Daily Bread for 5.18.22: Tuesday’s Whitewater Common Council Session

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will see occasional thundershowers with a high of 62.  Sunrise is 5:28 AM and sunset 8:14 PM for 14h 46m 25s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 92.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1756, the Seven Years’ War begins when Great Britain declares war on France.

Whitewater’s Common Council met in a brief session last night. It was not only a short meeting, but also one without controversial agenda items.

There are limits, more evident than ever, to this local muncipal government’s ability to shape community life. See from 2021 The Limits of Local Politics: ‘local public (or powerful private) institutions have a limited power of action (with harmful actions likely to be more immediate than helpful ones).’ Whitewater’s challenges outstrip the ability of local government to achieve significant socio-economic uplift for residents.

Old Whitewater much believed in the booster’s motto that if local public money built something, meaningful gains would come. They haven’t.

This meeting shows, yet again, that (as with a lakes restoration plan that was millions short of received bids) received bids for a lift station were millions higher than local government’s estimates. See Video beginning at @ 08:25.

The 5.17.22 session, while brief, was more orderly than most others over the preceding two years. Order in meetings is, however, only a preliminary to effective oversight. The proper goal, if realized, would be an elected body effective in its oversight of city hall.

Sweden and Finland formally apply to join Nato: ‘A historic step’:

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.18.22: Tuesday’s Whitewater Common Council Session”

Daily Bread for 5.17.22: WISGOP Whining About the Next Chancellor of UW-Madison

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 74.  Sunrise is 5:29 AM and sunset 8:13 PM for 14h 44m 29s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 97.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee meets at 9 AM and Whitewater’s Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1973, the televised Watergate hearings begin in the United States Senate.

Yesterday the UW System Board of Regents unanimously selected Dr. Jennifer Mnookin as the next chancellor for UW-Madison. She’s eminently qualified:

Mnookin has been dean of the UCLA School of Law since 2015 and began work at UCLA as a professor in 2005. She was a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law prior to that, and was a visiting professor at the Harvard University Law School for a year.

She has a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earned her law degree from Yale Law School and got her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College.

Republican leaders were, predictably and on cue, upset:

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is running for governor, said she was infuriated by the hire.

“Decisions like this from the Board of Regents make Wisconsin moms and dads consider sending their kids out of state where they can get an honest education,” said Kleefisch, whose daughter attends a private college in Texas. “This ridiculous mindset demonstrates why we need to drain the Madison swamp — to get away from this crazy groupthink.”

Kevin Nicholson, another GOP candidate for governor, called the board’s decision “insane.”

I’ve been a critic of more than one UW System decision, but the rending of garments over Mnookin’s selection is overwrought. For a faction that describes itself as defending common sense, these Republicans are dependably emotional, if not hysterical, about university life.

Kevin Nicholson’s simple (and simple-minded) criticism, that the regents’ decision is ‘insane,’ brings to mind nothing so much as an old 1970s television commercial:

Russia’s Attacks on Ukrainian Hospitals Show a ‘Murderous Pattern’:

On Feb. 24, the first day of the war in Ukraine, a Russian attack on a hospital in the eastern city of Vuhledar killed four people and wounded 10 others. The next day, elsewhere in Ukraine, a cancer center and a children’s hospital were hit.

And the attacks on the nation’s health care infrastructure kept coming, at a rate of at least two a day, by some counts — hospitals, clinics, maternity wards, a nursing home, an addiction treatment facility, a blood bank.

As of May 9, the Ukrainian Healthcare Center, a consultancy in Kyiv, had documented 165 cases of health care facilities damaged in the war, and the World Health Organization has identified some 200 such attacks.

In the video guest essay above, Pavlo Kovtoniuk, a co-founder of the consultancy and a former deputy health minister of Ukraine, explains that the attacks have sown psychological terror and devastated the nation’s health care system.

“It all seems cruel, inhumane and deliberate,” he says.

Whether the attacks against Ukraine’s hospitals and medical personnel amount to war crimes may eventually be a matter for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, as well as other courts and special war crimes tribunals, to decide.

