Daily Bread for 7.24.24: A Slight Break in Wiconsin’s Judicial Gridlock

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 79. Sunrise is 5:39, and sunset is 8:23, for 14h 43m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 86.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1935, the Dust Bowl heat wave reaches its peak, sending temperatures to 109 °F (43 °C) in Chicago and 104 °F (40 °C) in Milwaukee.

On this day in 1969, Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

Wisconsin has had a federal court vacancy for over two years, after Sen. Ron Johnson withdrew his bipartisan support (with Sen. Tammy Baldwin) for a prior nominee, William Pocan (brother of U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan). That time having been lost, Johnson has now agreed to support a new nominee, Byron Conway:

Earlier this month, both Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin turned in what are known as “blue slips,” formalizing their support of President Joe Biden’s appointment of personal injury attorney Byron Conway to U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. That’s significant because two years ago, Johnson blocked Biden’s previous pick from the judgeship from advancing to a hearing.

Conway’s nomination is set to receive a hearing before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee in “coming weeks,” a spokesperson for the committee’s Democratic majority said Monday. The process will not be affected by Biden’s announcement on Sunday, in which he pulled out of the race for another presidential term, the spokesperson said.

Johnson’s office did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

If Conway gets an OK from the judiciary committee, his nomination will then advance to the full Senate, where he’ll need majority approval before he can become a federal judge.

That’s significant because two years ago, Johnson blocked Biden’s previous pick from the judgeship from advancing to a hearing.

Ron Johnson. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / (CC BY-SA)

There never should have been a delay, and Johnson’s claim he withdrew support from the prior nominee because of a lack of Green Bay ties (the judicial office for this judgeship is in Green Bay) is both trivial and false. It’s trivial because one correctly selects for the federal bench based on intellect, knowledge, and experience, not membership in local community groups. It’s false because Johnson’s blue-slip retraction was based not on Pocan’s abilities but on irrelevant, unrelated, or discriminatory considerations.

Judicial vacancies impede the timely administration of justice. The sooner the seat is filled, the better.

A hydrothermal explosion sent visitors running from the boardwalk as hot water and debris rained down in Yellowstone National Park:

Daily Bread for 7.23.24: Wisconsin Will Be Visited Again & Again

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see morning showers with a high of 80. Sunrise is 5:38, and sunset is 8:24, for 14h 45m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 93.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5 PM.

On this day in 1962,  Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

The Republicans had their national convention in Wisconsin, and both parties will send candidates and surrogates into Wisconsin through November. Today, for example, Kamala Harris will hold first rally of her presidential campaign in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee isn’t America’s biggest city, and Wisconsin isn’t America’s biggest state. Many larger places, however, are decidedly settled on one party and so will not be swayed. Wisconsin might pick either party and so she will receive frequent visits.

There’s a local angle for Whitewater in all this: if Wisconsin receives more attention, then some of the cities & towns in the state may receive more attention, too. We have received much notice over the last year concerning newcomers to our city. National attention on us would be an order of magnitude higher than what we’ve previously garnered if we received a visit from a central figure in either party.

I don’t know, of course, that we will receive a high-profile political visit; it’s simply the case that no one visits a place that he or she doesn’t know exists.

The major parties well know that Wisconsin, and as it turns out, Whitewater, exist.

As the Olympics near, Ukraine mourns athletes lost to war:

Daily Bread for 7.22.24: America Is a Dynamic Place

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:37, and sunset is 8:25, for 14h 47m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM. The Whitewater School Board goes into closed session shortly after 5:45 PM, and returns to open session at 7 PM.

On this day in 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act passes in the British House of Commons, initiating the gradual abolition of slavery in most parts of the British Empire.

America is a dynamic country, socially, economically, and politically. Yesterday was an excellent example of that evident truth.

Zach Beauchamp perceptively draws lessons from yesterday’s political developments:

It’s enough to make even the most jaded observer a little more optimistic about American democracy — for at least two big reasons.

First, it shows that there can still be standards in politics. 

American politics isn’t just made up of two parties, wholly owned by party elites, locked in a mortal and uncompromising struggle to the death. At least one of our parties is capable of policing its own: challenging an incumbent president and, ultimately, convincing him to step aside. The contrast with the GOP’s behavior after Trump’s many scandals — from the Access Hollywood tape to the January 6 Capitol riot — is unmistakable.

Second, Biden’s departure shows that unexpected things can still happen.

This is hard to prove, but I think so much of the polling showing public distrust in the American government is rooted in a sense that it’s stuck: that what’s happening right now isn’t working, and that no one is capable of doing anything surprising to right the ship. But a president abandoning a reelection campaign is nothing if not surprising. 
Politicians like Trump, in both the United States and elsewhere, thrive on the notion that the system is broken and nothing can be done to fix it. This is a problem not just because those specific politicians are dangerous, but because distrust rots democracy’s foundations.


This tiny solar-powered flyer weighs less than a paper plane:

Researchers have overcome efficiency and power issues to create what they believe to be the world’s lightest and smallest sunlight-powered rotorocraft.
Micro aerial vehicles or MAVs could have a host of applications from environmental monitoring to search and rescue. But currently, these tiny flying machines have a problem — endurance. MAVs that weigh less than 10 grams are normally limited to around 10 minutes of flying time.
To increase flying time, other types of propulsion have been tested, but these still require bulky power systems on the ground to take off, preventing any craft from freely flying.
One solution could be solar power. But until now no solar powered MAV has been capable of untethered sustained flight in natural sunlight.
So to solve this, researchers have developed CoulombFly, a solar-powered MAV propelled by a new extremely efficient electro-static motor and powered by incredibly light solar panels.

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: