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‘What John Bolton Knows’

From the New York Times, The Daily podcast discusses ‘What John Bolton Knows’:

A firsthand account by John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, directly linked President Trump to a quid pro quo in the Ukraine affair, undercutting a central plank of the defense’s argument. What could that mean for the final phase of the impeachment trial? Guests: Maggie Haberman, who covers the White House and Michael S. Schmidt, who covers national security and federal investigations for The New York Times.

Link to podcast: https://overcast.fm/+LHydKq70M

Daily Bread for 1.28.20

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-two.  Sunrise is 7:12 AM and sunset 5:02 PM, for 9h 50m 10s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 11.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred seventy-sixth day.

Whitewater’s Community Involvement & Cable TV Commission meets at 5 PM, and the city’s Finance Committee meets at 5:30 PM.  

On this day in 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger breaks apart 73 seconds into its tenth mission, STS-51-L, resulting in the death of all seven crew members.

Recommended for reading in full —

Patrick Marley reports Lobbyists and lawmakers barred from sitting on Gov. Evers’ redistricting commission:

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order Monday to establish a redistricting commission that excludes political party officials, lobbyists and lawmakers.

He took that step as GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos left open the possibility he would require lawmakers to sign secrecy pledges as part of the redistricting process he will use, just as Republican leaders did the last time they drew maps.

At a Capitol news conference, Evers said the current maps are so pro-Republican that lawmakers feel they can ignore issues that polls have shown to be overwhelmingly popular, such as medical marijuana and universal background checks for gun purchases.

“Elected officials can ignore those numbers and say, ‘Go jump in a lake’ — something’s wrong,” Evers said.

The move is part of Evers’ long-running effort to draw new legislative and congressional districts without concern for partisan advantage. Vos, of Rochester, scoffed at the notion that the commission would come up with truly nonpartisan maps and said Republicans who control the Legislature will draw their own.

(Emphasis added.)

Jennifer Rubin writes Trump’s defense is irrelevant. Only Bolton matters now:

President Trump’s defense attorneys offered some truly bizarre arguments on Monday. Ken Starr, who played the role of Inspector Javert in the Bill Clinton impeachment, whined that impeachment has become too common. No, really. He said that. Meanwhile, attorney Jane Raskin said Rudolph Giuliani was not looking for dirt on former vice president Joe Biden, even though Giuliani in multiple TV interviews said he was, and many of the 17 witnesses called by the House said he was running point on the operation.

Mostly, Monday’s argument came across as tired and utterly irrelevant. What matters now is whether former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses will now testify, blowing Trump’s defense to smithereens. As of this writing, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have said the Bolton bombshell has underscored the need for witnesses.

Bolton’s book is coming out in March, so the facts will be known whether they come out in the trial or not. Trying to prevent Bolton testimony now would be a confession of Republicans’ spinelessness and would be futile to boot. The facts cannot be hidden any longer.

Trying to raise executive privilege claims to prevent Bolton from testifying was already a stretch. The privilege cannot be used to cover up wrongdoing. And asserting it got a whole lot harder in the past 24 hours, thanks to Trump’s decision to publicly tweet about conversations with Bolton, and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s written statement about what he heard Bolton say.

New Solar Orbiter will take 1st pics of sun’s poles:

Roosevelt’s Speech at Madison Square Garden (10.31.1936)

So this libertarian doubts the economic effectiveness of the New Deal, in its first and later iterations during the Roosevelt Administration.  And yet, and yet… I admire Roosevelt greatly, as he was a courageous man who described the conditions of his time honestly (if the solutions not so well).

His speech on 10.31.1936, announcing a second round of New Deal legislation before a campaign rally at Madison Square Garden, is model of confident, firm conviction. Roosevelt does not flinch; he does not equivocate:

We have not come this far without a struggle and I assure you we cannot go further without a struggle.

For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

Of his critics, Roosevelt expresses no hatred, but boldly welcomes their opposition, even their hatred:

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.

Here is an American resolved in his convictions, and admirable for his resolution. The great men and women of our past were not retiring in the face of others’ opposition. We could, of course, speak softly, politely, gently, and demurely in the face of injustices and deprivations.

To do so, however, would be to turn away from the laudable examples of our past, in favor of the more diffident examples of our present.

(How convenient, indeed, are calls for politesse from those whose policies have been the cause of others’ injuries. Doubt not: America could do with less Emily Post and more John Steinbeck.)

See the full text and audio of Roosevelt’s speech from the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.

Whitewater Schools: Highest Reported Discrimination and Harassment in the Area

Update: 1.27.20  — This story is no longer on the Daily Union website. Removing a story without an explanation is, needless to say, a substandard editorial practice. One can be sure the issue is worth pursuing. Some broken links to it, however, remain.

One reads, from Henry Redman in ‘ON THEIR WATCH’ (‘214 reports of discrimination and harassment in area schools over last five years, documents show’), that of eight Jefferson County school districts “Whitewater, with its 69 reports over five years from a student population of nearly 2,000 students, had the highest rate at 3.6 reports per 100 students.” (Emphasis added.)

Indeed, Whitewater had 32% of all reported area incidents.

Redman quotes education consultant Kate McCoy on the consequences of discrimination and harassment:

Some districts received more complaints than others and some didn’t receive any complaints at all. But many or none, the numbers raise questions about the safety and security of the most vulnerable students in Jefferson County schools.

Does a high number of reports mean that school isn’t protecting its students? Does not having any reports mean the district hasn’t fostered an environment in which students feel comfortable coming forward with complaints?

Whatever conclusions can be drawn from the numbers, the impact of even one incident of harassment or discrimination is not in dispute. Kate McCoy, an education consultant who works with the DPI’s prevention and wellness team, said students can internalize the harassment and start to believe what’s being said — which can have widespread ramifications.

“Any individual is going to be different, of course, but what we know is if it isn’t addressed and it’s persistent, it can undermine learning and lead to students getting less out of education,” McCoy said. “It can take up space in a student’s head; it’s harder to learn when you’re feeling harassed, unsafe. A student is less likely to feel like they belong, less engaged, more likely to avoid things. Less likely to engage in positive things such as sports and extracurriculars and participating in class. Might lead them to act out as a behavioral issue. Over time, it can impact students a lot.”

All of those impacts, whether immediate or delayed, change educational outcomes, according to McCoy.

One need offer no explanation for these numbers to know that they represent distress experienced, and that in absolute and relative terms, they are far too high.

Addendum: The danger here is that Old Whitewater – with a distorted culture of boosterism that accentuates the positive regardless of actual conditions – will discourage reporting as a dark solution to accounts of discrimination or harassment. A culturally-imposed concealment (or willful ignorance), resting on an honor-shame foundation, will always – that is, forever – be the wrong approach.

A worthy project for our time requires that Old Whitewater’s boosterism (harmful in so many areas) be consigned to the dustbin.

Instead, a virtuous approach will encourage reports of injuries, as only in this way can one know and address the full extent of injury.  

(An aside: Redman is perhaps the last reporter in the area who reports in a thorough way. He doesn’t have Whitewater as a beat, but he’s notably stronger than anyone from the Gazette or any Daily Union employee formerly assigned to Whitewater.)

Daily Bread for 1.27.20

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy, with a high of thirty-five.  Sunrise is 7:13 AM and sunset 5:01 PM, for 9h 47m 54s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 6.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred seventy-fifth day.

The Whitewater Unified School District meets in closed session at 6 PM, with open session beginning at about 7 PM. 

On this day in 1880, Edison receives a patent for an incandescent light

Recommended for reading in full —

Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt report Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says:

President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.

The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.

Emily Holden and Jimmy Tobias report New Emails Reveal that the Trump Administration Manipulated Wildfire Science to Promote Logging (‘The director of the US Geological Survey asked scientists to “gin up” emissions figures for him’):

Political appointees at the Interior Department have sought to play up climate pollution from California wildfires while downplaying emissions from fossil fuels as a way of promoting more logging in the nation’s forests, internal emails obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The messaging plan was crafted in support of Donald Trump’s pro-industry arguments for harvesting more timber in California, which he says would thin forests and prevent fires—a point experts refute.

The emails show officials seeking to estimate the carbon emissions from devastating 2018 fires in California so they could compare them to the carbon footprint of the state’s electricity sector and then publish statements encouraging cutting down trees.

The records offer a look behind the scenes at how Trump and his appointees have tried to craft a narrative that forest protection efforts are responsible for wildfires, including in California, even as science shows fires are becoming more intense largely because of climate change.

James Reilly, a former petroleum geologist and astronaut who also said the numbers would make a “decent sound bite,” and acknowledged that wildfire emissions estimates could vary based on what kind of trees were burning but picked the ones that he said would make “a good story.”

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Film: Tuesday, January 28th, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Groundhog Day

This Tuesday, January 28th at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of Groundhog Day @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

(Comedy/Fantasy/Romance)
Rated PG; 1 hour, 41 minutes (1993).