But Mr. Kovtoniuk has already made up his mind.
“The evidence for potential war crimes will take years to gather,” he says. “But I don’t need to wait that long to know that what I’m seeing every day is a murderous pattern.”

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.17.22: WISGOP Whining About the Next Chancellor of UW-Madison”

Daily Bread for 5.16.22: Nativism as Intellectual Sloth

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 74.  Sunrise is 5:29 AM and sunset 8:12 PM for 14h 42m 29s of daytime.  The moon is full with 99.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

wp-svg-icons icon=”checkbox-partial” wrap=”I”] Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1868,  the United States Senate fails to convict President Andrew Johnson by one vote.

Consider Tucker Carlson’s complaint about diversity from 2018:

How, precisely, is diversity our strength? Since you’ve made this our new national motto, please be specific as you explain it. Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don’t know, marriage or military units in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are?

Do you get along better with your neighbors, your co-workers if you can’t understand each other or share no common values? Please be honest as you answer this question.

Carlson must think this appealing, but it’s repulsive in the way that sloth is repulsive. His question reveals the indolence of his nativist audience: “if you can’t understand each other” only appertains when they’ve not made an effort to understand newcomers.

America is a dynamic and productive place. If Carlson’s viewers are too shiftless to learn about other cultures, they’re below the standard of intellectual curiosity and effort America should expect of the able-bodied. We are no sleepy backwater; we are the most developed society in human history, engaging in commerce with nations across the globe.

Carlson appeals to his audience’s complacent laziness, but their complacent laziness is a drag on this society.

Tucker Carlson tells them what they want to hear; they and we would be better off if someone spoke bluntly and truthfully to them.

Super Flower Blood Moon turns red in total lunar eclipse time-lapse:

The Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse on May 15-16, 2022 was captured by the Griffith Observatory in California. See the entire eclipse in this time-lapse. The longest total lunar eclipse in 33 years, wows stargazers.

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.16.22: Nativism as Intellectual Sloth”

Daily Bread for 5.15.22: Replacement Theory Brings Tragedy (And Not for the First Time)

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 72.  Sunrise is 5:30 AM and sunset 8:11 PM for 14h 40m 28s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1911, in Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, the United States Supreme Court declares Standard Oil to be an unreasonable monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and orders the company to be broken up.

One reads that The gunman in the Buffalo mass shooting was motivated by racism:

BUFFALO — A teenage gunman espousing a white supremacist ideology known as replacement theory opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday, methodically shooting and killing 10 people and injuring three more, almost all of them Black, in one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent American history.

The authorities identified the gunman as 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, a small town in New York’s rural Southern Tier. Mr. Gendron drove more than 200 miles to mount his attack, which he also live streamed, the police said, a chilling video feed that appeared designed to promote his sinister agenda.

Shortly after Mr. Gendron was captured, a manifesto believed to have been posted online by the gunman emerged, riddled with racist, anti-immigrant views that claimed white Americans were at risk of being replaced by people of color. In the video that appeared to have been captured by the camera affixed to his helmet, an anti-Black racial slur can be seen on the barrel of his weapon.

And yet, and yet, after repeated incidents, it’s still hard for some to identify the sources of these screeds.

Where Replacement Theory was once spoken only on the fringes of society, in a lumpen subculture, Tucker Carlson has brought it to a broader audience:

One needn’t look far away to VDARE, Taki’s Mag, or the fetid Daily Stormer for concern about a ‘great replacement.’ It’s much closer now, on every screen that displays Fox News.

The Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse of 2022 occurs tonight. Here’s what to expect:



















Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.15.22: Replacement Theory Brings Tragedy (And Not for the First Time)”

Daily Bread for 5.14.22: Convicted Murderer Douglas Balsewicz Is Unworthy of Parole

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 83.  Sunrise is 5:31 AM and sunset 8:10 PM for 14h 38m 24s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1953, Milwaukee brewery workers go on strike:

Milwaukee brewery workers begin a 10-week strike, demanding contracts comparable to those of East and West coast workers. The strike was won when Blatz Brewery accepted their demands, but Blatz was ousted from the Brewers Association for “unethical” business methods as a result. The following year Schlitz president Erwin C. Uihlein told guests at Schlitz’ annual Christmas party that “Irreparable harm was done to the Milwaukee brewery industry during the 76-day strike of 1953, and unemployed brewery workers must endure ‘continued suffering’ before the prestige of Milwaukee beer is re-established on the world market.”

