and 2019, when a dominant belief on the left was that the only way to counter the extreme narrowness of Trumpism was with an equally pointed alternative. Bernie Sanders, whose values and programs—Medicare for All, breaking up the banks, a Green New Deal—have long appeared admirable to many, still seemed to rest his campaign on a belief that one could win the Democratic nomination without a majority, as long as the minority was sufficiently motivated and committed, and as long as the rest of the field remained fragmented.

But the inflamed flamed out. Biden, despite his uninspiring social-media presence and his generally antediluvian vibe, shifted, like his party, to the left, yet managed to pull together a broad coalition to win the nomination, and then did it again against Donald Trump. The pluralism of that coalition stretched from its base, among African-American women, to those suburban white women who turned on Trump, to disaffected McCain Republicans, in Arizona, to Latinos—who, warningly, in some areas voted less Democratic than in the past, but still voted Democratic. (And not to forget those neocon Never Trumpers who seem to have played a small but significant role in turning key votes in key places.)

How 7 Million Flowers Are Planted At Keukenhof Every Year:

Film: Tuesday, May 11th, 1 PM @ Seniors in the Park, The Land

This Tuesday, May 11th at 1 PM, there will be a showing of The Land @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

Drama

Rated PG-13

1 hour, 29 minutes (2021)

An urban, middle-aged woman has fled city life to live off the grid in a tiny cabin on the side of a mountain in Wyoming, knowing nothing about getting by without
electricity, running water, indoor plumbing or finding something to eat every day. Alone, isolated, and struggling to cope, a kindly stranger comes by and offers to help her. Fearing and wanting nothing to do with him, she learns that her survival in the wilderness may depend on the kindness of a stranger. Starring and directed by Robin Wright (AARP Movies for Grownups Best Actress nominee) and Demian Bichir (Winner: AARP Movies for Grownups Best Supporting Actor).

Masks are required and you must register for a seat either by calling, emailing, or going online at https://schedulesplus.com/wwtr/kiosk. There will be a limit of 10 people for the time slot. No walk-ins.

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

Daily Bread for 5.8.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 58. Sunrise is 5:38 AM and sunset 8:04 PM, for 14h 25m 50s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 9.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, the German Instrument of Surrender signed at Reims comes into effect.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Ben Tractenberg writes of Fighting the Last Free Speech War:

As legal scholar Heidi Kitrosser put it in a 2017 article in the Minnesota Law Review, there has been “tremendous imprecision” in the campus speech debate. “Many commentators,” she explained, “decry political correctness as a threat to free speech but leave unclear whether, by political correctness, they mean campus speech codes, informal social pressures, or something else.”

In other words, the incidents often cited as evidence of the “free-speech crisis” usually don’t involve censorship of speech. In fact, when it comes to actual censorship, today there is little appetite or support for it on either the left or the right. Thus, a recent National Review piece allowed that campus activists on the left no longer “disinvite” speakers with whom they disagree—but accomplish the same thing by not inviting them in the first place.

In The Big Lebowski, the Dude cuts to the chase: It’s “not a First Amendment thing, man.” If you express your ideas and people respond by laughing at you or even calling you a racist, they may be rude or unkind—but no one has trampled on your rights.

Alla Katsnelson reports A Novel Effort to See How Poverty Affects Young Brains:

It’s well established that growing up in poverty correlates with disparities in educational achievement, health and employment. But an emerging branch of neuroscience asks how poverty affects the developing brain.

Over the past 15 years, dozens of studies have found that children raised in meager circumstances have subtle brain differences compared with children from families of higher means. On average, the surface area of the brain’s outer layer of cells is smaller, especially in areas relating to language and impulse control, as is the volume of a structure called the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and memory.

These differences don’t reflect inherited or inborn traits, research suggests, but rather the circumstances in which the children grew up. Researchers have speculated that specific aspects of poverty — subpar nutrition, elevated stress levels, low-quality education — might influence brain and cognitive development. But almost all the work to date is correlational. And although those factors may be at play to various degrees for different families, poverty is their common root. A continuing study called Baby’s First Years, started in 2018, aims to determine whether reducing poverty can itself promote healthy brain development.

“None of us thinks income is the only answer,” said Dr. Kimberly Noble, a neuroscientist and pediatrician at Teachers College, Columbia University, who is co-leading the work. “But with Baby’s First Years, we are moving past correlation to test whether reducing poverty directly causes changes in children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development.”

Dr. Noble and her collaborators are examining the effects of giving poor families cash payments in amounts that wound up being comparable to those the Biden administration will distribute as part of an expanded child tax credit.

Cat carried away from Scottish polling station:

Adding the Amounts Spent for Foxconn (So Far)

Wisconsin’s new deal with Foxconn will reduce the cost to state taxpayers, but local governments have already spent vast sums on a project that will not – by Foxconn’s own belated admission – come close to what was originally, and ludicrously, promised.

Bruce Murphy writes of The True Costs of New Foxconn Deal:

the true cost to taxpayers for this deal includes all the upfront costs already incurred under Walker’s plan, which are $681 million. That makes a total cost of $761 million for 1,454 jobs, or more than $523,000 per job.

That’s an astounding per-job cost. Until signing the Foxconn deal the most expensive deal Walker had done gave a subsidy of $54,545 per job to the German candy manufacturer Haribo, while the most expensive subsidy given by his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, was $35,000 per job to Mercury Marine, as Urban Milwaukee reported.

….

But that’s only based on current spending on Foxconn. Mount Pleasant and Racine County have promised to spend another $552 million on the Foxconn project, which would greatly increase the cost per job. It’s a safe bet local officials will try to cut back the planned spending and/or renegotiate the deal, but unclear at this point how much lower the costs will be.

(Emphasis added.)

Previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & FraudFoxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition,  Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re StupidLost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap, Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4, Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation DiscussionAmerica’s Best Know Better, Despite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still Empty, Right on Schedule – A Foxconn Delay, Foxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed Them, Foxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair, It Shouldn’t, Foxconn: Wrecking Ordinary Lives for Nothing, Hey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?, Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!, Foxconn: First In, Now Out, Foxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean no, Foxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of Smoke, Foxconn: Worse Than Nothing, Foxconn: State of Wisconsin Demands Accountability, Foreign Corporation Stalls, Foxconn Notices the NoticeableJournal Sentinel’s Rick Romell Reports the Obvious about Foxconn Project, Foxconn’s ‘Innovation’ Centers: Still Empty a Year Later, Foxconn & UW-Madison: Two Years and Less Than One Percent Later…, Accountability Comes Calling at Foxconn, Highlight’s from The Verge’s Foxconn AssessmentAfter Years of Promises, Foxconn Will Think of Something…by JulyFoxconn’s Venture Capital FundNew, More Realistic Deal Means 90% Reduction in Goals, and Seth Meyers on One of Trump’s (and Walker’s) Biggest Scams, Seth Meyers on One of Trump’s (and Walker’s) Biggest Scams, the Foxconn Deal.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 5.7.21

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 56. Sunrise is 5:39 AM and sunset 8:03 PM, for 14h 23m 33s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 16.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1920, Soviet Russia recognizes the independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia only to invade the country six months later.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Nathalie Baptiste reports The Wave of GOP Anti-Protest Bills Will Criminalize Protesters—and Sabotage Police Reform, Too:

In the wake of the widespread George Floyd protests last year, Republican lawmakers across the country flooded the zone with so-called anti-riot bills. Last month, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the draconian “Combating Public Disorder” measure that expands the definition of riot to mean a “violent public disturbance involving 3 or more people,” increases the penalty for participating in a riot, and gives police the discretion to decide what a riot is—and isn’t.

“The criminal aspects of this bill are already illegal,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said. “[It] protects no one, makes no one safer, and does nothing to make people’s lives better. It’s simply to appease the Governor’s delusion of widespread lawlessness.”

Despite being criticized for extremism, dozens of Republican-dominated states like Ohio and Arizona have similar measures succeeding in state legislatures and on their ways to become laws. “I think you’re going to see other states sort of picking up the ideas as well, so yeah, this is a real victory for him,” Florida State University Professor Carol Weissert told an NBC affiliate.

 Bruce Vielmetti reports Lawsuit alleges cheese fraud in Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks:

An Elroy woman has sued food giant Kraft Heinz, saying the packaging of its Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks amounts to fraud.

Kaitlyn Huber’s federal lawsuit, filed over the weekend in Madison, says a box featuring the Real Dairy seal, and the large type announcing mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, are “false, deceptive and misleading.”

