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Daily Bread for 1.22.22: Wile E. Coyote Level Genius Rep. Elijah Behnke Calls for Election Cheating in Video

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 24.  Sunrise is 7:15 AM and sunset 4:55 PM for 9h 38m 18s of daytime.  The moon is waning gibbous with 79.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.


 Scott Bauer reports Wisconsin GOP lawmaker calls for election cheating in video:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican Wisconsin state lawmaker was recorded on video saying that Republicans need to “cheat like the Democrats” to win elections and that he’d like to punch Democratic Gov. Tony Evers over pandemic restrictions.

The video of state Rep. Elijah Behnke was posted online Thursday and circulated over Twitter late that night. The Wisconsin State Journal first reported about it Friday.

In the wide-ranging 25-minute video, which appears to have been taken secretly by visitors in Behnke’s Capitol office, he disparages Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos as a “swamp creature” and supports debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

….

Behnke, who owns a cleaning business, also described his anger over Evers’ issuing a stay at home order early in the coronavirus pandemic. Behnke said he was “praying to God” that if he ever saw Evers, “I’m going to punch him, right? So here I am, I haven’t really seen him face-to-face yet, so we’ll see if I do.”

Evers’ spokeswoman, Britt Cudaback, reacted by saying the governor “believes in doing the right thing and leading with kindness, respect, empathy and compassion. It’s a shame those Wisconsin values seem to be lost on Republicans in the Legislature.”

Imagine being this… clever? Honest to goodness…


 Additional, EXCLUSIVE video from FREE WHITEWATER of Rep. Elijah Behnke demonstrating the power of magnetism:

Daily Bread for 1.21.22: Which Least Changes?

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 19.  Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset 4:54 PM for 9h 36m 16s of daytime.  The moon is waning gibbous with 88.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1954, the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched in Groton, Connecticut by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower.


 Shawn Johnson reports Wisconsin Supreme Court justices offer hints at ‘least changes’ approach in redistricting hearing:

The state Supreme Court’s conservative majority made clear in a November ruling it wanted all the plans submitted in this case to closely follow the 2011 map, endorsing a “least changes” approach advocated by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

There’s nothing in state law or the Wisconsin Constitution that spells out precisely how to measure “least changes,” but by one metric, Evers’ plan would be best: It would move the fewest people from one state Assembly district to another.

“No matter how you slice it, the governor’s maps make the least changes,” argued Evers’ attorney Anthony Russomanno, an assistant attorney general with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

But the attorney for Republican lawmakers focused on other metrics, noting the maps submitted by the Legislature had a lower “population deviation” than the governor’s, meaning the number of constituents from district to district was closer to equal.

“Only the Legislature’s plan can be described to meet that constitutional standard,” said Taylor Meehan, an attorney representing the Legislature.

….

[Justice Brian] Hagedorn sided with the rest of the court’s conservatives in its November redistricting ruling, but on Wednesday, he questioned Meehan at length over the Legislature’s focus on population deviation, suggesting it was inconsistent with what the court had asked for.

“I’m having a hard time understanding why we would now use that standard when that isn’t what we told the parties,” Hagedorn said. “If we told the parties we wanted you to submit maps that have perfect equality population … we should have said so. But we didn’t say so. We said something quite, quite different. And I don’t want to be Charlie Brown and Lucy here.”

Other conservative justices sent distinctly different signals than Hagedorn, hinting they might favor the Legislature’s argument.

“We did emphasize the paramount importance of population equality,” said conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley.

No predictions to offer, but worth noting that the court’s embrace of the least-change position has been a 2021 conservative victory that departs from 2011 conservatives’ major-change redistricting.


 Mink v. Rat:

Daily Bread for 1.20.22: Shhh… No Public Forums for the UW System Candidates

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 11.  Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset 4:53 PM for 9h 34m 18s of daytime.  The moon is waning gibbous with 93.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1265, the first English parliament to include not only Lords but also representatives of the major towns holds its first meeting in the Palace of Westminster, now commonly known as the “Houses of Parliament.”