Oh, brother: ‘irreparable harm’ and ‘continued suffering.’ Considering history since 1953, supposed irreparable harm from a mere brewery strike would count as a national blessing today…

Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond report Wisconsin chairman rescinds killer’s parole at Evers request:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Parole Commission’s leader agreed Friday to rescind a convicted murderer’s parole at Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ request after the governor came under criticism from rival Republicans looking to unseat him in November.

Evers sent a letter Friday to John Tate, the commission’s chairman, asking him to reconsider 54-year-old Douglas Balsewicz’s parole. He was set to be released from prison as soon as Tuesday after serving less than 25 years of his 80-year sentence for the 1997 stabbing death of his wife, Johanna Balsewicz. Evers lacks the power to rescind an convict’s parole on his own.

Evers met with Johanna Balsewicz’s family in the Capitol before sending the letter. The governor wrote that the family hadn’t gotten a chance to fully respond to the move.

“I do not agree with this decision, and I have considerable concerns regarding whether Johanna’s family was afforded sufficient opportunity to voice their memories, perspectives, and concerns before this decision was made,” Evers wrote.

Tate, an Evers appointee, later said in an email to The Associated Press and the Department of Corrections that he understands the governor’s concerns about the lack of victim input and that he was rescinding Douglas Balsewicz’s parole.

Earlier in the week, Tate told the Racine Journal Times that it was extremely unlikely Balsewicz’s parole would be revoked at this point unless he did something to warrant it. Tate, who is president of the Racine City Council, said rescinding Balsewicz’s parole would likely lead to a lawsuit that the state would lose. Tate didn’t immediately respond to an email from the AP Friday evening.

The crime: a husband stabbed his wife over forty times leading to her death in front of their daughter, for which the husband was lawfully convicted and sentenced to 80 years in prison. Parole almost 50 years before the end of the sentence amounts to unjustified leniency. A well-ordered society has a duty to confine the violent away from others, both as punishment and deterrent. Those lawfully convicted of violent crimes are yet able to live their lives in a confined setting. Douglas Balsewicz’s crime justified his sentence.

Tate’s concern about a possible lawsuit is expediency over principle. The right course here would have been to reject a parole request, after it was made, and then defend the denial of parole should there have followed a lawsuit from the murderous defendant. Win or lose that suit, at least Tate would have stood on principle. As it is, Parole Commission Chairman Tate made the wrong decision, tried to defend that wrong decision, and compelled Gov. Evers to urge reconsideration. If Tate had acted on principle (the general principle that violent killers should serve their sentences away from society), then the victim’s family would not have had to endure additional hardship, and there would have been no need for Evers to seek reversal of a bad decision.

Czechs open world’s longest suspension footbridge:

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.14.22: Convicted Murderer Douglas Balsewicz Is Unworthy of Parole”

Daily Bread for 5.13.22: Pyromaniac Complains About Smoke Inhalation

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 88.  Sunrise is 5:33 AM and sunset 8:09 PM for 14h 36m 19s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 90.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1862, the USS Planter, a steamer and gunship, steals through Confederate lines and is passed to the Union, by a southern slave, Robert Smalls, who later was officially appointed as captain, becoming the first black man to command a United States ship.

Molly Beck reports Robin Vos on facing attacks from his own party: ‘A sad statement about politics today’:

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has suggested the Assembly Republican caucus should fire Vos, despite receiving his endorsement. Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson has spent months calling him a failure. State Rep. Tim Ramthun wants the speaker prosecuted. And construction executive Tim Michels said Vos needed “training.”