The suit, which seeks class-action status on behalf of anyone who bought the bites in Wisconsin, asks the court to make Kraft Heinz correct its packaging and for unspecified damages.

“Wisconsin consumers want real mozzarella cheese in pizza because they value (1) its soft, moist texture, (2) its milky, yet tangy taste and (3) its high protein and relatively low calories and sodium compared to other cheeses,” the suit states.

The suggestion that Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks are made with tomato sauce is also bogus, according to Huber’s suit.

“Reasonable Wisconsin consumers expect a product claiming to contain ‘Tomato Sauce’ will contain only tomato ingredients and seasonings instead of thickeners like cornstarch and methylcellulose,” it reads.

Huber’s lawsuit claims Wisconsin and federal regulations require any purported mozzarella that contains added food starch — in place of milk — to be labeled as imitation mozzarella cheese.

Traffic: This 100-Year Failure Is Getting a Solution:

Daily Bread for 5.6.21

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered showers with a high of 61. Sunrise is 5:40 AM and sunset 8:01 PM, for 14h 21m 12s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 24.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Landmarks Commission meets via audiovisual conferencing at 3:30 PM, the Alcohol Licensing Committee meets via audiovisual conferencing at 4:45 PM, and the Community Development Authority via audiovisual conferencing at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Alec MacGillis reports Kushner Companies Violated Multiple Laws in Massive Tenant Dispute, Judge Rules:

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh brought the consumer-protection case against Westminster Management, the property-management arm of Kushner Companies, in 2019 following a 2017 article by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine on the company’s treatment of its tenants at the 15 housing complexes it owned in the Baltimore area, which have served as profitable ballast for a company better known for its gleaming properties in New York. The article revealed the company’s aggressive pursuit of current and former tenants in court over unpaid rent and broken leases, even in cases where tenants were in the right, as well as the shoddy conditions of many units.

To build its case, the attorney general’s office subpoenaed records from the company and solicited testimony from current and former tenants, who provided it via remote video link to Administrative Law Judge Emily Daneker late last year.

In her 252-page ruling last week, which was first reported by the Baltimore Sun, Daneker determined that the company had issued a relentless barrage of questionable fees on tenants over the course of many years, including both the fees identified in the 2017 article and others as well. In more than 15,000 instances, Westminster charged in excess of the state-maximum $25 fee to process a rental application. In more than 28,000 instances, the company also assessed a $12 “agent fee” on court filings against tenants even though it had incurred no such cost with the courts — a tactic that Daneker called “spurious” and which brought the company more than $332,000 in fees. And in more than 2,600 instances, the Kushner operation assessed $80 court fees to tenants at its two complexes within the city of Baltimore, even though the charge from the courts was only $50. “The practice of passing court costs on to tenants, in the absence of a court order,” Daneker wrote, “was deceptive.”

The manifold fees suggested a deliberate strategy to run up tenants’ tabs, Daneker wrote, repeatedly calling the practices “widespread and numerous.” She concluded that “these circumstances do not support a finding that this was the result of isolated or inadvertent mistakes.”

 Christina Lieffring reports The Price of Vaccine Hesitancy: More Than 1,000 Wasted Doses a Week in Wisconsin:

Demand has dropped off so sharply that 1,000 to 2,000 doses are being wasted per week, Wisconsin’s No. 2 health official said Tuesday. Vials of vaccine contain multiple doses that must be used within hours of the vial being opened.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy DHS secretary, said that her department had anticipated a slowdown once “the people who were most eager or most anxious, or most committed to getting vaccines largely have been able to secure a vaccine.” But she did not anticipate how quick the drop-off would be.

“I would call it a pretty precipitous drop in demand,” Willems Van Dijk said. “When the vaccine supply started to stabilize and we opened up to larger and larger populations, people were very quickly able to get doses. And then very quickly we saw a demand dropoff here in Wisconsin, as we have seen in other places.”

Starship SN15 High-Altitude Flight Test:

Video set to play at 10 seconds before liftoff; successful landing begins at 12:00 mark.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 5.5.21

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 63. Sunrise is 5:42 AM and sunset 8:00 PM, for 14h 18m 52s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 33.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

There will be a joint meeting of the Whitewater Planning Commission, Common Council, and Community Development Authority via audiovisual conferencing at 6 PM, followed by an audiovisual meeting of the Whitewater Common Council.

