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Film: Tuesday, December 11th, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park, The Man Who Invented Christmas

This Tuesday, December 11th at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of The Man Who Invented Christmas @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin community building:

The Man Who Invented Christmas (Biography/Comedy/Drama)
Tuesday, December 11 @ 12:30 pm
Rated PG. 1 hour, 44 min. (2017)

Believe it or not, there was a time when Charles Dickens was NOT synonymous with Christmas. This film is set in that time (1843). Dickens (Dan Stevens), the hardest-working writer in 19th Century fiction, is in need of another success and decides to write a Christmas story—but then suffers writer’s block.

To the rescue comes the first character he creates for the story, Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), who goads Dickens into completing “A Christmas Carol.”

One can find more information about The Man Who Invented Christmas at the Internet Movie Database.

Enjoy.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 12.9.18

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of thirty.  Sunrise is 7:14 AM and sunset 4:20 PM, for 9h 06m 26s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 5.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred sixtieth day.

On this day in 1844, Milwaukee’s first daily newspaper, the Daily Sentinel, begins publication.  

Recommended for reading in full:

  Mitch Smith, John Eligon, and Monica Davey report Behind the Scenes in Wisconsin: A Republican Power Play, Months in the Making:

Last spring, after Wisconsin Democrats seized a state legislative seat long held by Republicans and sent a liberal justice to the State Supreme Court, Republicans began to worry. Gov. Scott Walker, preparing to seek a third term, warned his fellow Republicans on Twitter of the “risk of a blue wave” and publicly urged them not to be complacent with fall elections ahead.


During the same period, an aggressive and methodical alternate strategy was emerging behind the scenes. Over the summer, Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, sought a detailed analysis from the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau of the powers of the governor compared with those of the State Legislature.

By fall, with polls showing an extremely tight governor’s race, Scott L. Fitzgerald, the State Senate majority leader, said he and Mr. Vos had conferred about how best to “put on solid ground” some of the policies the Republicans had advanced during eight years of full control of state government.


“We were kicking it around, nervous about the way the elections were going to go,” Mr. Fitzgerald said in an interview.

When Wisconsin Republicans this week pushed through a sweeping set of bills that diminish the power of the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general while expanding that of the Republican-held Legislature, Democrats responded with outrage, calling it a swift and sudden power grab by Republicans.


[Read: A hardball maneuver by Republicans in Wisconsin]

But the plans had actually been months in the making, part of what has become a playbook for holding onto power in places where Republicans have had state control to themselves and now face sharing it. North Carolina lawmakers took similar steps when a Democratic governor was elected in 2016, and in Michigan, where Democrats in the midterms won the offices of governor, attorney general and secretary of state, Republican lawmakers were this month weighing new limits to their opponents’ power.

….

“It speaks to a new brand of politics where you’re seeing a rejection of the social contract that exists with the public where we respect the outcomes of elections,” said Gordon Hintz, the Democratic minority leader in the Assembly. “It’s not really about policy. It’s about undermining our democracy.”

(This maneuver was in character for the WISGOP.  See Once a Gerrymanderer…)

The Sounds of Mars: NASA’s InSight Senses Martian Wind:

Daily Bread for 12.8.18

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of twenty-eight.  Sunrise is 7:13 AM and sunset 4:20 PM, for 9h 07m 16s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred fifty-ninth day.

On this day in 1941, the United States declares war on Japan:

JOINT RESOLUTION Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.

Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America:

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.[8]

Recommended for reading in full:

  Heather Long observes Trump’s two favorite economic metrics — the stock market and the trade deficit — are failing him:

President Trump has made clear that he wants the stock market to rise and the trade deficit to fall, and that his policies will make that happen. But this year, he has been getting the opposite result: The trade deficit is soaring while the market is careening down.


The U.S. trade deficit is at its highest level in a decade, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, and the trade deficit with China is at a record high. Trump’s trade war appears to be making the trade deficit worse as the United States continues to import a lot of foreign goods but has struggled to sell products such as soybeans abroad.

….

“The stock market couldn’t be any more disapproving of the president and his economics team,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, wrote in an email. “This administration has to tone down its war with the world, from European automakers to China importers, or this stock market will completely collapse and make a 2019 recession forecast a reality.”

(Trump’s views, of course, are economically ignorant, and that’s why he’s failing – and harming – America’s workers & investors.  See  Justin Amash responds to Trump in tweets from 12.4 and 12.5.)

