FREE WHITEWATER

Author Archive for JOHN ADAMS

Daily Bread for 6.22.24: How Nvidia Surpassed Microsoft and Apple to Become the World’s Most Valuable Company

Good morning.

Saturday will be cloudy with afternoon thundershowers and a high of 84. Sunrise is 5:17 and sunset 8:37 for 15h 20m 10s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1943, McCarthy Breaks Leg in Drunken Accident:

Future Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy breaks his leg during a drunken Marine Corps initiation ceremony, despite a press release and other claims that he was hurt in “military action.” Although nicknamed “Tail Gunner Joe”, McCarthy never was a tail gunner, but instead served at a desk as an intelligence officer. In 1951, he applied for medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded to those who had flown at least 25 combat missions. The Marine Corps has records of only 11 combat flights McCarthy flew on, and those were described as local “milk run” flights. Many of McCarthy’s claims were disputed by political opponents as well as journalists.

On this day in 1944, President Roosevelt signs into law the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill.


How Nvidia Surpassed Microsoft and Apple to Become World’s Most Valuable Company:

Nvidia’s rise to becoming a $3 trillion happened in record time. The chip company makes the high-end computer chips that power AI tools like ChatGPT and the cutting-edge data centers that more and more companies need access to. But now rivals like AMD and Intel are trying to catch up. Can they take market share from Nvidia, or has the current leader in AI chips gotten too far in the lead? CNBC’s Kif Leswing breaks it all down.

Creating Masterpieces for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and The Pope:

Embark on the captivating journey of Kim Young-Jun and Gabe Sin as they revive the ancient Korean art of Najeonchilgi. Kim, a former financier turned master craftsman, has created intricate mother-of-pearl masterpieces for icons like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even designed a chair for the Pope. Alongside him is Gabe Sin, a visionary hairstylist who draws inspiration from these timeless designs, integrating them into elaborate creations showcased on the cover of Vogue. Discover how Kim and Gabe are redefining Korean art for the modern world, blending heritage with innovation in mesmerizing ways.

Daily Bread for 6.21.24: Wisconsin Workers’ Average Pay Increases 5.3% Year Over Year

Good morning.

Friday will be partly cloudy with a possibility of afternoon showers and a high of 88. Sunrise is 5:16 and sunset 8:37 for 15h 20m 19s of daytime. The moon is full with 99.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1944, Camp Janesville was established when 250 German POWs arrived in Rock County to help pick and can peas, tomatoes, and sweet corn. The camp was a small town of tents that housed guards and the POWs, many of them from the defeated Afrika Corps led by the “Desert Fox”, Field Marshall Rommel. Another 150 prisoners were assigned to a similar camp in Jefferson. The German POWs were primarily in their mid-20s. They were eventually transferred to an undisclosed camp on September 25, 1944.

On this day in 1945, the Battle of Okinawa ends when the organized resistance of Imperial Japanese Army forces collapses in the Mabuni area on the southern tip of the main island.


Wisconsin workers’ average pay — an average — increased significantly over the last year. David Clarey reports Wisconsin workers’ average pay jumps 5.3% from last year:

Wisconsin workers’ pay rose over 5% from a year ago at this time, slightly outpacing the national average, according to a new report.

The June 5 report from payroll company ADP shows that the median annual pay in Wisconsin in May reached $59,000, up 5.3% from a year ago. That slightly beat out the nationwide median pay of $58,300 and 5% increases.

ADP’s report uses salary data from about 10 million employees over a 12-month period to calculate the data, it said in a media release.

….

ADP’s figures are slightly higher than what USA TODAY reported in February. That report showed that the average annual salary in Wisconsin was $58,552.

The United States Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported its official statistics for May 2023 in April 2024. At that time, it said the annual average wage was $59,500 out of 2,885,990 workers in Wisconsin. Nationally, the annual average wage was $65,470.

These reported wage increases are averages, and ADP’s method is a private assessment. Even within Wisconsin, there are sure to be significant variations in employment levels and salary gains. Nonetheless, gains in individual and household incomes are a foundational measure of community prosperity. The measure of an advanced, productive market economy is whether it advances personal and household well-being across all parts of a community. In this regard, the goal should be the broader the gains, the better.