On this day in 1862, troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza halt a French invasion in the Battle of Puebla in Mexico.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Michael S. Schmidt reports Judge Says Barr Misled on How His Justice Dept. Viewed Trump’s Actions:

A federal judge in Washington accused the Justice Department under Attorney General William P. Barr of misleading her and Congress about advice he had received from top department officials on whether President Donald J. Trump should have been charged with obstructing the Russia investigation and ordered that a related memo be released.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court in Washington said in a ruling late Monday that the Justice Department’s obfuscation appeared to be part of a pattern in which top officials like Mr. Barr were untruthful to Congress and the public about the investigation.

The department had argued that the memo was exempt from public records laws because it consisted of private advice from lawyers whom Mr. Barr had relied on to make the call on prosecuting Mr. Trump. But Judge Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011, ruled that the memo contained strategic advice, and that Mr. Barr and his aides already understood what his decision would be.

“The fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given,” Judge Jackson wrote of Mr. Trump.

She also singled out Mr. Barr for how he had spun the investigation’s findings in a letter summarizing the 448-page report before it was released, which allowed Mr. Trump to claim he had been exonerated.

“The attorney general’s characterization of what he’d hardly had time to skim, much less study closely, prompted an immediate reaction, as politicians and pundits took to their microphones and Twitter feeds to decry what they feared was an attempt to hide the ball,” Judge Jackson wrote.

Her rebuke shed new light on Mr. Barr’s decision not to prosecute Mr. Trump. She also wrote that although the department portrayed the advice memo as a legal document protected by attorney-client privilege, it was done in concert with Mr. Barr’s publicly released summary, “written by the very same people at the very same time.”

 Dan Diamond reports The coronavirus vaccine skeptics who changed their minds:

Kim Simmons, a 61-year-old small-business owner in Illinois, vividly remembers the moment she went from vaccine skeptic to vaccine-ready: watching a Johns Hopkins University doctor on C-SPAN make the case for why the shots are safe.

For Lauren Bergner, a 39-year-old homemaker in New Jersey, it was when she realized it would make it easier for her family to attend New York Yankees games, after the team announced fans would need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test or that they had been vaccinated.

And for Elizabeth Greenaway, a 34-year-old communications consultant in Pennsylvania, it was the sudden fear that if she got sick, she wasn’t sure who would take care of her 2-year-old daughter, who has a rare health condition.

“Thinking about herd immunity, thinking about my daughter, thinking about all of that, I just realized — it’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself,” said Greenaway, who’s had to cut back on work to care for her daughter.

Space-aged wine could sell for $1 million after spending 14 months on International Space Station:

Daily Bread for 5.4.21

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 61. Sunrise is 5:43 AM and sunset 7:59 PM, for 14h 16m 29s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 43.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1814, Napoleon arrives at Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his (first) exile.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Elliot Hughes reports Two more Wisconsin men — one of them a National Guard member — charged with entering U.S. Capitol during Jan. 6 riot:

Two more Wisconsin men — one of them a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard — were charged Monday in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

According to federal court documents, the men drove from the Madison area to Washington in January and entered the U.S. Capitol during the storming of the building.

Brandon Nelson and Abram Markofski, the Guard member, both admitted entering the building after attending then-President Donald Trump’s rally south of the White House earlier in the day, according to a criminal complaint.

The two have been charged with entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, violent entry, and parading or demonstrating in a Capitol building.

They are at least the fourth and fifth Wisconsin residents — among more than 400 nationwide — charged in connection with the Jan. 6 raid on the Capitol.

 Haley BeMiller reports Radisson gunman threatened former boss before deadly shooting but allowed by court to possess firearms:

ASHWAUBENON – A gunman who killed two people and injured a third at Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar was under a restraining order, but still allowed to possess firearms, after he threatened his former boss.

Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said Monday that Bruce K. Pofahl shot and killed Ian J. Simpson, 32, and Jacob T. Bartel, 35, and seriously injured 28-year-old Danny Mulligan in an attack Saturday that began at the restaurant inside the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. The hotel is attached to the Oneida Casino in Ashwaubenon.

Police shot and killed the 62-year-old gunman outside the building.

Pofahl was fired from his job as the restaurant’s food and beverage manager earlier this year, Delain said. He was not allowed to be on the property.