Christopher Kuhagen reports A bobcat was spotted in a Whitefish Bay backyard, DNR confirms: 

Bobcats typically are nocturnal, but if they are in a habitat they feel safe they may roam in the nearby area. The animals tend to weigh between 20 and 40 pounds and their diet consists of small game.

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Tillerson Describes Trump as Though Trump Were a Functionally Illiterate Criminal

Aaron Blake reports Rex Tillerson on Trump: ‘Undisciplined, doesn’t like to read’ and tries to do illegal things:

Tillerson said Trump is “pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read,” and repeatedly attempted to do illegal things. He didn’t call Trump a “moron,” but he didn’t exactly suggest Trump was a scholar — or even just a steady leader.

“What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented Exxon Mobil corporation,” Tillerson said, was “to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, ‘This is what I believe.’ ”

….

“So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it,’ ” Tillerson said, according to the Houston Chronicle, “and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law.’ ”

Tillerson’s describing, at bottom, the behavior of a functionally illiterate criminal.… Continue reading

Friday Cat and Dog Blogging: Beanie Shows the Way Forward

Longtime readers know that this website has warned residents about the dangers of marauding coyotes, and their stealthy efforts to overwhelm civilization and rule this planet.  See Coyotes Begin War Against Humanity. Reports about coyote designs on Milwaukee (part of FW’s Daily Bread post for today) show how little time is left to act.

Doubtless, a key component of their strategy is the conquest of Whitewater.

Even if residents have little regard for themselves, the least they could do is prepare their pets.  A chihuahua in the southwest named Beanie, now a viral sensation for wearing products from Coyote Vest, shows us the way forward:


Beanie wears her coyote vest to ward off attacks in the desert.  AMINA AKHTAR / COURTESY

Earlier this week, an image of a tiny dog in some kind of wild neon dog armor began to ricochet around the internet. A popular dog-rating Twitter account pronounced her coyote-proof. The comedian Andy Richter named the little pup the next host of the Academy Awards.

Coyote Vest has a full line of products for dogs – and cats – to keep them safe from coyotes, hawks, or aggressive dogs.  Dogs and cats wearing this gear will not only be safe, but will look sharp in a Mad Max/punk rocker kind of way. (I have no connection to the company, obviously; I just like the idea of denying coyotes and hawks a meal of domesticated pets.)

So, Whitewater: even if thousands of residents foolishly allow the city to be overrun, at least a few properly-equipped pets might survive to carry on, and perhaps one day even rebuild.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 12.7.18

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of twenty-three.  Sunrise is 7:12 AM and sunset 4:20 PM, for 9h 08m 12s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred fifty-eighth day.

On this day in 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacks the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor.

 

Recommended for reading in full:

  Tory Newmyer writes Trump wants to narrow the trade deficit. It just reached a ten-year high:

President Trump’s favored gauge for the health of U.S. trade is veering hard in the wrong direction.

The country’s trade deficit reached a 10-year high in October, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The U.S. bilateral trade deficit with China also reached a monthly record, rising 7.1 percent to $43.1 billion.

Trump has been calling out that gap since the campaign trail as a sign that China is taking advantage of the United States. Never mind that a trade deficit doesn’t mean, as Trump argues, that the United States is losing money to China — rather, simply, that Americans are buying more from the Chinese than the Chinese are buying from Americans.

  Annie Lowrey asks Does Trump Even Understand How Tariffs Work?:

Fundamentally, Trump seems to misunderstand how tariffs work, insisting that they act as a tax on foreign companies and translate into more American wealth. “I am a Tariff Man,” he wrote on Twitter. “When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs.” But the tariffs are acting, as one would expect them to act, as a tax on American consumers, raising domestic prices and slowing the domestic economy. (They’re slowing the global economy, too.)

Despite the back-and-forth, it seems likely that at some point Trump will get some trade concessions from the Chinese and both sides will lift their tariffs. At that point, Trump will undoubtedly declare a “win.” But he won’t have managed to change the Chinese economy, revitalize the heartland, or reduce the United States’ trade deficit—which has grown to a record gap with China since he took office.

  Justin Amash responds to Trump in tweets from 12.4 and 12.5:

I am a Liberty Man. Trade is not raid. Voluntary exchanges make Americans wealthier. ’s tariffs, which create barriers to exchange, are paid for by Americans. Taxing Americans to steer our decisions is social engineering that reduces our economic power and makes us poorer.

