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Author Archive for JOHN ADAMS

Film: Tuesday, June 25th, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Isn’t It Romantic

This Tuesday, June 25th at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of Isn’t It Romantic @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin community building:

Isn’t It Romantic” (Comedy/Fantasy/Romance)

Tuesday, June 25, 12:30 pm
Rated PG-13; 1 hour, 29 minutes

OK, all of you fans of Hallmark Channel romance comedies: this one’s for you! A plus-sized young woman (Rebel Wilson) disenchanted with love finds herself trapped inside a “rom com” from which there is no escape. Also stars Liam Hemsworth and Adam Devine. A hilarious take on all of these conventions.

One can find more information about Isn’t It Romantic at the Internet Movie Database.

Enjoy.

Daily Bread for 6.23.19

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see occasional thundershowers with a high of seventy-six.  Sunrise is 5:17 AM and sunset 8:37 PM, for 15h 20m 09s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 67.4% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the nine hundred fifty-seventh day.

It’s Whitewater Heritage Day, with a tour of older local homes and related events:

The Whitewater Heritage Day event runs from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, June 23, 2019, and features architectural and cultural history within Whitewater’s Main Street Historic District. All proceeds from tour tickets benefit restoration of the Bassett House. Properties open for touring that day are Bassett House, Victoria on Main (Engebretsen-Dorr Home), Delta Zeta Sorority (George Esterly Home), Cultural Arts Center (White Memorial Building), Hamilton House, and Smith-Allen House. The Whitewater Arts Alliance at White Memorial Building will offer a one-day pop-up exhibit featuring local artists showing images of Whitewater subjects. In addition, the Whitewater Historical Society Museum at the Train Depot will also be open from 10am to 4pm. Food Truck Festival (10am – 2pm) at the public library parking lot across from Smith-Allen House, and Ice Cream Social at Bassett House (1-3pm). Shuttle van available. Tour tickets are $15 each available day of event. No charge to enter White Memorial Building to view pop-up art show! Or to visit Depot Museum!

On this day in 1911, the first home-built airplane flies:

On this date Wausau native John Schwister became a pioneer in Wisconsin aviation by flying the state’s first home-built airplane. The plane, named the “Minnesota-Badger,” was constructed of wooden ribs covered with light cotton material. Powered by an early-model aircraft engine, the “Minnesota-Badger” flew several hundred feet and reached a maximum altitude of 20 feet. [Source: Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame]

Recommended for reading in full:

Kayla Epstein, Nick Miroff, Seung Min Kim, and Maria Sacchetti report Trump says he will put deportation efforts on hold temporarily:

President Trump abruptly suspended his wide-ranging threat to deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants starting Sunday, demanding that Democrats and Republicans forge a plan to stanch the record flows of asylum-seeking families across the southern border into the United States.

Trump had announced the raids Monday in a surprise tweet that ignited a frenzy of fear in immigrant communities nationwide and drew criticism from law enforcement and elected officials in California, New York and other states. Then, in a move that has become a hallmark of his chaotic presidency, he reversed the plan in a tweet Saturday, mere hours before the raids were to begin.

Trump tweeted that he had “delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.”

“If not, Deportations start!” he wrote.

(Trump’s like a man who threatens to beat his wife, tells her he’ll hold off for a bit, and expects everyone to be grateful to him for it.)

How This Mexican Chef Is Changing Perceptions With Food:

Daily Bread for 6.22.19

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of seventy-four.  Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:37 PM, for 15h 20m 17s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 76.1% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the nine hundred fifty-sixth day.

On this day in 1944, Pres. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill into law.

Recommended for reading in full:

Nick Miroff reports ICE raids targeting migrant families slated to start Sunday in major U.S. cities:

President Trump has directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to conduct a mass roundup of migrant families that have received deportation orders, an operation that is likely to begin with predawn raids in major U.S. cities on Sunday, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of the plans.

The “family op,” as it is referred to at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, is slated to target up to 2,000 families in as many as 10 U.S. cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and other major immigration destinations, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the law enforcement operation.

(Trumpism is bigoted authoritarianism at home and subservience to authoritarians abroad.  Nothing delights his base like actions against non-white migrants.)

Annie Gowen reports ‘I don’t know how we’re going to survive this.’ Some once-loyal farmers begin to doubt Trump:

Like farmers around the country they [residents of Orient, S.D] were faced with gut-wrenching choices: Plant their corn in muddy fields or file an insurance claim? How much would they receive from the $14.5 billion of aid that Trump promised in May to offset their losses from China’s tariffs, and what crops would they have to plant to receive it?

Some rural residents are growing increasingly frustrated with the ongoing trade feuds and wonder how long Trump will call upon farmers to make sacrifices as the country’s “patriots.”

“People are starting to say, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to survive this,’?” said Martinmaas, who voted for Trump in 2016, but says he’s open to a Democrat like Montana Gov. Steve Bullock this time. “You know, we’re the ones taking the brunt of it in all these negotiations, so they need to be kind of helping us out right now.”

Martinmaas, whose family homesteaded this land in 1888, said his farm operation lost more than $700,000 last year. He’s had to put a moratorium on buying new equipment, and he’s stuck with grain bins full of soybeans, because China isn’t buying. Other farmers can’t pay their bills for the hay and grain they bought from him.

Martinmaas, 69, says he’s skeptical that Trump’s aid package will help, given the uncertainty about how much individual farmers will receive and who will qualify.

(People choose freely: sometimes well, sometimes poorly.  To choose Trump is to choose poorly.)

Why There Is A Helium Shortage:

Trump’s Base Delights in Tales of Others’ Deprivation

In this conflict between defenders of America’s liberal democratic order and Trumpism, those of opposition and resistance have wisely steeled themselves for stories of cruelty as state policy. Trumpism’s aim is a herrenvolk, where his demographically homogeneous base receives permanent preference over others, and in which that same base delights in deprivations and depravities inflicted on anyone outside their own horde.

One should not be surprised, then, when Meagan Flynn reports Detained migrant children got no toothbrush, no soap, no sleep. It’s no problem, government argues:

The government went to federal court this week to argue that it shouldn’t be required to give detained migrant children toothbrushes, soap, towels, showers or even half a night’s sleep inside Border Patrol detention facilities.

The position bewildered a panel of three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Tuesday, who questioned whether government lawyers sincerely believed they could describe the temporary detention facilities as “safe and sanitary” if children weren’t provided adequate toiletries and sleeping conditions. One circuit judge said it struck him as “inconceivable.”

“To me it’s more like it’s within everybody’s common understanding: If you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap, if you don’t have a blanket, it’s not safe and sanitary,” Senior U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima told Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian. “Wouldn’t everybody agree to that? Would you agree to that?”

Fabian said she thought it was fair to say “those things may be” part of the definition of safe and sanitary.

“What are you saying, ‘may be?’” Tashima shot back. “You mean, there’s circumstances when a person doesn’t need to have a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap? For days?”

The Trump Administration doesn’t need to win these legal conflicts; it simply has to show Trump’s base that it will inflict misery on outsiders, even children, as a sign of commitment to those most fanatical followers.

This ilk often assumes that, if it should go far enough, a tender-hearted opposition and resistance will dissolve into a pool of tears at news of others’ mistreatment.

In this they are mistaken.  One is reminded of the expression that it is foolish to mistake kindness for weakness.

The liberal democratic order, resting as it does on individual rights and dignity, does tend toward kindness.  It does not, however, tend toward weakness, as countless failed autocracies have come to see only too late.

No matter – this die is cast, and the conflict between a traditional democratic order and Trumpism will end with only one of them prevailing.

Daily Bread for 6.21.19

Good morning.

Friday (the first day of spring summer1) in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of seventy-four.  Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:36 PM, for 15h 20m 23s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 84.0% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the nine hundred fifty-fifth day.

On this day in 1788, having been ratified by the required number of (nine) states, the United States Constitution is established (with government under that document to begin on March 4, 1789).