 Devi Shastri reports Professors surprised, disappointed by lack of public interviews for two finalists to lead UW System:

The University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents is facing some pushback after the UW System announced Friday that there would be no public interviews of the two finalists named for the role of system president.

Finalists Jay Rothman, CEO and chairman of the Milwaukee-based law firm Foley and Lardner LLC, and Jim Schmidt, chancellor of UW-Eau Claire, participated in a series of interviews Tuesday that included regents, chancellors, faculty and staff governance representatives, and UW System executive staff.

On Friday, before being publicly named, the two candidates also participated in an interview with several news organizations, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

However, as announced by Regent Vice President Karen Walsh, who chairs the search and screen committee, the two would not participate in public interviews, as has finalists have in the past.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin chapter of the American Association of University Professors issued a statement opposing the decision, suggesting that not having the candidates answer questions in a public forum was a “unforced error.”

“We call on the Board to schedule public sessions with each of the finalists. We have no doubt that the two candidates would be up to the task,” the statement reads. “And if not, that would be important for everyone to learn before the Regents make a hiring decision.”

It’s not merely university professors who should be concerned about this selection process. Those many of us who support open and responsible government at all levels should oppose a public process that cloaks itself in private fashion.


Giant King Cobra Caught in Family’s Kitchen:

Film: Tuesday, January 25th, 1 PM @ Seniors in the Park, No Time to Die

Tuesday, January 25th at 1 PM, there will be a showing of No Time to Die @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

Action/Adventure/Thriller

Rated PG-13; 2 hours, 43 minutes (2021)

In his fifth and final outing as 007 (and the 25th film in the series), Daniel Craig plays a retired and world-weary Bond who returns to MI6 only to find: he’s been replaced. Nevertheless, he must persevere to thwart a new supervillain (Rami Malek) armed with dangerous new nanotechnology. Also starring Ralph Fiennes (as M), Ben Whishaw (as Q), and Christoph Walz as Ernst Blofeld.

One can find more information about No Time to Die at the Internet Movie Database.

Enjoy.

Daily Bread for 1.19.22: An Example of the School District’s Economic Impact Analysis

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 15.  Sunrise is 7:19 AM and sunset 4:52 PM for 9h 32m 21s of daytime.  The moon is waning gibbous with 97.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1983, the Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.


 Last year, the Whitewater Unified School District spent $1,600,000.00 on artificial turf for athletic fields.  One might imagine in a city having seen false promises of economic gains from public projects, that the district’s adminstration — it is an educational institution in a city with a university campus, after all — would prepare a thorough projection economic benefits.

How did the district describe the supposed economic benefits of these millions for fields of synthetic grass?

Download (PDF, 41KB)

A potential boost, with a concession stand, massive amounts of people, and one local endorsement.

No one needed a PowerPoint slide to describe so nebulously the claimed economic benefits from this project.

The back of an older medium would have sufficed.

In the city and throughout the district, there are thousands of sharp and serious people. A district office with more than one doctorate-holder owed Whitewater a more detailed analysis.

This is, however, the environment the development men have entrenched in Whitewater: where very little passes for good enough.


Gentoo penguins eat sardines in underwater footage:

Daily Bread for 1.18.22: Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 36.  Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:50 PM for 9h 30m 28s of daytime.  The moon is waning gibbous with 99.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1977, scientists identify a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of the mysterious Legionnaires’ disease.


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 In 2020, eleven years after the end of the Great Recession (2007-2009), two of Whitewater’s development men offered public comments on a possible restructuring of the Whitewater Community Development Authority.  Their full remarks appear in the video above, with two pertinent excerpts below.

Video beginning @ 1:22:

You know, and so this is the time as we come in, you know, we’re at the last stages of this bull cycle that we’re in, whether it be the economy, the stock market, real estate, don’t know when it’s going to end. And I’m not saying it’s going to end soon, but it will will and they always do and it’s more important than ever right now to be ready to carry that on with economic development.

Video beginning at @ 3:13:

We’ve just had one of the most booming economies that this country’s seen in close to 60 years. And we’re not at the table. We’re not playing. We’re not out there.

Well, yes. There was a national boom, uplifting many cities, but it passed by Whitewater. What did Whitewater get after the Great Recession, years into a national boom? Whitewater received a designation as a low-income community.  (The gentlmen speaking, these ‘Greater Whitewater’ development men, were by their own accounts at the center of local CDA policy during most of the years that the state and national boom ignored Whitewater.)

That boom, the one that Whitewater never saw, did end, in pandemic and a pandemic recession. That’s the economic history of contemporary Whitewater: she didn’t have the recovery from the Great Recession that other places had, and so entered the most recent recession relatively weaker than many American communities.

Public officials of the city, school district, and university so often carry on in ignorance and denial of the community’s true economic condition.


 Tonga volcano: ash, smoke and lightning seen before eruption that caused tsunami:

Daily Bread for 1.17.22: Which ‘Middle Time’ Proved True for Whitewater

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 27.  Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:49 PM for 9h 28m 37s of daytime.  The moon is full with 99.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Equal Opportunities Commission meets today at 5 PM

 On this day in 1945, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg is taken into Soviet custody while in Hungary; he is never publicly seen again.


 In 2014, several years after the end of the Great Recession (2007-2009), Whitewater entered a middle time, a period between an older way of life and a newer one:

We may say that the beginning or opening is now over, as social media have pushed Whitewater from her former oligopoly of published information.  A fawning professional press that coddled the mediocre and dishonest no longer counts for much; there are dozens of media by which information in small towns may circulate.

The creation of a status-quo news website in Whitewater has been a mixed success. It offers much in the way of local, apolitical announcements, but any pretensions to political influence are undercut by substandard composition and an often poor level of analysis.  (All the silent editors in the world are still not enough.)

In this middle time, one can expect two things.

First, those few who have worked so hard, for so long, to assure that Whitewater will operate under business as usual likely believe that they can navigate a partly-changed terrain.  They’ve never wanted open government, transparent deals, market transactions, or even-handed enforcement and administration.

They will never want these things, and they will not relent from pushing their own selfish & reactionary positions.

Second, they’re mistaken to think that Whitewater has changed somewhat, but will change no more. The greatest changes are yet ahead, dwarfing those we’ve yet seen.  

As it turned out, Whitewater’s transition proved only limited and partial. By 2016, it was evident that while one future offered a more prosperous city, there was another possibility:

A fair estimate was, and is, that this middle time will last for years.

But now one can offer a guess about two courses that this middle time may take, on the way to a more prosperous future: we may see limited growth until significant internal change, or we may see stagnation (and thus relative decline) until external change through something like gentrification.

On the end of either path we’ll be better off economically, but for longtime residents the futures will prove different: in the former current residents will be (or at least could be) significant players; in the latter they’ll have limited influence (as ‘something like gentrification’ is very much an outside force).

The latter also involves a decline in asset values before a rebound, so it necessarily involves a less desirable path to a future prosperity.

Doing what we have been doing, under this assessment, assures only a harder time until a better time.

One other point seems clear to me: government intervention to produce positive economic results seems more difficult than ever. A better local economy requires gathering demand, and we’ve seen demand shift outward from the city, not inward.

Whitewater didn’t move far enough and fast enough from her former model of boosterism, and she’s now enmired in   a much harder (and longer) time until a better time. Why Whitewater didn’t move farther and faster is a multi-chapter story; that she did not move toward prosperity for the majority of her residents is undeniable.

There are yet ways to shorten the length of Whitewater’s middle time of stagnation and disappointment, but not one of them involves replacing closed-government and boosterism with closed-government and positivity.


Herd of elk halts traffic for commuters in North Carolina:

Daily Bread for 1.16.22: Wisconsin Educational Issues Over the Next Ten Months

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 23.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:48 PM for 9h 26m 49s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 98.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1883, Congress enacts the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, establishing the United States Civil Service.


 At the Journal Sentinel, Alan Borsuk writes School choice, parent power, social issues: They’re all in play as the campaigns for Wisconsin governor begin

Republican Rebecca Kleefisch released the first television ad of her campaign for governor recently. All 30 seconds focused on education issues.

Consider it an early sign of two things: Nov. 8, the election day just under 10 months from now, will be the biggest date of the year (and probably of several years) for Wisconsin education. And school-related issues are going to be somewhere between hot and really, really hot.