Filmed in Woodstock, IL. (Seniors in the Park was there, last July 31, on their Magical Mystery Tour!)  Groundhog Day this year is Sunday, February 2. Smug TV weatherman Bill Murray goes to Punxsutawney, PA (Woodstock) to cover the Groundhog Day ceremony and finds himself trapped in a daily replay of the same 24 hours, over-and-over-and-over again… A classic comedy/fantasy film!

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

Enjoy.

Daily Bread for 1.26.20

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy, with a high of thirty-three.  Sunrise is 7:14 AM and sunset 5:00 PM, for 9h 45m 42s of daytime.  The moon is new with 2.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred seventy-fourth day.

On this day in 1925, fire destroys the Whitewater Hospital

Recommended for reading in full —

Patrick Marley reports How Gov. Tony Evers’ redistricting plan could give him an advantage in court:

States have to draw new maps every 10 years to account for changes in population. In 2011, Republicans controlled all of state government and were able to put in place maps that gave them big advantages at the polls.

When new maps are drawn next year, Republicans will likely hold the Legislature, but they won’t have the governor’s office. If Evers and Republicans can’t agree on new maps, it will be up to the courts to decide what the new maps will be.

And that’s where Evers’ process can get him an upside.

Republicans drew the 2011 maps in secret, in a secure room in the offices of law firm  Michael Best & Friedrich. The drafters used specialized software to fine-tune the maps to maximize their electoral edge. Republican lawmakers had to sign secrecy agreements to get a peek at what their own districts would look like.

A panel of federal judges found their methods disgusting.

“What could have — indeed should have — been accomplished publicly instead took place in private, in an all but shameful attempt to hide the redistricting process from public scrutiny,” the judges wrote in a 2012 decision.

Those judges – J.P. Stadtmueller, Diane Wood and Robert Dow Jr. — at one point became so frustrated with Republican attempts to block information about how they drew the maps that they ordered lawmakers’ attorneys to pay $17,500 in fines.

Evers is proposing a polar opposite process from the one Republicans used. Under his plan, the commission would hear from people in all eight of the state’s congressional districts. He says the commission would use that information to draw maps that reflect what communities look like and don’t account for partisan advantage.

That could push Republicans to hold a more open map-drawing process than they did last time. If they don’t, they could have a tougher time in court because judges will be considering one set of maps drawn publicly and one behind closed doors.

Anne Gearan reports Trump should apologize for minimizing troops’ injuries, VFW says:

A major veterans group has called for President Trump to apologize for “misguided” remarks minimizing the severity of traumatic brain injuries suffered by U.S. forces in an Iranian air attack earlier this month.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the oldest major U.S. veterans group, appears to be the first large veterans organization to publicly chastise the president for dismissing the injuries as “headaches” and “not very serious.”

Trump “minimized these troops’ injuries,” VFW National Commander-in-Chief William “Doc” Schmitz said in a statement Friday, after a Pentagon announcement that the number of injured troops had risen to 34.

“The VFW expects an apology from the president to our servicemen and women for his misguided remarks,” Schmitz said, adding that the White House should join with the organization to educate Americans about a serious injury that can cause depression, memory loss and other debilitating conditions.

Visiting a French Winery Run by Veterans:

Selected Remarks of Rep. Adam Schiff before the United States Senate, 1.24.20

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., noted at the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump on Jan. 24 how consuming the impeachment proceedings have been. “I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’m exhausted, but I’m also deeply grateful” for the senators’ consideration of the Democrats’ point of view, Schiff said at the top of his concluding statement. Laying out the Democratic case against Trump a final time, Schiff added: “[Trump] has ignored and injured the interests of the nation. That has been proved.” Schiff said he also anticipated Republicans would attack not only him and his fellow Democratic colleagues when they present their case next, but also people central to the facts, like the anonymous whistleblower. “I would encourage you to read that whistleblower complaint again,” he said. “You will see just how remarkably accurate it is. It’s astonishingly accurate.” After spending two days laying out the case for the first article of impeachment — abuse of power — House Democrats spent the better part of Friday making the case for the second article of impeachment — obstruction of Congress.

Daily Bread for 1.25.20

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with morning snow showers, and a high of thirty-five.  Sunrise is 7:17 AM and sunset 4:59 PM, for 9h 43m 32s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred seventy-third day.

On this day in 1932, Janesville, WI continues to prohibit public dancing on Sundays, as on 1.25.1932 that city’s local government deadlocked 3-3 on a motion to allow Sunday dancing.  

Recommended for reading in full —

The Lincoln Project reminds Susan Collins, Do Your Job:

Ilya Marritz and Justin Elliott report Donald and Ivanka Trump Were Involved in Inauguration’s Inflated Payments to Family Business, New Suit Says:

Then-President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka were warned in 2016 that the family business was overcharging the nonprofit presidential inaugural committee — and let it happen anyway, according to a suit filed Wednesday by the Washington, D.C., attorney general.

In the civil complaint, Attorney General Karl Racine charged the Trump inaugural committee and the Trump Organization with using around $1 million of charitable funds to improperly enrich the Trump family.

An experienced event planner who was working for the inaugural, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, raised concerns directly with Donald and Ivanka Trump that the Trump International Hotel in Washington was trying to overcharge the inaugural committee.

“Winston Wolkoff met with President-elect Trump and Ivanka Trump and discussed these concerns with both individuals,” the suit says. “The President-elect acknowledged these concerns and directed that Ivanka Trump would handle this issue.”

The complaint accuses three entities — the Trump Organization, the inaugural committee and the Trump hotel — of subverting the public purpose of a charity for the Trump family’s private benefit.

Jason Wilson reports that the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group operates from Russia:

The Guardian has learned the true identity of the leader and founder of the US-based neo-Nazi terror network the Base, which was recently the target of raids by the FBI after an investigation into domestic terrorism uncovered their plans to start a race war.

Members of the group stand accused of federal hate crimes, murder plots and firearms offenses, and have harbored international fugitives in recent months.

The Base’s leader previously operated under the aliases “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf”. Members of the network do not know his true identity due to the group’s culture of internal secrecy.

But the Guardian can reveal that “Norman Spear” is in fact US-born Rinaldo Nazzaro, 46, who has a long history of advertising his services as an intelligence, military and security contractor. He has claimed, under his alias, to have served in Russia and Afghanistan.

The revelation of his identity comes after a months-long investigation by the Guardian into Nazzaro and the activities of the Base.

While Nazzaro’s most recently used address is in New Jersey, there is evidence supporting his claims of being based in Russia, where he lives with his Russian wife.

The Base – which is an approximate English translation of “al-Qaida” – began recruiting in late 2018. The white supremacy group, which has regional and international cells, extols the virtues of an all-out race war while specifically targeting African Americans and Jewish people.

(Emphasis added.)

Information on the Wuhan coronavirus:

On the Announcement of Budget Cuts at UW-Whitewater

One reads from UW-Whitewater’s chancellor, Dr. Dwight Watson, information about possible budget cuts at UW-Whitewater. (The full announcement appears at the bottom of this post.)

A few remarks:

Announced cuts aren’t always the same as final cuts; there may be fiscal changes yet ahead as the Wisconsin Legislature may act to mitigate this situation (and that of other UW System schools).

These proposed cuts were a matter of discussion for some time, both at Hyer Hall and (more significantly) in Madison. It may be news to Whitewater, but there have been many weeks of discussions beforehand. (An open question was the size of the proposed reductions, and so it seemed best to wait to write about these fiscal challenges.)

It was always a misunderstanding for this chancellor to feel he had the luxury of time to evaluate conditions at UW-Whitewater. ‘Listen, learn, and lead’ should better have been spent on a Rooseveltian 100 days’ effort of urgent change (fiscal being only one of this campus’s serious concerns).

Finally, about former chancellor Beverly Kopper, who has now retired: she was never coming back, for goodness’ sake. (In a disastrous interview in August 2019 with a local paper, Dr. Watson – who spoke as though she would be returning – welcomed that return.) It’s hard to overlook the combination of poor judgment and poor information his remarks represented.

All in all, there are sure to be twists and turns ahead.

Announcement screenshot follows (click image for full size):

Selected Remarks of Rep. Adam Schiff before the United States Senate, 1.23.20

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the lead House impeachment manager, laid out the Democrats’ abuse of power case against President Donald Trump during the second day of oral arguments in the Senate impeachment trial.

Schiff starts by mentioning the president’s tweet urging people to “read the transcript” on the July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has been a focus of the impeachment inquiry. Schiff then reads portions of the call notes released by the White House, highlighting important takeaways for senators.

Schiff said Trump violated the Constitution, and one of the reasons why he ought to be removed? “Trump chose Rudy Giuliani over his intelligence agencies,” he said. “That makes him dangerous.” The White House will give its defense after the House managers have been allowed 24 hours over the course of three days to present their case. The House of Representatives impeached the president in December on two articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The trial will determine whether Trump is convicted of those charges and removed from office, or acquitted.