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Daily Bread for 4.20.21

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 40.  Sunrise is 6:03 AM and sunset 7:43 PM, for 13h 40m 39s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 51.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Common Council meets via audiovisual conferencing at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1775, the Siege of Boston begins, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.

Recommended for reading in full — 
 Scott Bauer reports Foxconn, Wisconsin reach new deal on scaled back facility:

Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics maker, has reached a new deal with reduced tax breaks for its scaled back manufacturing facility in southeast Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers and the company announced on Monday.

Details of the new deal were not immediately released. It was scheduled to be approved at a Tuesday meeting of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the state’s top jobs agency that previously negotiated the initial deal with Foxconn.

The new deal will reduce the potential tax breaks by billions of dollars and still have potential tax breaks worth more than $10 million for the company, a person with knowledge of the new contract who was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal said Monday.

(The devil’s in the details: the WEDC will vote on this deal without prior public disclosure of its terms, Foxconn has a record of false promises amount to billions, and Foxconn’s ventures in other places are struggling. See Odds are stacked against Foxconn in electric car market.)

 Rachel Abrams reports One America News Network Stays True to Trump:

Months after the inauguration of President Biden, One America News Network, a right-wing cable news channel available in some 35 million households, has continued to broadcast segments questioning the validity of the 2020 presidential election.

“There’s still serious doubts about who’s actually president,” the OAN correspondent Pearson Sharp said in a March 28 report.

That segment was one in a spate of similar reports from a channel that has become a kind of Trump TV for the post-Trump age, an outlet whose reporting has aligned with the former president’s grievances at a time when he is barred from major social media platforms.

Some of OAN’s coverage has not had the full support of the staff. In interviews with 18 current and former OAN newsroom employees, 16 said the channel had broadcast reports that they considered misleading, inaccurate or untrue.

To go by much of OAN’s reporting, it is almost as if a transfer of power had never taken place. The channel did not broadcast live coverage of Mr. Biden’s swearing-in ceremony and Inaugural Address. Into April, news articles on the OAN website consistently referred to Donald J. Trump as “President Trump” and to President Biden as just “Joe Biden” or “Biden.” That practice is not followed by other news organizations, including the OAN competitor Newsmax, a conservative cable channel and news site.

 Andrew Roth reports US ambassador to leave Moscow as tensions rise:

Washington’s ambassador to Moscow has announced that he will return to the US for consultations, days after the Russian government recommended he leave the country during what it said was an “extremely tense situation”.

John Sullivan’s departure will leave both countries’ embassies without their top diplomats at a crucial moment, with Washington and Moscow recently announcing new sanctions, a Russian military buildup near Ukraine, and concerns about the opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s health while in detention.

“I believe it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia,” Sullivan said in a statement on Tuesday.

Rediscovered forgotten species brews promise for coffee’s future:

Film: Tuesday, April 20th, 1 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Wonder Woman 1984

This Tuesday, April 20th at 1 PM, there will be a showing of Wonder Woman 1984 @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

(Superhero action)

Rated PG-13

2 hours, 31 minutes (2020)

Diana Prince (Gail Gadot) lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s, but soon she will have to muster all of her strength, wisdom and courage as she finds herself squaring off against Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah, a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.

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 Wonder Woman 1984 at the Internet Movie Database.

Daily Bread for 4.19.21

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 46.  Sunrise is 6:04 AM and sunset 7:42 PM, for 13h 37m 56s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 41.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1775, the Revolutionary War begins with an American victory in Concord during the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Fred Hiatt writes China’s third phase of genocide denial: Attacking those who speak the truth:

At first, when a few brave journalists at Radio Free Asia began alerting the world to the terrible events unfolding in western China, China’s Communist rulers denied that anything at all was taking place.

Then, when satellite photos and survivor testimony became too overwhelming, the regime admitted that, yes, there are camps. But not concentration camps! Those are … vocational schools! Pay no attention to the barbed wire and guard towers.

Now, even as it maintains its increasingly threadbare lies, the regime is intensifying the third phase of genocide denial: attacking the truth-tellers.

More than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are being held in China’s brutal camps. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim cemeteries have been destroyed. Muslim women are forcibly sterilized; Uyghur children are taken from their homes and sent to state-run boarding schools. Men can be sent away for wearing a beard or declining to consume pork or alcohol. The Chinese Communists are attempting to wipe out a culture, a way of life, a people.

We know this thanks to Radio Free Asia reporter Gulchehra Hoja and her colleagues, to a few dogged academics and to dozens of survivors and exiles who have bravely given testimony.