….

International trade is like other trade in that it takes place between people or businesses, not countries. Believing that X country is buying/selling Y product from/to the United States likely leads to more mistakes in economic analysis than any other misconception about trade.

Yelping pack brings presence of coyotes alive in Milwaukee area:

Pro-Trump Areas Worse Off Than Ever

Economics professor Anthony W. Orlando writes Is Trump country really better off under Trump? No. It’s falling further behind:

Two years have passed since Donald Trump made his famous campaign promise in disaffected regions across the country: “We are going to start winning again!” For many voters who felt that they had lost ground in recent decades, the candidate argued, a vote for him would be rewarded with renewed prosperity and prominence.

….

By most measures, my latest research shows, Trump counties — and especially counties with higher proportions of Trump voters — continue to fall farther behind the rest of the country economically. The story of our economy, like the story of our politics, continues to be a story of division and divergence.

….

Consider the stark differences in basic measures of local economic performance — employment and housing prices — between counties where the majority of votes were cast for Donald Trump and counties where the majority voted for Hillary Clinton. The average Clinton county employs seven to eight times as many workers as the average Trump county, with nearly double the market value per single-family home. In part, this difference reflects the higher population density of the urban areas, which voted disproportionately for Clinton. But as my analysis shows, it has been growing over time, as the Clinton counties outperform their Trump counterparts.

….

Using a standard statistical technique called “difference-in-differences,” I estimate the difference between Trump and Clinton counties before and after the election and show whether the difference … differs. In other words, I look at whether the economic performance gap narrows. The answer: No. Statistically, there appears to be no significant improvement in job growth. The gap in housing price growth actually widens. In fact, the larger the Trump electorate and the larger the degree of Trump support, the worse the county’s economic performance.

See Orlando, Anthony W., Where’s the Winning? (October 16, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3267509 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3267509.Continue reading

Daily Bread for 12.6.18

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of twenty-seven.  Sunrise is 7:11 AM and sunset 4:20 PM, for 9h 09m 12s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred fifty-seventh day.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets at 6:00 PM.

On this day in 1884, a 100-ounce (2.83 kg) aluminum apex/lightning-rod tops, and so completes,  the Washington Monument’s construction.

On this day in 1821, Wisconsin’s first post office opens.

Recommended for reading in full:

  Mireya Solís writes Enjoy the Trump-Xi trade war truce while it lasts (“But brace for 2019”):

Moving back from the brink of a tariff spiral that would kill the chances of any bilateral talks is certainly good news. But what Trump and Xi have done is merely punt the ball on heated (and perhaps intractable) trade and investment negotiations to 2019. The structural negotiations highlighted above are supposed to move at a fast clip, with only a 90-day window to show substantial results or end the tariff ceasefire.

  Mark Follman observes The Mueller Investigation Grows More Ominous for Trump and His Inner Circle:

“The time that he can get away with lying to the American people all the time and evading accountability is coming to an end.”

That was one of several pointed remarks on Sunday from Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, as he spoke about Donald Trump and the latest revelations from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. In a plea deal made public on Thursday, the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen admitted to lying to Congress about the extent and duration of his boss’ efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. “The fact that [Trump] was lying to the American people about doing business in Russia and that the Kremlin knew he was lying gave the Kremlin a hold over him,” Nadler said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “One question we have now is, does the Kremlin still have a hold over him because of other lies that they know about?”

  William Saletan writes Trump Is More Loyal to Dictators Than to the U.S.:

Trump’s perpetual dishonesty about U.S. intelligence is a threat to national security and American democracy. It’s also a manifestation of his fundamental disloyalty to the United States. Seven months ago, when Haspel was nominated to succeed Pompeo as CIA director, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner cautioned her about serving “a president who does not always seem interested in hearing, much less speaking, the truth.” Other Trump officials, Warner noted, had been “attacked for telling a truth in public that contradicts the White House narrative.” That’s the paradox of working in Trump’s CIA. The despot you have to manage is your own boss.

Why Do Fish Float Upside Down When They Die?:

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The Incredible Shrinking Man

How very odd, truly, that even now Gov. Walker feels compelled to retweet a story from the MacIver Institute praising his tenure. (That organization’s motto –  ‘the free market voice for Wisconsin’ – is incredible: they’ve spent years boosting Walker’s corporate welfare and crony capitalism.  Walker’s shown no understanding of, or respect for, free-market economics.)