I’ve read pre-election stories for many years that predicted education was going to be a pivotal issue in campaigns for major offices. I’ve written some myself. It almost always turns out to be not quite the case, as other things end up dominating attention.

This time for sure. (Or almost for sure – who takes anything as certain these days?)

Borsuk lists 8 educational issues he thinks will be part of gubernatorial campaigns this fall: school choice, spending, response to pandemic issues, parent power, Milwaukee Public Schools, teaching race-related content, reading reform, and hot-button social issues.

Some of these issues will be in play in school board races across the state this spring.  Arguing over them — notably about millions misallocated, concealment of fundamental actions and rationales behind personnel and student decisions, transparently self-serving claims of ‘privacy concerns’ as a way to dodge full explanations, disregard of open government, and threats to individual liberty from book-banning and closet-confining — well, these are fights worth fighting. See Educational Movements Destructive or Ineffectual

What Borsuk doesn’t list, and no serious person would advance, is advocacy for an educational policy of ‘positivity.’ However contentious the issues that spring and fall campaigns across the state will broach, there are likely to be few administrators or candidates frivolous enough to think that ‘keeping social media positive’ could possibily improve anyone’s education.

Perhaps one should see this as a good, if bittersweet, sign: at least other parts of the state know that educational policy is more than a greeting-card slogan.

See also Boosterism’s Cousin, Toxic PositivityTragic Optimism as an Alternative to Toxic Positivity, and Toxic Positivity Is Worse than Annoying as Public Policy.


 The Rise And Fall of BlackBerry

Daily Bread for 1.15.22: The Truth Behind Those Amazon Mystery Seed Packages from China

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see clouds and sunshine with occasional flurries and a high of 23.  Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:47 PM for 9h 25m 04s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 94.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1967, the Packers defeat the Chiefs in the first Superbowl championship: “The game was held at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, with 61,946 sports fans in attendance. The final score was 35 to 10. For their victory, the Packers collected $15,000 per player and the Chiefs $7,500 per player – the largest single-game shares in the history of team sports at that time.”


 From 2021, Julia Longoria speaks with the writer Chris Heath about his investigation of mystery seeds for The Atlantic, the byzantine world of international e-commerce, and the dangers of panic (and limits of reason):

See also The Truth Behind The Amazon Mystery Seeds.

Not long ago, I saw a message on an Episcopal church’s sign that read: FAITH, REASON, and TRADITION. The church’s sign meant to remind that these three concepts should be in harmony and complementary to each other.

I worship with a different Episcopal congregation, but America finds herself beset with those who have a weak grasp of all three concepts: faith is often ill-formed and distorted, reason is often replaced with conspiracy theories, and tradition often tossed aside for vulgar nativist autocracy.

The conundrums of life cannot be accurately answered by reliance on theories of a non-existent Marxist/Socialist/Progressive/Gates/Soros/Jewish Space Laser/Hip Hop/Rastafarian cabal.

The truth behind the Amazon mystery seeds is one of those conundrums.

Daily Bread for 1.14.22: But He’s Like This Now…

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 29.  Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:45 PM for 9h 23m 23s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 89.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1952, NBC’s long-running morning news program Today debuts, with host Dave Garroway.


 Michelle Cottle writes that Ron Johnson Wasn’t Always Like This. The Trump Years Broke Him

Like so many citizen legislators before him, however, Mr. Johnson says he failed to anticipate just how desperately Wisconsin voters — nay, the entire nation — would need him at this moment.

“America is in peril,” he declared in an essay in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday. Out-of-control Democrats, aided by media and tech elites, are luring the nation down the path to “tyranny,” he warned. “Countless” concerned citizens implored him to keep up his “fight for freedom,” he noted, “to be their voice, to speak plain and obvious truths other elected leaders shirk from expressing.” What choice does he have but to soldier on?

Claims of national crisis and delusions of indispensability are standard among lawmakers looking to justify abandoning their term-limit pledges. But Mr. Johnson is correct that he has distinguished himself for his willingness to tread where many other officials dare not, at least in the Senate. He has becomeknown as perhaps the chamber’s foremost spreader of absurd yet dangerous conspiracy theories — especially in the areas of anti-vaccine insanity and the election-fraud delusions of a certain former president.