Vos’ crime? Not doing more about Trump’s loss, including by taking the impossible and illegal step of decertifying the 2020 election.


“The fact that people need to use me as a punching bag to make themselves look better. I think it’s kind of a sad statement about politics today. I think people should be running on their own ideas.”

See Vos, Now on the Trumpists’ Menu, Deserves No Sympathy, Shreddin’ and Deletin’ Vos, and Vos Primly Lectures Fanatics on the Dangers of Fanaticism.

Milky Way’s Black Hole imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope:

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.13.22: Pyromaniac Complains About Smoke Inhalation”

Daily Bread for 5.12.22: The Populists’ Politics Devours Their Ostensible Faith

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 90.  Sunrise is 5:34 AM and sunset 8:08 PM for 14h 34m 11s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 83.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1949, the Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.

Tim Alberta, an evangelical Christian, writes How Politics Poisoned the Evangelical Church (‘The movement spent 40 years at war with secular America. Now it’s at war with itself):

“Before I turn to the Word,” the preacher announces, “I’m gonna do another diatribe.”

“Go on!” one man yells. “Amen!” shouts a woman several pews in front of me.

Between 40 minutes of praise music and 40 minutes of preaching is the strangest ritual I’ve ever witnessed inside a house of worship. Pastor Bill Bolin calls it his “diatribe.” The congregants at FloodGate Church, in Brighton, Michigan, call it something else: “Headline News.”

Bolin, in his mid-60s, is a gregarious man with thick jowls and a thinning wave of dyed hair. His floral shirt is untucked over dark-blue jeans. “On the vaccines …” he begins.

For the next 15 minutes, Bolin does not mention the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, or the life everlasting. Instead, he spouts misinformation and conspiratorial nonsense, much of it related to the “radically dangerous” COVID-19 vaccines. “A local nurse who attends FloodGate, who is anonymous at this time—she reported to my wife the other day that at her hospital, they have two COVID patients that are hospitalized. Two.” Bolin pauses dramatically. “They have 103 vaccine-complication patients.” The crowd gasps.

“How about this one?” Bolin says. He tells of a doctor who claims to know that “between 100 and 200 United States Congress members, plus many of their staffers and family members with COVID, were treated by a colleague of his over the past 15 months … with …” Bolin stops and puts a hand to his ear. A chorus of people responds: “Ivermectin.” Bolin pretends not to hear. “What was that?” he says, leaning over the lectern. This time, they shout: “Ivermectin!” Bolin nods.

This isn’t my first time at FloodGate, so none of what Bolin says shocks me. Yet I’m still struggling to make sense of the place.

Having grown up just down the road, the son of the senior pastor at another church in town, I’ve spent my life watching evangelicalism morph from a spiritual disposition into a political identity. It’s heartbreaking. So many people who love the Lord, who give their time and money to the poor and the mourning and the persecuted, have been reduced to a caricature. But I understand why. Evangelicals—including my own father—became compulsively political, allowing specific ethical arguments to snowball into full-blown partisan advocacy, often in ways that distracted from their mission of evangelizing for Christ. To his credit, even when my dad would lean hard into a political debate, he was careful to remind his church of the appropriate Christian perspective. “God doesn’t bite his fingernails over any of this,” he would say around election time. “Neither should you.”

Now, I am a mainline Protestant (with Catholic relatives), and not a conservative evangelical. Alberta’s account, however, is unfortunately commonplace. Too many conservative populists are quick to declare that they’re for GOD, GUNS, and TRUMP, without seeing how close to a traditional heresy that is.

While these populists often insist that others are soft, or weak, or insufficiently devoted, in the case Alberta recounts it is these congregants who are left without a sound moral formation, and perhaps an adequate general formation.

They are quick to exercise their right to criticize other religious or political views, but even quicker to take umbrage (what, what? what!) when someone suggests they might read more, or think more, before speaking or writing. (A perpetual embarrassment to America: the native born who defend in their nativism while revealing their inability to speak, read, and write in standard English. I don’t believe in adopting a national language — America is beautiful in any tongue — but those born here might take a bit more time to express their views with proper grammar and usage.)