It’s part sad, part laughable that he has to reach all the way over to the MacIver Institute to find a publication to praise his tenure – there are few mainstream Wisconsin publications that will.

One has to be small and needy, and likely getting even smaller by the day, to retweet puff pieces on the way out.

Many Wisconsinites – even those of us opposed to @GovWalker – will be surprised at how quickly the state moves on emotionally from him.  His failures will still bedevil, but Walker will resemble the ex-spouse happily ditched and (mostly) put out of mind.

I am reminded of an expression my late father occasionally used at the departure of someone who would not be missed: ‘he’ll be someone else’s headache now.’… Continue reading

Walworth County Average or Below Average in Health of Residents, Influences Contributing to Health

Most of Whitewater sits within Walworth County, a county that ranks in Wisconsin’s bottom half for the overall health of its residents (‘ length and quality of people’s lives’) and average for the influences on health (‘individual health behaviors, social and economic conditions, access to healthcare and the quality of the physical environment’).  Malia Jones of WisContext asks Which Counties Rank Best For Health?  Here’s how Walworth County ranks:

(Jefferson County, in which a smaller part of Whitewater is situated, ranks far better, at 12 of 72 for health outcomes and 14 of 72 for health factors.)

Entire Trump tweet on immigrant aid is wrong

The Associated Press reports an [e]ntire Trump tweet on immigrant aid is wrong:

TRUMP’s retweet: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT (retweet) if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.”

THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. Besides that, immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for most federal benefits, even when they’re paying taxes, and those with legal status make up a small portion of those who use public benefits.

The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees. It was largely a one-time resettlement payment under Canada’s refugee program, not monthly assistance in perpetuity, the fact-checking site Snopes found a year ago in debunking a Facebook post that misrepresented Canada’s policy. A document cited in the Facebook post, showing aid for food, transportation and other basics needs, applied to a family of five.

Apart from confusing Canada with the United States, the tweet distributed by the president misstated how much Americans get from Social Security on average — $1,419 a month for retired workers, not $1,200.

Overall, low-income immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens use Medicaid, food aid, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income aid at a lower rate than comparable U.S.-born adults, according to an Associated Press analysis of census data. Noncitizen immigrants make up only 6.5 percent of all those participating in Medicaid, for example.

(Emphasis added.)… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 12.5.18

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of thirty-three.  Sunrise is 7:10 AM and sunset 4:20 PM, for 9h 10m 15s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 2.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred fifty-sixth day.

Whitewater’s Parks and Rec Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1879, the Humane Society of Wisconsin is organized.

 

 

Recommended for reading in full:

  Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes describe A Flynntriguing Sentencing Memorandum:

First, the document is chiefly interesting for what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say that Flynn has breached his plea agreement and lied to investigators, as Mueller has said about Manafort. It doesn’t say that he failed to provide substantial assistance to the investigation, as Mueller said in the George Papadopoulos sentencing memorandum. It says, rather, that Flynn began cooperating early, that his early cooperation was important in encouraging other witnesses to be candid, and that he has provided substantial assistance to the probe in a number of areas.

Second, Flynn’s cooperation with federal authorities has been diverse and extensive. The document says he has met 19 times with the Special Counsel’s Office and other components. His cooperation appears to involve not merely the Russia probe but also other matters as well. Putting this point together with the absence of complaints about Flynn’s behavior, the affirmative statement that he has given substantial assistance, and the recommendation that he get as little as no jail time, the only conclusion is that Mueller has gotten everything he needs from Flynn.

….

Third, because the addendum to the sentencing memo is mostly redacted, one is left reading tea leaves in the document’s redactions. Some of these are reasonably legible. It seems that Flynn is cooperating in at least three ongoing investigations: a criminal investigation about which all details are redacted; Mueller’s investigation into “any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald J. Trump”; and at least one additional investigation about which all information is redacted.

As BuzzFeed News’s Chris Geidner noted, it appears likely from the length of the redaction bar that the first criminal investigation is not a matter being conducted by the special counsel’s office—though, of course, it’s impossible to know for certain. Notably, however, the addendum does state that Flynn has “participated in 19 interviews with the SCO [Special Counsel’s Office] or attorneys from other Department of Justice [“DOJ”] offices,” which would be consistent with significant cooperation in a matter not under Mueller’s jurisdiction (emphasis added).

See Sentencing Memorandum and Addendum.

The Fall And Rise Of A Fearless Fox:

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