Recommended for reading in full:

 Patrick Marley reports Wisconsin agrees to nearly $5 million in settlements with former teen inmates:

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration agreed Thursday to pay nearly $5 million to three former inmates at Wisconsin’s juvenile prison complex — bringing the state’s total legal bills for problems there to more than $25 million.

The settlements are aimed at resolving allegations that guards broke a boy’s arm, rammed a girl’s head into a wall and punished another girl after a suicide attempt.

The settlements wrap up some of the last of the lawsuits over Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, which have been mired in litigation and investigations for years.

A criminal probe of the facilities ended in April without charges after four years. Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake are scheduled to close in 2021, though Evers has said he may need more time to transfer the teens held there to regional facilities that have yet to be built.

The settlements were announced just hours before the state Assembly passed a bill that would delay the closure of Lincoln Hills by six months, until July 2021.

Under the settlements, the state would pay $1.95 million to Laera Reed, $1.95 million to Paige Ray-Cluney and $875,000 to Jacob Bailey. In all, that comes to $4.78 million.

John Sandy, an attorney for Reed and Ray-Cluney, said in a statement that the pair were held in isolation for 23 hours a day for weeks at a time in urine-stained cells.

“They had little to no educational instruction or human interaction,” his statement said. “Their severe isolation caused (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression and led to numerous suicide attempts. They lost all hope. Today is, in part, a reclamation of hope.”

(Whatever the financial cost, the personal cost of government misconduct has been greater; no settlement can adequately compensate for physical and emotion injury.)

 Gina Barton reports The family of a man who died after tasing by West Milwaukee police will get $2.5 million:

The Village of West Milwaukee has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the family of a mentally ill man tased repeatedly before his death in May 2017.

The settlement, approved by the Village Board Monday evening, resolves a federal civil rights suit filed by the family of Adam Trammell, who was 22 when police broke down the door to his apartment and tased him as he showered.

How Nike Became The Most Powerful Brand In Sports:

1. Preferring colder weather to warmer temperatures, I’m inclined to substitute mistakenly a warmer season with a colder one.

That’s Not Confidence…

One reads at Politico that

Donald Trump is confident his core coalition of die-hard supporters can propel him to a second term in the White House, asserting in a new interview that he may not even bother reaching out to swing voters in his re-election campaign.

“I think my base is so strong, I’m not sure that I have to do that,” Trump told Time magazine for a cover story published Thursday.

Via Trump says he may not reach out to 2020 swing voters.

Having alienated a majority of Americans, Trump’s base is all he has left.

That’s not confidence – it’s a grim necessity.

Daily Bread for 6.20.19

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see clouds give way to sun with a high of seventy-two.  Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:36 PM, for 15h 20m 24s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 90.4% of its visible disk illuminated.
Today is the nine hundred fifty-fourth day.

On this day in 1816, soldiers arrive at Fort Crawford:

After the War of 1812, the United States Congress approved a plan to erect a chain of forts along the Fox-Wisconsin-Mississippi waterway. In 1816 Fort Crawford was erected on a mound behind the main village of Prairie du Chien. It was a four-sided enclosure made of squared logs, set horizontally. At the two opposing corners stood a blockhouse. Soldiers’ quarters formed the walls of the fort, faced the parade ground, and accommodated five companies. By the middle of the year, the 8th Infantry had established three posts on the east bank of the Mississippi: Fort Edwards, Fort Armstrong and Fort Crawford, the latter named for the Secretary of War.

Recommended for reading in full:

 David Von Drehle writes Jeffrey Epstein’s scandal of secrecy points to a creeping rot in the American justice system:

When rich people are credibly accused of crimes, does the public have a right to know? Should multimillionaires be allowed to silence their accusers with cash?

According to superlawyer David Boies, “dozens” of women who could give testimony about being sexually assaulted as girls by mysterious financier Jeffrey Epstein are silenced by settlements they reached with their alleged assailant. The exact number is yet another secret in this least transparent of criminal cases. “Three dozen or eight dozen, I don’t know, but there are dozens,” Boies told me recently. He himself represents two alleged Epstein victims bound by “non-disclosure agreements” (NDAs).

Because Epstein can afford to buy silence, he may succeed in shuttering the window of accountability pried open in a South Florida court back in February. U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled that federal prosecutors — led by the current labor secretary, Alexander Acosta — broke the law by entering a secret sweetheart deal to allow Epstein to serve a cushy sentence without facing evidence that he assaulted more than 30?underage girls in Palm Beach.

 Tucker Doherty and Tanya Snyder report Chao created special path for McConnell’s favored projects

The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.

Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell — including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold

 Did Iran Attack Ships in the Gulf? What the Evidence Shows

Gas Stations, Fast Food, and What the Market Will Bear

People drive cars, and most cars take gasoline; many people like to get food quickly, and so fast food restaurants meet that desire. There’s nothing wrong with having gas stations or burger joints in a town.

One reads today that Whitewater will sell some city-owned land near a roundabout to a gas station chain, Kwik Trip. There’s been talk like this for years, much of it ill-informed. If the city’s asking price is the market rate for the land (as it seems to be), then it’s better that the property is in private hands.

For it all, however, it’s telling that the market will bear (without public subsidy) only another gas station or fast-food restaurant.

These developments reflect poorly on Whitewater’s Community Development Authority. That public body has developed nothing worthwhile. Grandiose talk and marketing pronouncements now meet the sad truth of limited opportunities.  The last two CDA chairmen simply wasted money and time on sketchy tech startups and trickle down business welfare, while applying the junk policies of their business-league lobbing group to a city for which those policies are wholly unsuited.

Whitewater has lost ground over the last decade while these men played with public money and, perhaps, scrapbooked newspaper clippings about themselves.

Without an uplift of personal and household incomes – areas in which Whitewater lags the state and country – there can be no meaningful community development.

See Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade and A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA.

These run-of-the-mill ventures are a sign of what the market can – and cannot – bear.

Daily Bread for 6.19.19

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will see showers with a high of sixty-eight.  Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:36 PM, for 15h 20m 21s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the nine hundred fifty-third day.

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

On June 19th and 20th in 1944, the United States engages and decisively defeats Imperial Japan at the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Recommended for reading in full:

 Erin Banco, Sam Brodey, Lachlan Markay, and Noah Shachtman report Admin Hid Shanahan’s Dark Past, Senators Say:

The senators tasked with vetting Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan say they were unaware of the accusations of domestic violence in his family that led to his resignation Tuesday. The altercations never came up during Shanahan’s 2017 confirmation hearing for the position of Deputy Secretary of Defense, lawmakers told The Daily Beast, nor did it arise as he was preparing to assume the role of Pentagon chief permanently.

“We’ve been wondering why we have not gotten an FBI report. It has seemed slow to us. And now we understand why,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, adding that he “didn’t know” about Shanahan’s ex-wife’s arrest for punching Shanahan in the face, nor his son’s arrest for attacking his mother with a baseball bat, until reports surfaced in USA Today and the Washington Post about the alleged incidents.

President Donald Trump nominated Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, for defense secretary in March 2019. Since then, his confirmation process lingered, leaving the Pentagon without a confirmed leader for the longest stretch in history and raising concerns among lawmakers who were told that the postponement was partly because of a hold up by the FBI. At least one of those lawmakers called for an investigation on Tuesday as to why they had not been told by the administration about Shanahan’s past.

“I want to know what was known, and whether it was fully disclosed,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who also sits on the armed services committee, told The Daily Beast. “It was material to this nomination when he was proposed for deputy secretary, as well as named his nominee as secretary, although the full paperwork was never sent to us.”

 Felicia Sonmez reports Trump says supporters might ‘demand’ that he serve more than two terms as president:

President Trump on Sunday floated the possibility of staying in office longer than two terms, suggesting in a morning tweet that his supporters might “demand that I stay longer.”

The president, who will kick off his reelection campaign on Tuesday with an event in Orlando, has previously joked about serving more than two terms, including at an event in April, when he told a crowd that he might remain in the Oval Office “at least for 10 or 14 years.”

The 22nd Amendment of the Constitution limits the presidency to two terms.

 Whatever Happened to All the Moon Trees?

A Local Press Responsible for Its Own Decline

If it should be true that government sometimes overreaches – and it does – then part of the responsibility for that overreaching rests with a supine, wheedling press. One finds this locally as well as nationally: while one would expect an American publication to speak truth to power, instead one too often finds local publications that do little more than beg.

A recent editorial in the nearby Janesville Gazette, Attorneys take over Milton School Board, shows how enervated newspapers have become.  The Gazette’s editorialist correctly identifies the problem of unaccountable government but then reveals the paper’s own failure in the face of that problem:

Who’s running the Milton School District, its school board or attorneys?

Judging by how the board has reacted to The Gazette’s inquiries into payments for Superintendent Tim Schigur and Director of Administrative Operations Jerry Schuetz, the latter seems to be in charge.

That’s something for voters to consider next election when board members clam up in the face of questions about the $447,000 resignation packages given to Schigur and Schuetz. These two “voluntarily” resigned effective June 30, and yet Schigur is receiving $148,500 and Schuetz $75,000 for “compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees.”

….

Which brings us to the list of 19 questions The Gazette submitted to Milton school officials seeking more details about these golden parachutes. The district sat on the questions for weeks after receiving them May 14. Then on June 6, School Board President Joe Martin announced the district wouldn’t answer them.

Honest to goodness. That’s it? The Milton School District refuses to reply to the request, and all that this newspaper can say is that the community might consider that refusal at next year’s election?

That’s not speaking truth to power; it’s mumbling while heading for the exit.

Either the Gazette submitted a request under the law or it did not.  If it did not, the newspaper’s questions were no more effectual than water cooler conversations.  If the newspaper did submit good faith questions as a formal matter, then it has failed to defend its rights under the law.  See Public Records Requests as Pre-Litigation Actions for more on how important it is to hold officials accountable for compliance with good faith requests.

Although the Milton School District is outside this website’s local-government portfolio, so to speak, the Gazette’s weak response may encourage other officials near Milton to believe (mistakenly) that they can similarly ignore requesters’ inquiries submitted expressly under law.

The Gazette bemoans unresponsive officials, but that newspaper is responsible for those officials’ temerity, and for its own decline.

Daily Bread for 6.18.19

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of seventy-eight.  Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:36 PM, for 15h 20m 14s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the nine hundred fifty-second day.

The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1812, Pres. Madison signs a Congressional declaration of war against Great Britain.

Recommended for reading in full:

Caitlin Dickerson reports The Youngest Child Separated From His Family at the Border Was 4 Months Old (‘Baby Constantin spent five months of his first year in a foster home. His family got a painful look at America’s experiment with family separation as an immigration policy’):

Constantin was ultimately the youngest of thousands of children taken from their parents under a policy that was meant to deter families hoping to immigrate to the United States. It began nearly a year before the administration would acknowledge it publicly in May 2018, and the total number of those affected is still unknown. The government still has not told the Mutus why their son was taken from them, and officials from the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment for this story.

In Constantin’s case, it would be months before his parents saw him again. Before then, his father would be sent for psychiatric evaluation in a Texas immigration detention center because he couldn’t stop crying; his mother would be hospitalized with hypertension from stress. Constantin would become attached to a middle-class American family, having spent the majority of his life in their tri-level house on a tree-lined street in rural Michigan, and then be sent home.

Now more than a year and a half old, the baby still can’t walk on his own, and has not spoken.

Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti report Trump vows mass immigration arrests, removals of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week:

President Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting “next week,” an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works.

Trump and his senior immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have been prodding Homeland Security officials to arrest and remove thousands of family members whose deportation orders were expedited by the Justice Department this year as part of a plan known as the “rocket docket.”

(Trumpism is a bigoted authoritarianism, and its goal is a herrenvolk state.)

Immunology wars: The battle with HIV