Saying as much as infuriates the populists, and they owe a good part of their success to fits, tantrums, and threats that intimidate others. In small towns that are meant to be congenial and comfortable places, the populists advance by crude intimidation. See (Local) Fear of a Red Hat.

One can’t answer for others, except to note that if someone is a true believer in religion, politics, art, philosophy, etc., then one grasps that the principles from those beliefs should, if believed, govern one’s actions. Those who believe in free will can nonetheless acknowledge without contradiction that principle determines — indeed, compels — action even in the face of opposition or risk.

Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe Portrait Sells for Millions:

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.12.22: The Populists’ Politics Devours Their Ostensible Faith”

Daily Bread for 5.11.22: The Neediness of Conservative Populists

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 84.  Sunrise is 5:35 AM and sunset 8:07 PM for 14h 32m 00s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 74% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1997 Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.

Anthony Nadler and Doron Taussig report Conservatives’ mistrust of media is rooted in the feeling journalists want to ostracize them:

Tune in to a conservative podcast or scroll through conservative Facebook feeds and there’s a decent chance you’ll encounter the terms “mainstream media,” “liberal media,” or just “the media,” used in a tone suggesting that the audience all should know exactly who that refers to and exactly what they did wrong.

Polling shows that trust in the media among conservatives is low and dropping. Much of the American right is hostile toward the press, but there’s not much research seeking to understand why, or what it means.

Sometimes, journalists and academics view research into conservative communities as disrespectful and tinged with condescension. Other times, this research is viewed as too respectful, focusing on a group whose influence on American politics is greater than its proportional share of the population.

We understand these objections. But in studying political media, we have come to believe that the alienation of conservatives from journalism presents a problem in a society where people are supposed to govern themselves using shared information. And we view that problem as worth exploring to understand it.

So, for a research paper published by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, we and our collaborators Andrea Wenzel and Natacha Yazbeck held focus groups and conducted individual interviews (between September 2020 and May 2021) with 25 people in the greater Philadelphia region who self-identified as conservatives. Our questions focused on their perceptions of, and feelings about, coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Our interviewees expressed animosity toward the press. But they weren’t primarily upset that the media get facts wrong, or even that journalists push a liberal policy agenda. Their anger was about their deeper belief that the American press blames, shames, and ostracizes conservatives.

Well. While I’m sympathetic to the concern of Nadler and Taussig that “the alienation of conservatives from journalism presents a problem in a society where people are supposed to govern themselves using shared information,” I’ve neither sympathy nor empathy for those who complain that the private press is ostracizing them. One can be sure that many conservative populists do feel alienated, as they complain often and loudly (what, what? what! with heads shaking and hands in the air) that they’re not respected.

(Here the discussion is about private publications, not public institutions. Government has a duty to equal treatment with regard to basic rights, e.g., regardless of race, religion, gender, or orientation. For private publications, there is no similar duty, nor should there be in a free society. If the New York Times wants to ignore conservatives, so be it; if the Wall Street Journal wants to ignore the center-left, so be it.)

The proper solution for the perpetually slighted: those who feel that existing, private publications ostracize them should create their own publications.

This is how the conservative populists are different from long-standing libertarians, this libertarian blogger among them. (I’m from a libertarian family, so I would be called an ‘old’ or ‘movement’ libertarian). The populists are often, if not invariably, needy. The libertarian by contrast makes his or her own way, and states his or her own case, to the best of his or her own ability. It’s sensible and right to consider principled critiques, but that consideration is intellectual, not emotional.

(A good motto: I believe that I am right, but am open to being proved wrong.)

The contention, the claim, the declaration — they are delivered without needing approval or support from others. Individual rights don’t come from plebiscite, they inhere in the individual even when the majority disapproves.

The worry of populists of being ostracized, disrespected, or ‘canceled’ is overwrought. If they don’t like how other private institutions view them, they can create their own institutions or quit the field.