At a news conference this month, the Chinese Foreign Ministry attacked many of those witnesses as liars, criminals, terrorists and persons of “bad morality,” as RFA reported.

One of those named as a terrorist was Hoja, 48, who agreed to speak with me Friday. While we were talking, she learned that the regime has listed her father, Abduqeyum Hoja, as a terrorist as well.

“He is 80 years old!” she exclaimed. “A retired archaeologist. What kind of terrorist?”

 Kenneth Chang reports NASA’s Mars Helicopter Achieves First Flight on Another World (‘The experimental Ingenuity vehicle completed the short but historic up-and-down flight on Monday morning’):

A small robotic helicopter named Ingenuity made space exploration history on Monday when it lifted off the surface of Mars and hovered in the wispy air of the red planet. It was the first machine from Earth ever to fly like an airplane or a helicopter on another world.

In NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, engineers cheered just before 7 a.m. Eastern time as an image was transmitted back to Earth by the helicopter showing its shadow looming over the Martian surface during its flight, which occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Mars.

The achievement extends NASA’s long, exceptional record of firsts on Mars. But it was also something different for NASA — a high-risk, high-reward project with a modest price tag where failure was an acceptable outcome.

Ingenuity helicopter flies on Mars — see the first pic & video:

Daily Bread for 4.18.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 60.  Sunrise is 6:06 AM and sunset 7:41 PM, for 13h 35m 13s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 32.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1923, Yankee Stadium, “The House that Ruth Built,” opens.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Kelly Meyerhofer reports UW branch campuses ‘at risk of closure’ under bill giving tech colleges more freedom:

Wisconsin technical colleges could more easily establish general education degree programs under a Republican bill that the University of Wisconsin System says would threaten the existence of some of its smallest campuses.

The bill introduced earlier this month would eliminate a longstanding requirement that technical colleges receive approval from the UW Board of Regents before starting associate degree programs in arts and sciences on their campuses.

Of the state’s 16 technical colleges, just six offer such two-year programs, which are the most common stepping stone for students to go on to a four-year university and earn a bachelor’s degree. Other technical colleges have tried establishing the programs in recent years but have historically received rare support from the UW System.

That’s because the System’s small branch campuses offer the same two-year programs. Allowing more technical colleges to start their own could cut into branch campus enrollment, which has suffered steep losses in recent years.

….

Nine of the 13 branch campuses this fall had a head count enrollment of 500 or fewer students. Demographics show even fewer students graduating from Wisconsin high schools between 2025 and 2030.

(These branch campuses, like the technical colleges, are principally two-year programs. Campuses like UW-Whitewater at Rock County might be directly affected, but four-year comprehensive programs like UW-Whitewater here in Whitewater indirectly affected by their association with a branch campus.)

Danielle Ivory, Lauren Leatherby, and Robert Gebeloff report Least Vaccinated U.S. Counties Have Something in Common: Trump Voters:

About 31 percent of adults in the United States have now been fully vaccinated. Scientists have estimated that 70 to 90 percent of the total population must acquire resistance to the virus to reach herd immunity. But in hundreds of counties around the country, vaccination rates are low, with some even languishing in the teens.

The disparity in vaccination rates has so far mainly broken down along political lines. The New York Times examined survey and vaccine administration data for nearly every U.S. county and found that both willingness to receive a vaccine and actual vaccination rates to date were lower, on average, in counties where a majority of residents voted to re-elect former President Donald J. Trump in 2020. The phenomenon has left some places with a shortage of supply and others with a glut.

For months, health officials across the United States have been racing to inoculate people as variants of the coronavirus have continued to gain a foothold, carrying mutations that can make infections more contagious and, in some cases, deadlier. Vaccinations have sped up and, in many places, people are still unable to book appointments because of high demand. In Michigan, where cases have spiraled out of control, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, recently urged President Biden to send additional doses.

But in more rural — and more Republican — areas, health officials said that supply is far exceeding demand.

 First-ever camera collar footage from a wild wolf:

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The Limits of Local Politics

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

Earlier posts at FREE WHITEWATER have addressed the limits of local politics in the community: local public (or powerful private) institutions have a limited power of action (with harmful actions likely to be more immediate than helpful ones).

It’s certain that a few officials can – and will – redirect whatever public money they can find to business special interests of their choosing. Their creed has no more appeal (or truth) than the Egyptian Book of the Dead does today: it may have meant something to someone once, but no majority anywhere adheres to it now.

More broadly: how very sad that those who spent years seeking political positions will find that the local limelight is no more than a dim, flickering flame. Pride isn’t public policy; pride is a character flaw.