….

RonJon wasn’t always like this. He used to be a relatively straightforward pro-market, small-government, budget-conscious conservative. He seemed to have a more or less solid grip on reality. But the Trump years broke him, as they broke so many in the Republican Party.

….

Do the nation a solid, Wisconsin: Commit to helping Mr. Johnson stick by his original promise to serve only two terms. After everything it has been through lately, America shouldn’t have to suffer through another six years of his twisted take on truth and freedom.

Cottle is, needless to say, no admirer of Johnson. Her essay details the many ways he’s repulsive to reasonable people.

It may be true, however, that he was once different. I’ll not bother to speculate about why, if at all, the Trump years changed Johnson. So many others who were once better — too many libertarians, too many conservatives — are now worse. They bear the responsibility for embracing Trump, they are culpable for their own deviant decline, they made these choices.

Those of us who have held firm, those few of us who have not abandoned traditional libertarian teachings, for example, look on in contempt and opposition at a fanatical horde that redefines moral concepts to suit its own malevolent appetites.

Was Trump enough to change these men? If so, then these men were scarcely men at all. They were instead mere shells, empty husks vulnerable to drifting about one way or another.

What Johnson once might have been matters less than what he now is: detestable.


 Huge icefish colony of 60 million nests found on Antarctic seabed:

Daily Bread for 1.13.22: Lake Superior’s Forever Chemicals

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 33.  Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:44 PM for 9h 21m 45s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 83.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1922, the call letters of experimental station 9XM in Madison were replaced by WHA. This station dates back to 1917, making it “the oldest station in the nation.” 


 Shantal Riley reports Lake Superior’s Forever Chemicals:

Early last year, the state of Wisconsin issued a fish consumption advisory that recommended eating no more than one meal a month of Lake Superior rainbow smelt, caught by tribes and local anglers during smelt runs in the spring. It was the first advisory for any of the Great Lakes warning of fish with elevated levels of PFAS — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of man-made chemicals linked to cancer that have shown up in drinking water systems around the country.

PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment. After years of industrial use, the federal government recently took steps to regulate them. But will it be enough to assure the safety of the Indigenous people who have fished on the lake for thousands of years — and depend on the fish for survival?

….

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake on Earth by surface area, spanning a vast 31,700 square miles. Surrounded by dense forests and relatively sparse populations, more than 80 species of fish live in its cold, remote waters. While the fish are abundant, they’re rife with contaminants: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, the pesticide toxaphene — all linked to cancer — and mercury, left behind as a legacy of mining in a rugged region known as Copper Country. There are enough pollutants now circulating in the great lake that Michigan lists more than a dozen consumption advisories for its fish, and the pollution runs headlong into areas where tribes practice subsistence fishing.

Beautiful, but damaged. Advanced societies such as America’s, freed from immediate necessity, have an obligation of foresight. It’s not enough to do something; one should consider the consequences of what one does. It has been, after all, the foresight of many that has lifted us from mere subsistence.

In a small city like Whitewater, for example, the question about Cravath and Trippe Lakes has not been whether they would be refilled. Of course they were going to be refilled, sooner or later. The question has been how they would be refilled. Putting mere water back into the lakes is no environmental risk; proposing wide use of artificial herbicides (although not ‘forever chemicals’) on the surface area of the drained lakes was the risk. See Reporting About Artificial Herbicides in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

It was, needless to say, an unnecessary risk. Herbicide into the lakes — aquatic Roundup or some such — was a shortsighted and lazy way to accomplish an enduring restoration. Abandoning that aspect of the project was the very least Whitewater’s local government owed its residents.


‘The party’s over’: Keir Starmer derides Boris Johnson’s apology at question time:

The Labour leader has said the prime minister’s apology over for attending what he had thought was a ‘work event’ in the garden at No 10 in May 2020, when the country was in full lockdown, was ‘offensive to the British public’. Keir Starmer called for Boris Johnson to ‘do the decent thing’ and resign before either his party or the public drove him out of office.