 Tom Humburger reports U.S. trustee opposes NRA bankruptcy petition in blow to gun rights group:

The recommendation bolstered the arguments of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), whose office has fought the NRA’s attempts to relocate from New York to Texas, and came after senior NRA executives acknowledged in court testimony that they received lavish perks.

Linda Lambert, a lawyer with the U.S. trustee’s office — which participates in bankruptcy cases to protect taxpayer interests and enforce bankruptcy laws — told the court that the evidence presented in the hearing showed that the nonprofit organization lacked proper oversight and that personal expenses were masked as business costs.

Adam Levitin, a bankruptcy expert at the Georgetown University Law Center, said the position of the trustee — a Justice Department official who typically remains neutral in a bankruptcy proceeding — does not bode well for the NRA.

“I don’t see how the NRA pulls off a win here,” he said, adding: “I think it’s pretty clear that the NRA loses. The real question is what the remedy will be.”

 Apple Faces Landmark App Store Lawsuit:

Daily Bread for 5.3.21

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see scattered showers and a thunderstorm with a high of 71. Sunrise is 5:44 AM and sunset 7:58 PM, for 14h 14m 03s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 53.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1952, Lieutenant Colonels Joseph O. Fletcher and William P. Benedict of the United States land a plane at the North Pole.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Hope Kirwan reports Wisconsin County Fairs Gearing Up To Return This Summer:

With the Wisconsin State Fair returning this summer, county fairs around the state are also gearing up to return to in-person events this year.

Tom Barnett is coordinator of the Oneida County Fair. His county was one of many that decided to cancel its fair last year due to concerns about COVID-19. But Barnett said they decided at the start of this year that they would be bringing back the fair no matter what in 2021.

“We were counting on the vaccine to come out and people feeling more comfortable,” Barnett said. “So we decided way back then that one way or another … that we were going to have a fair.”

 Ashley Parker and Marianna Sotomayor report For Republicans, fealty to Trump’s election falsehood becomes defining loyalty test:

Debra Ell, a Republican organizer in Michigan and fervent supporter of former president Donald Trump, said she has good reason to believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

“I think I speak for many people in that Trump has never actually been wrong, and so we’ve learned to trust when he says something, that he’s not just going to spew something out there that’s wrong and not verified,” she said, referring to Trump’s baseless claims that widespread electoral fraud caused his loss to President Biden in November.

In fact, there is no evidence to support Trump’s false assertions, which culminated in a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. But Ell, a Republican precinct delegate in her state, said the 2020 election is one of the reasons she’s working to censure and remove Jason Cabel Roe from his role as the Michigan Republican Party’s executive director — specifically that Roe accepted the 2020 results, telling Politico that “the election wasn’t stolen” and that “there is no one to blame but Trump.”

 Michael Levenson reports Newsmax Apologizes for False Claims of Vote-Rigging by a Dominion Employee:

The conservative news outlet Newsmax formally apologized on Friday for spreading baseless allegations that an employee of Dominion Voting Systems had rigged voting machines in an effort to sink President Donald J. Trump’s bid for re-election last year.

In a statement posted on its website, Newsmax acknowledged that it had found “no evidence” for the conspiracy theories advanced by Mr. Trump’s lawyers, supporters and others that the employee, Eric Coomer, had manipulated Dominion voting machines, voting software and the final vote counts in the election.

“On behalf of Newsmax, we would like to apologize for any harm that our reporting of the allegations against Dr. Coomer may have caused to Dr. Coomer and his family,” the statement said.

London Zoo welcomes new Asiatic lioness:

Daily Bread for 5.2.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 84. Sunrise is 5:45 AM and sunset 7:57 PM, for 14h 11m 38s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 64.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, the US 82nd Airborne Division liberates Wöbbelin concentration camp finding 1000 dead prisoners, most of whom starved to death.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris, and Tom Hamburger correct and update an earlier Washington Post story in FBI was aware prominent Americans, including Giuliani, were targeted by Russian influence operation:

Correction: An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation. That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings.

The FBI became aware in late 2019 that Rudolph W. Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage President Biden politically ahead of last year’s election, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials planned to warn Giuliani as part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive.

Following the Washington Post story, Riley Vetterkind reports Sen. Ron Johnson admits that he was warned he was the target of Russian disinformation:

But Johnson, who confirmed to The Washington Post this week he received such a warning, said he disregarded it due to a lack of evidence provided by intelligence officials.