Of other immediate challenges, notably excessive force against a few or closed government against many, or lowest-common-denominator educational standards, there are ever-present (and in some cases greater) risks.

There is also, only mentioned by allusion in this series, the change to local politics ideologically: a malevolent nativism slithers through Whitewater. It’s ill-thought and ill-read. Too many politicians in this city have responded with heads down and eyes averted. Many of Whitewater’s officeholders let this band go unchallenged through an entire campaign, to the detriment of the city.

This situation doesn’t require a series – it requires years of work.

Of community gains, however, one would be better off looking beyond local government or local notables.

What Whitewater needs most won’t be found through local politics.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-LeftThe City’s Few Progressives, The CampusThe Subcultural CityThe Common CouncilCOVID-19: Skepticism and RhetoricMarketing, and  Majoritarianism.

Daily Bread for 4.17.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 57.  Sunrise is 6:07 AM and sunset 7:40 PM, for 13h 32m 29s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 24.0% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1970, the ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft returns to Earth safely.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Craig Gilbert writes As politics is nationalized, April’s non-partisan elections are looking more and more like November’s partisan ones:

Five months after the November 2020 presidential race, Wisconsin held a contest for state school superintendent.

The November election was close.

The April election wasn’t.

The November election attracted massive attention.

The April election didn’t.

The November election drew 3.3 million voters to the polls.

The April election drew about 912,000.

The November election was partisan.

The April election was nonpartisan.

But as different as they were, the two elections did have something in common.

The geographic voting patterns were remarkably similar.

By and large, the counties that performed the best for Democrat Joe Biden last fall also performed the best for the winning and more liberal candidate in this month’s race for state school superintendent, Jill Underly.

And the counties that performed the best for Republican Donald Trump last fall generally performed the best for Underly’s more conservative opponent, Deborah Kerr.

This happened despite vast differences in turnout, spending and media attention in the two races and the fact that one office — the presidency — is the ultimate partisan prize and the other is a low-profile, nonpartisan office overseeing the state’s public schools.

Dalton Bennett, Shawn Boburg, Sarah Cahlan, Peter Hermann, Meg Kelly, Joyce Sohyun Lee, Elyse Samuels, and Brian Monroe report 17 requests for backup in 78 minutes (‘A reconstruction shows how failures of planning and preparation left police at the Capitol severely disadvantaged on Jan. 6’):

At 1:13 p.m. on Jan. 6, a D.C. police commander facing a swelling crowd of protesters on the west side of the U.S. Capitol made an urgent call for more officers in riot gear. “Hard gear at the Capitol! Hard gear at the Capitol!” Cmdr. Robert Glover shouted into his radio.

Glover and a team of D.C. police officers had rushed to the besieged complex moments earlier at the behest of Capitol Police. By the time they arrived, the Capitol grounds were already being overrun by a mob intent on overturning President Donald Trump’s electoral defeat.

Over the next 78 minutes, Glover requested backup at least 17 times, according to a Washington Post analysis of the events, and the mob on the west side eventually grew to at least 9,400 people, outnumbering officers by more than 58 to one.

 Storm chaser Mike Olbinski records Shadows in the Sky:

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: Majoritarianism

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

The contested April school board election has now come to a close. An animating concern of many parents was that the Whitewater public school should not have suspended face-to-face instruction for as long as it did, and that, in doing so, the school board ignored majority opinion. (This theme played out in many Wisconsin school districts; Whitewater wasn’t unique.)

One can leave aside particular debates about what the majority of parents in the district wanted, for the sake of a general assumption: many parents hoped the district would have  been open continuously for face-to-face instruction.

As forceful opinion on the matter became evident, board members, the district superintendent, and other district administrators began to echo themes of that majority opinion, majority will, etc.

(Quick note: I never took a position on whether the schools should stay open for face-to-face instruction, except to note that any decision would be fraught. It was enough, in my view, that there should be an online instructional option for students at all grade levels. This view in support of an option implies more than one choice, but I refrained from predictions of what might happen if the schools stayed open.

There was, also, no endorsement at FREE WHITEWATER for any of the recent candidates.)

This question confronts Whitewater’s school board, superintendent, administrative Central Office, principals, and teachers: how often will the majority decide on curriculum and policy? If a majority of parents would be decisive, when would it be decisive?

The point isn’t that majorities shouldn’t decide sometimes or even often, but whether they should decide always.

And look, and look — if a majority should decide always, then will they exercise that power over contentious political, social, or scientific topics in the curriculum, against demanding standards of teaching, or against minority rights (of race, ethnicity, orientation, or conscience)?