Each day requires a new effort. One begins the day humbly and diligently as a dark-horse underdog, knowing that there is more to do and learn. None of that effort should involve worry or emotional insecurity.

Looking Inside the Fed’s Monetary Policy Toolbox:

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.11.22: The Neediness of Conservative Populists”

Daily Bread for 5.10.22: A Server Robot for a Short-Staffed Restaurant

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy, with a chance of an afternoon thundershower, and a high of 88.  Sunrise is 5:36 AM and sunset 8:06 PM for 14h 29m 48s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 64.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 28 BC, Han dynasty astronomers observe a sunspot during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han, one of the earliest dated sunspot observations in China.

Natalie Yahr reports For shortstaffed BBQ spot, Servi is the droid they’re looking for:

Deployed in the West Towne Mall barbecue restaurant late last month, she may be the first robot working inside a Madison restaurant. Other food delivery robots began roaming Madison streets a year and a half ago. That’s when the University of Wisconsin-Madison rolled out a fleet of Starship Delivery robots — which my colleague Rob Thomas described as looking like “a cross between a picnic basket and a Stormtrooper” — to send takeout orders from dining halls to hungry students and faculty. 


Like many restaurants, Doc’s Smokehouse has struggled to hire enough employees following COVID-induced closures in 2020, but Jimmy Hall, general manager of the Madison location, said the robot isn’t intended to reduce the number of human workers. 

“It’s not replacing anyone. It is only reducing the amount of steps, literally and figuratively,” Hall said. Before the robot, every time a chef yelled, “Hands!” a server would rush to the kitchen to carry out the food while it’s hot, Hall said. That’s especially important for barbecue, as the meats are smoked overnight and then held in a 151-degree oven, beginning to cool down as soon as they’re removed and sliced. 

“Time is of the essence,” Hall said. “We are in a constant state of being shortstaffed … so (BBQ-1) allows us to maintain our quality control.”

If the robot can save a server 60 steps with one order, or perhaps 1,000 steps in a day, Hall said, “that’s a win for us.” He knows staff are already stretched thin, picking up more shifts than they want during the week in order to help out. The robot wasn’t his idea, but he likes it. “It’s nice to see an employer that’s willing to invest in making things easier for the people that are here,” Hall said.

Bear Robotics makes different versions of the Servi robot. They’re not suited for every establishment, as they’re pricey for smaller shops. There is, however, sure to be a growing demand for automated assistance. As the labor market changes (and technology improves) workplaces and stores will see more robots in support roles.

Giant Landslide in Alaska Caught on Camera:

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.10.22: A Server Robot for a Short-Staffed Restaurant”

Daily Bread for 5.9.22: Rest Easy, People of Waunakee!

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 77.  Sunrise is 5:37 AM and sunset 8:05 PM for 14h 27m 34s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 54.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1662, the figure who later became Mr. Punch makes his first recorded appearance in England.

Ali Swenson reports Wisconsin school district does not have ‘furry protocol’:

CLAIM: The Waunakee Community School District in a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin, has a “furry protocol” that allows students who identify as “furries” to opt out of speaking in class, sit and lick their paws during gym class and bark and growl in hallways.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The district does not have a protocol for students who identify as animals, and it does not allow disruptions at school, according to Superintendent Randy Guttenberg.

THE FACTS: A baseless rumor that students who dress up as animals are getting special treatment in a Wisconsin school district is circulating widely online this week after a conservative radio host said she’d received an email about the issue last month.

Vicki McKenna, who hosts a show on a Madison AM radio station, said on a March 17 podcast that a she received an email from a grandparent of students in the Waunakee Community School District saying the students were being told to “normalize” the behavior of classmates who preferred to dress and act like animals.

“The Furries can choose whether they want to speak in class or not,” read part of the purported email, shared onscreen in a video version of the podcast hosted by a University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, professor. “The Furrys [sic] are allowed to dress in their choice of furry costumes. The Furries can choose not to run in gym class but instead sit at the feet of their teacher and lick their paws. Barking hissing and similar animal noises are common place [sic] in the hallways at the schools.”

The claim is completely false, according to Guttenberg, who clarified in an email to The Associated Press that “the Waunakee Community School District does not have protocols for Furries, nor do we allow disruptions in our school and classrooms.”

McKenna did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

So help me God, I have no idea what I would say if something this asinine circulated in Whitewater. This small city has enough challenges.

One should, however, be compassionate: each and every person who believed this rumor should receive a free-of-charge wellness check. It’s the least society can do to assure that these addled Wisconsities don’t injure themselves while operating appliances or driving.

Emperor penguins in Antarctica monitored by robot:

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.9.22: Rest Easy, People of Waunakee!”

Daily Bread for 5.8.22: Manufacturing Panic

Good morning.

Mother’s Day in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 64.  Sunrise is 5:38 AM and sunset 8:03 PM for 14h 25m 17s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 45.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1869,  the First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, is completed at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory with a golden spike.

Trip Gabriel reports He Fuels the Right’s Cultural Fires (‘Christopher Rufo helped make critical race theory a conservative rallying cry. Now he sees L.G.B.T.Q. issues as an even more potent line of attack’):

GIG HARBOR, Wash. — Christopher Rufo appears on Fox News so often that he converted a room in his Pacific Northwest house to a television studio, complete with professional lighting, an uplink to Fox in New York and an “On Air” light in the hall so his wife and two children don’t barge in during broadcasts.

“I’ll do ‘Tucker’ and then pop out and have dinner,” Mr. Rufo said recently at his home in Gig Harbor, Wash., thousands of miles from the nation’s media and political capitals.

Mr. Rufo is the conservative activist who probably more than any other person made critical race theory a rallying cry on the right — and who has become, to some on the left, an agitator of intolerance. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a right-leaning think tank, he has emerged at the front of another explosive cultural clash, one that he sees as even more politically potent and that the left views as just as dangerous: the battle over L.G.B.T.Q. restrictions in schools.


He has acknowledged twisting hot-button racial issues to achieve his aims. “The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’” he wrote on Twitter last year.


Donald Moynihan, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University, said conservatives had falsely and intentionally linked child sex predators with opponents of the Florida law. Mr. Rufo, he said, had provided fuel for their arguments.

“This is the stock-in-trade of Rufo’s brand of activism — creating these very negative brands and then associating things that might have much more popular support with those brands to put people on the defensive,” Dr. Moynihan said. “That’s the through line you see between the C.R.T. stuff and the current ‘groomer’ effort.”

Now, this libertarian blogger is neither a member of a racial minority group nor the LGBTQ community. (On the contrary, by demographics, I am situated in more than one majority group. For it all, I am, and always will be, simply an emissary of one.) Critical to libertarian belief: those minority groups can — and in a free society must — be able to speak for themselves.

It is impossible to believe in liberty as a fundamental principle and condition and not see the threat to the individual rights of millions of Americans from book-banning and closet-confining. In communities large and small, that threat has reached the threshold of schools and city halls. Leaving aside the theological implications of the injunction (as I am in no position to send anyone anywhere), nevertheless for Rufo and his ilk the rebuke go to hell comes to mind.

(Worth noting: some of those who claimed their response to the pandemic was a battle of ‘hope’ over ‘fear’ are themselves embarrassingly overcome with fear at the mere publishing of books or the expression of individual identity.)

The question for Whitewater: if a lumpen horde gathers to destroy the lives of some of our fellow residents, falsely claiming the authority to do so, what will happen to those residents? Will city and school district officials permit the victimization of a few by the dark efforts of others? Officials who cater to the worst impulses of a mob deserve no deference while doing so; they merit only a critique more through, repeated, and effective than the bleating of any horde.

In small towns across America, people of goodwill can each play a small part, assuring that their communities remain places of individual liberty.

These French tiny homes are giving homeless people practical skills and a place to live afterwards:

Participants in the project in Brittany take part in all aspects of the construction of the mobile homes and are given the keys afterward.

Continue reading... “Daily Bread for 5.8.22: Manufacturing Panic”