“Regarding reports that I received an FBI briefing warning me that I was a target of Russian disinformation, I can confirm I received such a briefing in August of 2020,” Johnson said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I asked the briefers what specific evidence they had regarding this warning, and they could not provide me anything other than the generalized warning. Without specific information, I felt the briefing was completely useless and unnecessary (since I was fully aware of the dangers of Russian disinformation).

“Because there was no substance to the briefing, and because it followed the production and leaking of a false intelligence product by Democrat leaders, I suspected that the briefing was being given to be used at some future date for the purpose that it is now being used: to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings.”

(At this site, commenter Joe previously highlighted Johnson’s reported role, and now Johnson admits to it all, but Johnson contends that he saw through the Russian disinformation and is now somehow also the victim of FBI disinformation that he expected. Holy cow, that’s embarrassing. Johnson wants people to believe that he was smarter than the Russians and the FBI.  If so smart, why did Johnson expect the FBI to leak information of a warning and do nothing for months to preempt the FBI leak that was sure to make him took like a dupe? That’s… not so smart.)

SpaceX returns astronauts to Earth in rare night-time splashdown:

Daily Bread for 5.1.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 83. Sunrise is 5:47 AM and sunset 7:56 PM, for 14h 09m 10s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 74.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1898, at the Battle of Manila Bay, the Asiatic Squadron of the United States Navy destroys the Pacific Squadron of the Spanish Navy after a seven-hour battle.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Danielle Kaeding reports Enbridge Could Face Millions In Penalties For Failing To Report Spill In Fort Atkinson:

Canadian firm Enbridge, Inc. could face millions of dollars in fines after the company failed to report a leak on one of its oil pipelines in Jefferson County for more than a year.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is alleging Enbridge violated Wisconsin’s spills law for not promptly reporting a release that occurred on its Line 13 pipeline April 26, 2019, in Fort Atkinson. The 20-inch pipeline runs from Manhattan, Illinois, through Wisconsin to Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta.

State law requires entities to immediately report discharges of hazardous substances by calling the DNR’s 24-hour hotline.

“Enbridge failed to report the hazardous substance discharge to the department until July 31, 2020,” wrote the agency in an April 27 letter.

Up to 1,386 gallons of diluent liquids leaked from the pipeline, contaminating groundwater and soil in the area. Enbridge said the substance is similar to camping fuel and is used to thin out heavy crude oil carried through the company’s pipelines.

Marc Fisher reports From memes to race war: How extremists use popular culture to lure recruits

The far-right groups that blossomed during Donald Trump’s presidency — including white supremacists, self-styled militias and purveyors of anti-government conspiracy theories — have created enduring communities by soft-pedaling their political goals and focusing on entertaining potential recruits with the tools of pop culture, according to current and former members of the groups and those who study the new extremism.

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“All these people who stormed the Capitol and later said, ‘What did I do wrong? I didn’t think it was illegal’ — they want what we all want: belonging, friendship, cultural meaning,” said Robert Futrell, a sociologist at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas who studies white-power movements. “We gloss over that too often, but in any movement, there’s a festival atmosphere. They gain a feeling of power from being surreptitiously connected through things they enjoy, like music. This is much more complex than just an ideological movement.”

Before conspiracy theories take root, before people decide to break the law because they think society is somehow rigged against them, there is first a bonding process, a creation of connection and camaraderie that encourages members to believe they will now be privy to answers that outsiders cannot know or understand.

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“The pandemic has meant people have more time, more attention span,” Futrell said, “and that time is clearly being directed into extremist spaces. The appeal of a video like ‘The Last Battle’ is that it’s all emotion. At first, they’re pro-Trump images, juxtaposed against a Biden dystopia. But by the end of the five minutes, it conveys a sense of White genocide. Arm up and train up and have babies, it says, or the White way of life is gone.”

 Ingenuity sees Perseverance, 3 rockets launch (in 2-hour span) & more:

The Ingenuity helicopter captured imagery of the Perseverance rover on Mars during its 3rd flight. In the span of 2 hours, China launched a new space station module, SpaceX launched a new batch of Starlink satellites and an Arianespace Vega rocket returned to flight. Also, SpaceX’s Starship SN15 was seen being prepared for flight and a zoom-in of ‘campfires’ on the sun was released.