There’s a simple-minded idea that one is either a friend or foe of education. Under this reading, if you’re a friend, then you should be supportive of whatever teachers, principals, or superintendents do. On the contrary, the best defense of education comes from those who commit to their substantive fields and exercise authority wisely and ethically.

Whitewater can be a difficult place, and it faces difficult challenges.

Teachers and administrators who are poorly mentored (so that they don’t think about method deeply or think leadership is reflexively defending their subordinates) serve education poorly. They make it harder for those who know that learning is more than a diploma, certificate, or degree.

Important principles require a defense worthy of their importance.

Tomorrow: The Limits of Local Politics.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-LeftThe City’s Few Progressives, The CampusThe Subcultural CityThe Common CouncilCOVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric, and Marketing.

Daily Bread for 4.16.21

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 57.  Sunrise is 6:09 AM and sunset 7:39 PM, for 13h 29m 45s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 16.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, the United States Army liberates Nazi Sonderlager (high security) prisoner-of-war camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz).

Recommended for reading in full — 

Vanda Felbab-Brown writes The US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan is the right one:

The Biden administration’s political courage lies in its refusal to be cowed by the possibility that a terrorism threat will grow in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal. That specter has been a key justification for militarily staying on and on. That possibility needs to be weighed against other already materialized strategic threats and realities. Indeed, another wise aspect of the Biden administration’s decision was to stop treating U.S. Afghanistan policy in isolation from other issues and strategic priorities; to date, the tyranny of sunk costs has inflated Afghanistan’s importance.

Now, threats from China, an aggressive Russia, North Korea, and Iran — as well as zoonotic pandemics — are more important strategic priorities. Investing in U.S. Special Operation Forces, top leadership attention, and financial resources to counter those threats can deliver far greater strategic benefits than perpetuating the Afghanistan military effort.

Megan Hart reports Kimberly-Clark: Relocating 250 Workers To Chicago Won’t Interfere With Tax Incentives In Wisconsin:

The global manufacturer behind brands like Kleenex, Huggies and Kotex struck a deal with former Gov. Scott Walker in late 2018, allowing the company to receive up to $28 million in grants. In return, Kimberly-Clark committed to investing in its Fox Valley facilities, keeping jobs in Wisconsin and buying from Wisconsin suppliers.

“It is disappointing that Kimberly-Clark has chosen to move these jobs out of Wisconsin, especially as our state is just beginning to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary Missy Hughes, of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., said in a statement.

Her agency is reviewing its contract with Kimberly-Clark to determine whether the move will affect its eligibility for tax incentives, she said.

Caleb Ecarma writes White Nationalists Sure Don’t Think Tucker Carlson’s “Replacement” Segment Is About Voting Rights:

Perhaps emboldened by Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch, who stood by his segment ostensibly promoting the white nationalist “replacement” theory, Tucker Carlson has spent much of this week doubling down. “Demographic change is the key to the Democratic Party’s political ambitions,” Carlson said Monday night, cementing his position in the face of calls for his firing. “Let’s say that again for emphasis because it is the secret to the entire immigration debate.… In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country. They’re no longer trying to win you over with their program. They’re obviously not trying to improve your life. They don’t even really care about your vote anymore. Their goal is to make you irrelevant.”

And strangely, despite Fox News’s and Murdoch’s insistence that Carlson’s focus on this topic has to do with voting rights, and not racist conspiracy mongering, he appears to have drawn praise from a certain segment of adoring fans. “Holy shit, I just watched Tucker’s replacement segment. This is a turning point in the program,” wrote one user on 4chan’s /pol/ board––one of the few remaining online platforms that hosts self-described Nazis––in a thread praising Carlson for naming “the jew on national television.” Others on the thread shared their praise by posting a meme depicting Carlson as the far right’s cartoon frog mascot, Pepe, urging fellow 4chan-ers to “get your parents to watch right now to boost tucker’s ratings so murdoch doesn’t get cold feet,” and declaring, “HEIL TUCKER!”

 Why Starlink Is Crucial To SpaceX’s Success:

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: Marketing

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

Through all the difficult events of the last two decades (a Great Recession, an opioid epidemic, economic stagnation, creeping nativism, a pandemic, a pandemic recession), Old Whitewater has responded with the same question: how can we market the town to others?

If marketing hadn’t been invented, these gentlemen would have had open calendars and empty task lists.

Some marketing efforts will, in any event, prove easier than others.

For the school district, efforts to persuade families who have left the district should prove the easiest marketing task in Whitewater. Those families have connections geographically and personally to the district, they chose to be in the district before the pandemic, and if the pandemic truly abates in the Whitewater area, a well-crafted appeal to the prior reasons they stayed in the district should have a good chance of success.

That sort of marketing program would be a reclamation effort, where one reclaims by persuasion those who once had a commitment to the district.

Beyond a reclamation effort, however, other marketing programs – for newcomers to the city or school district – will reach the eyes and ears of those who have not before lived in the community. Those prospects will have no prior experience (or little) by which to evaluate the claims, offers, and promises they hear.

Local marketing men will evaluate the success of their appeals by the number of newcomers they attract. There is a more fundamental standard by which an ethical man or woman evaluates an advertising or marketing campaign: one first judges advertising and marketing by the honesty of the claims presented. Honesty requires truth, significance, and relevance.

If Whitewater aims to sell to others the city or school district, then that effort requires more than a nice website or colorful flyer. Many communities have nice websites and colorful flyers.

There is no greater promotion, no more colorful banner, no more compelling slogan, than the truth.

Whitewater would do better to admit – indeed, to declare boldly – that she is a work in progress, in need of help from talented newcomers from near and far. For the city to succeed in that declaration, the same ten eight six people who have chanted self-promotion as though a universal creed will have to yield places and opportunities to those talented newcomers.

All the rest is more of the same.

Tomorrow: Majoritarianism.

Previously: Unofficial Spring Election ResultsThe Kinds of Conservatives in WhitewaterThe City’s Center-LeftThe City’s Few Progressives, The CampusThe Subcultural CityThe Common Council, and COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric.

Daily Bread for 4.15.21

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 54.  Sunrise is 6:11 AM and sunset 7:38 PM, for 13h 26m 59s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 9.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 2019, the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris in France is seriously damaged by a large fire.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Bill Glauber reports Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski joins Democratic race for Ron Johnson’s U.S. Senate seat in 2022:

Taking the fight straight to Republican Ron Johnson, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski announced Wednesday that she’s running for U.S. Senate.

Godlewski joined an increasingly crowded field of Democratic hopefuls eager to challenge Johnson, who has not yet announced if he’ll seek a third term in the U.S. Senate next year.

In a video to launch her campaign, Godlewski sought to set up a contrast with Johnson and said: “We’re … how do I put it nicely? Different.”

“Ron Johnson has spent his time covering up for Donald Trump, denying climate change and catering to the super-wealthy,” she said.

Godlewski fiercely criticized Johnson’s comments on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, in which he said, “This really didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me.”

Godlewski declared: “I don’t think you show respect by beating and killing police officers.”

Julian E. Barnes, David E. Sanger and Lara Jakes report Biden Administration to Impose Tough Sanctions on Russia
(‘Administration officials were determined to draft a response that would impose real costs on Moscow, as many previous rounds of sanctions have been shrugged off’):

“It will not simply be sanctions,” Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, said in February. He has frequently said it will include “a mix of tools seen and unseen,” though there have been disagreements in the administration about how many of the steps to make public.

Restrictions on sovereign debt affect a nation’s ability to raise dollar-denominated bonds, with lenders fearful of being cut off from American financial markets. The United States has used similar techniques against Iran, among others.

Russian bond prices have fluctuated in recent weeks in anticipation of possible sanctions. Russia has relatively little debt, making it potentially less vulnerable to the tactic. And rising oil prices will benefit the country’s economy.

Nevertheless, any broad sanctions on Russia’s financial sector would amount to a significant escalation in the costs that the United States has been willing to impose on Moscow. And part of the administration’s concern has been whether Russian entities could retaliate by exploiting “back doors” implanted in American systems.

Elaine Godfrey writes The Rural Pandemic Isn’t Ending:

It’s possible—even probable—public-health experts told me, that months from now, some rural areas will still have very low vaccination rates, providing isolated havens for the coronavirus. That outcome could be calamitous. First, as long as unvaccinated individuals live together in a community, frequenting the same shops, offices, and classrooms, the virus can find hosts through which to spread. Second, and even worse, a virus left unchecked will evolve—that’s what viruses do best—and could become more infectious, more lethal, and more resistant to existing vaccines. Which means that, ultimately, a new, super-charged coronavirus variant could create the conditions for another epidemic, the experts told me. This is why “we need people vaccinated now, not four months from now,” says Alan Morgan, the CEO of the nonprofit National Rural Health Association.

See also Red states on U.S. electoral map lagging on vaccinations.

 Michelangelo’s David: Inside the high-tech project to create a perfect 3D ‘twin’:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow: Marketing.

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

Daily Bread for 4.14.21

Good morning.

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

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

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

Recommended for reading in full — 

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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