Some of us in Whitewater have done well over the last generation, but some of us is an inadequate achievement. How odd that, despite having lived long in this city, a few of us don’t seem to grasp this fundamental economic goal (and moral principle).


Wildfires rage in California and New Mexico:

Film: Tuesday, June 25th, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Mudbound

Tuesday, June 25th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of Mudbound @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

Drama/War/Historical

Rated R (violence, language)

2 hours, 14 minutes (2017)

Two men, black and white, return from World War 2, to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war. A highly regarded film depicting the times. Nominated for 4 Oscars; an AARP Best Movies for Grownups.

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

Daily Bread for 6.20.24: Wisconsin Supreme Court Considers Gubernatorial Partial Veto

Good morning.

Thursday, the first day of summer, in Whitewater, will be cloudy with a possibility of afternoon showers and a high of 83. Sunrise is 5:16 and sunset 8:36 for 15h 20m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 97.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1944, the Battle of the Philippine Sea concludes with a decisive U.S. naval victory. The lopsided naval air battle is also known as the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.”


Wisconsin governors, since 1930, have had the power to veto legislation in whole or part, and that power has been controversial for nearly as long. Rich Kremer reports High Court To Review Wisconsin’s Nearly-Century-Old Veto Power (‘Business group’s lawsuit challenges Gov. Evers’ partial veto to create 400 years of funding’):

The state’s partial veto dates back to 1930, when concerns about state lawmakers adding multiple appropriation and policy items into what are known as omnibus bills came to a head. The Wisconsin Constitution was amended to give more power to governors to reject those items, one by one.

“Appropriation bills may be approved in whole or in part by the governor, and the part approved shall become law,” the new amendment read.

According to a study by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, proponents believed governors needed a check on the new budgeting process. But opponents worried giving governors more veto authority extended the already broad powers of the executive branch.

When he was campaigning for governor, Philip La Follette said the proposal to expand veto powers “smack[ed] of dictatorship.” The amendment was approved by around 62 percent of voters in 1930, and after he was elected, La Follette became the first governor to use it.

Nine times, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has heard challenges to the partial veto. The case now pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court will make it an even 10.

This tenth challenge is over Evers’s use of the partial veto power:

Evers’ partial veto last summer caught the Republican-controlled Legislature by surprise. By crossing out a 20 and a dash before he signed the state’s two-year budget, Evers authorized school districts to collect additional property taxes to fund a $325 per-pupil increase for more than 400 years. The Legislature intended the increase to expire in two years.

Republican lawmakers were outraged. The GOP-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted to override Evers’ veto, but the Assembly never followed suit.

The challenge the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to hear Monday, which was brought by the business lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, alleges Evers’ veto violates the state’s constitution. The first legal briefs are due by July 16.

Evers’s expansion of the legislative funding until 2425 was unexpected (and I’d argue that expansion goes too far). And yet, and yet, his actions are a clever expression (and send-up) of political gamesmanship. I don’t know Evers’s childhood reading and viewing habits. Still, his partial veto suggests someone who enjoyed the irony and satire of Mad magazine or has a Bugs-Bunny-level cleverness.

(Bugs is, possibly, one of the sharpest Americans ever. In my household, to trick someone playfully, to pull something clever over on someone, is to ‘Bugs Bunny‘ that person. Evers certainly Bugs Bunny-ed the legislative majority with his partial veto.)

Bugs Bunny’s first on-screen appearance in A Wild Hare. Fair Use.

Japanese salamanders can live up to 80 years:

The aptly named Japanese giant salamander can grow up to five feet long and weigh over 50 pounds. But despite its primitive look, this amphibian is highly evolved. When it detects a threat, it excretes a pungent ooze that smells like a pepper. If left alone, the salamanders can live up to 80 years, but pollution and over-collection are threatening this fascinating creature. This is the Japanese giant salamander.

A Few Asides for 6.19.24

The idea of this serialized draft is to write — again and again with no fixed schedule — about the economic and development policies of Whitewater over the last generation. Serialized, as presented in installments; a draft, as a preliminary work to be edited and refashioned later.

Whether one favors or disfavors Whitewater’s approach over the last thirty-odd years, anyone should admit there’s a story in that approach, tales in that history, lessons for us and for the next generation.

For those who were and are policymakers in Whitewater, there should be composure and confidence in examining and weighing evidence from the past, sifting and sorting new information, and hearing arguments and counterarguments about economic & development policy.

Whitewater is a beautiful but occasionally dyspeptic community. The most effective way to avoid the annoyance and anger that arguments and counterarguments generate is to make the presentation of arguments and counterarguments routine, ordinary, and so commonplace.

Arguments are easy enough to make, but accepting counterarguments as part of ordinary discourse has not been one of Whitewater’s strengths. (What does an incontrovertible claim look like? Like this: “accepting counterarguments as part of ordinary discourse has not been one of Whitewater’s strengths.”)

Local government should investigate and reflect on its own past conduct, reporters should convey the issues of the day in the language in which contending parties speak and write, and residents must be free to speak and write in observation or participation in those issues.

Category Link for the Series: A SERIALIZED DRAFT.

Daily Bread for 6.19.24: Thru-Hiking in Wisconsin

Good morning.

Juneteenth in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a possibility of afternoon showers and a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:16 and sunset 8:36 for 15h 20m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 93.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Lakes Advisory Committee meets at 3:30 PM, the Finance Committee meets at 5 PM, and the Parks & Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1814, Fort Shelby is dedicated in Prairie du Chien:

During the War of 1812, Missouri governor William Clark recognized the location’s strategic importance and sent approximately 150 soldiers to build the fort. The fort did not remain in American hands for long; British troops with the assistance of 400 Indians took the fort on July 20th and renamed it Fort McKay. After the end of the war, the British burned the fort, but the Americans constructed another building at the site in 1816 and named it Fort Crawford.

On this day in 1865, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas are officially informed of their freedom. The anniversary was officially celebrated in Texas and other states as Juneteenth. In 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in the United States.


While I’m a cyclist and not a hiker, there’s much to admire about dedicated hiking. That commitment is apparent from the hikers in Colleen Leahy’s story Thru-hiking the Ice Age Trail: Why some hikers become ‘thousand-milers’ in Wisconsin (‘Hiking the entire Ice Age Trail has exploded in popularity since the 2010s’):

Wisconsin’s own 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail was recently designated a National Scenic Trail

Since the 2010s, thru-hiking the Ice Age Trail has exploded in popularity. From 2012 to 2018, more than 100  people thru-hiked the trail — compared to 76 thru-hikers total in the first four decades of the trail’s existence.

The first-ever thru-hiker has been cited as Earl Shaffer, who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 1948, 11 years after trailblazers finished building the trail from Maine to Georgia. 

Thru-hiking started to become more mainstream in the 1990s and really exploded after the 2012 publication of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.”

Still, why would someone choose to put themselves through the physical pain, dirtiness and occasional dangers that come with living outside for months at a time? 

Melanie Radzicki McManus, who set a record in 2013 for the fastest-known time thru-hiking the Ice Age Trail, joined WPR’s “Wisconsin Today,” and explained how she felt throughout the hiking process. 

“When you get on a trail, all you have to do day after day is walk, eat, go to sleep,” she said. “It’s amazing how relaxing it is. I don’t think people spend enough time with themselves or their thoughts.”

Thru-hiking likely has similarities to multi-day riding, and if so, then one can see that thru-hiking would be relaxing.


Sound of Space Data: Crab Nebula Sonification:

Meeper Technology Loan Investigation, Memo and Documents

An investigation into public money from the Community Development Authority for Meeperbot and sister companies (those under the same ownership) is an investigation by some members of the local government (the municipal administration) into the conduct of other members of the local government (the Community Development Authority). All officials involved were (or are) public officials under the constraints (as they should always be) of law and public policy.

A memorandum describing the present state of the investigation (Rachelle Blitch, Director of Financial and Administrative Services, Meeper Technology Loan Investigation, 6.10.24) and supporting documents are public documents. (Professional reporting about the investigation is available at WhitewaterWise, City officials: Internal investigation finds CDA engaged in ‘lack of proper documentation, communication, and transparency’ when it ‘wrote off’ more than $750,000 in loans.)

The memorandum and supporting documents are embedded below. (The memo appears first, and the supporting documents — of which there are 34 — appear thereafter. Any highlighting or emphasis on the documents is from the public investigation.)

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Direct Link: Memorandum and supporting documents.

As the investigation is an ongoing matter, one can expect more public notes & documents, about these and other recipients.

Category Link for the Series: A SERIALIZED DRAFT. more >>

Daily Bread for 6.18.24: Wisconsin Likely Has Her 2025 Supreme Court Candidates

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of 89. Sunrise is 5:16 and sunset 8:36 for 15h 20m 20s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 87.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Alcohol Licensing Committee meets at 5:30 and the Whitewater’s Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 2023, Titan, a submersible operated by OceanGate Expeditionsimplodes while attempting to view the wreck of the Titanic, killing all five people on board including the co-founder and CEO of the company, Stockton Rush, in the North Atlantic Ocean.


The Badger State likely has her two candidates for a Wisconsin Supreme Court race next year, as Shawn Johnson reports All 4 liberal justices back Crawford’s Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign (‘All 4 liberal justices back Crawford’s Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign’):

Just two days after she announced she was running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Dane County Judge Susan Crawford received endorsements from all four of the court’s liberal justices — a rare sign of unanimity behind a single candidate this early in the campaign cycle.

In a written statement released by Crawford’s campaign Wednesday, Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, Jill Karofsky and Janet Protasiewicz all pledged to support her candidacy.

The court has had a 4-3 liberal majority since last year after Protasiewicz defeated former conservative Justice Dan Kelly, ending the court’s conservative majority that had been in place since 2008. That will be up for grabs next year with Bradley set to retire.

….

While races for the court are officially nonpartisan, in practice, Democratic and Republican activists are heavily involved. Right now, the 2025 race is shaping up as a contest between Crawford, the choice of liberals, and Waukesha County Judge Brad Schimel, the choice of conservatives.

Schimel, a Republican who was Wisconsin’s Attorney General from 2015 to 2019, was the first candidate to enter the race, announcing his candidacy more than six months ago. He said last month that he’d already raised more than $500,000 for his court bid.

A race between Dane County’s Crawford and Waukesha County’s Schimel might seem a match between Wisconsin’s traditional ideological battlegrounds of left and right, but the WOW counties aren’t as influential statewide for the WISGOP as they once were.


Red-Tailed Hawk Chick Makes Foray Towards Fledge Ledge On Exploratory Morning:

Story, Investigation, History

One reads a story, about a municipal investigation, into the conduct of other public officials, serving on the Whitewater Community Development Authority. The story is from WhitewaterWise, City officials: Internal investigation finds CDA engaged in ‘lack of proper documentation, communication and transparency’ when it ‘wrote off’ more than $750,000 in loans.

The story is not mine, as I am not a journalist (and do not aspire to be).

The investigation is not mine, as I am not a member of the government (and do not aspire to be).

And yet, there is a story, and there is an investigation, that points to a history of interest to this libertarian blogger (and doubtless many other residents).

That history has awaited, with patience, our consideration: it is the history that brought us here, all of us, into the present condition of the city. It is unavailing to say that this past must not be considered, as it has already been felt: there is no greater reflection on the past than for residents to feel its effects every day.

While Whitewater is beautiful beyond compare, she has not been a place for thorough and dispassionate reflection. Perhaps she never will be.

Whether dispassionate (as it should be) or overwrought (as it likely will be), Whitewater should press on in thorough consideration of the politics and policies that have brought us here. This consideration will show the measure of the officials who have exercised authority, not merely their measure when in authority, but their measure of composure now during an examination of that authority.

Category Link for the Series: A SERIALIZED DRAFT.

Daily Bread for 6.17.24: Significant Progress on UW-Whitewater’s Budget

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 91. Sunrise is 5:15 and sunset 8:36 for 15h 20m 12s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 78.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Police & Fire Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1673, Marquette & Joliet reach the Mississippi: “Here we are, then, on this so renowned river, all of whose peculiar features I have endeavored to note carefully.”

On this day in 1850, Vega becomes the first star (other than the Sun) to be photographed.


Deficits continue for a handful of Universities of Wisconsin campuses. Joe Schulz reports 6 UW campuses projected to have deficits, even after cost-savings efforts (‘Regent: UW-Oshkosh has depleted its reserves ahead of 2024-25 school year’):

The number of Universities of Wisconsin campuses projected to have budget deficits heading into next school year is down from 2023. But one campus has already used all of its reserves as efforts to address budget shortfalls there have negatively impacted staff morale.

Six UW schools are projected to have deficits next school year, down from 10 last year, according to Board of Regents finance committee documents. The structural deficits at those schools range from nearly $9 million to more than $500,000. 

The six campuses are UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Superior, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater.

….

According to system projections, UW-Oshkosh is facing the largest deficit of any campus going into the 2024-25 school year. 

The other structural deficits are: 

  • UW-River Falls at $3.2 million, up from $2.0 million;
  • UW-Eau Claire at $1.6 million, down from $5.6 million;
  • UW-Superior at $1.5 million, up from $600,000;
  • UW-Parkside at $1.0 million, down from $5.3 million; 
  • And UW-Whitewater at $509,174, down from the $5.9 million.

There’s good news for Whitewater: this is a significant reduction in the structural deficit for our local campus. UW-Whitewater is in a better position now than some other campuses, however uncomfortable deficit-reduction has been.


Colorado rescue team frees dog trapped in house vent:

A twelve-week old Pekingese puppy was rescued in Parker, Colorado, on Tuesday (June 11) after being trapped for three hours in a townhouse vent.

Daily Bread for 6.16.24: Happy Father’s Day

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see morning thundershowers with a high of 88. Sunrise is 5:15 and sunset 8:35 for 15h 20m 00s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 71.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Soothing to be writing as the rain bathes the city only inches from one’s porch.

A quick note: FREE WHITEWATER will begin a series tomorrow, as a serialized draft, on the long fight for good governance in our small and beautiful city. On days with installments, those posts within the series will appear at the top of that day’s posts, and with titles in a different type font from other posts. No title for the series quite yet, other than ‘A Serialized Draft.’ A proper title and other touches will come much later, when the series is compiled into a different, final form.

On this day in 1858, Lincoln delivers his House Divided speech in Springfield, Illinois. See Lincoln’s full speech, delivered at the Illinois Republican State Convention, Springfield, Illinois June 16, 1858.



Watch as arena transforms to hold Olympic swimming pool:

Daily Bread for 6.15.24: Most-Visited Wisconsin State Parks (and the Popular Park Close to Whitewater)

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 82. Sunrise is 5:15 and sunset 8:35 for 15h 19m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 62.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1832, General Winfield Scott was ordered by President Andrew Jackson to take command at the frontier of the Black Hawk War:

Scott was to succeed General Henry Atkinson, who was thought to be unable to end the war quickly. General Scott moved rapidly to recruit troops and obtain equipment for his army. However, while in New York, the troops were exposed to an Asiatic cholera. Just outside of Buffalo, the first cases on the ships were reported and death often followed infection. By the time the ships reached Chicago, the number of soldiers had dropped dramatically from 800 to 150, due to disease and desertion. Rather than going on to the front, Scott remained with his troops in Chicago, giving Atkinson a brief reprieve.

On this day in 1844,   Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber.


Among the most-visited Wisconsin State Parks, Devil’s Lake ranks first. Devil’s Lake is not far away, and it’s exceptional in beauty and diversity of offerings.

The second-place destination, however, may surprise. It’s even closer to Whitewater:

Number 2: Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit attracts about 1.5 million visitors annually. The busiest month is July, when more than 168,000 people arrive.


Clouded leopards from Indonesia: