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Daily Bread for 10.7.21: Michael Gableman’s Candid, and Disqualifying, Ignorance

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 70.  Sunrise is 7:00 AM and sunset 6:24 PM for 11h 24m 13s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

 There will be a meeting of Whitewater’s Finance Committee at 4:30 PM, of the Landmarks Commission at 6 PM, and a business meeting of the Whitewater Fire Department also at 6 PM

 On this day in 1774, Wisconsin becomes part of Quebec:

On this date Britain passed the Quebec Act, making Wisconsin part of the province of Quebec. Enacted by George III, the act restored the French form of civil law to the region. The Thirteen Colonies considered the Quebec Act as one of the “Intolerable Acts,” as it nullified Western claims of the coast colonies by extending the boundaries of the province of Quebec to the Ohio River on the south and to the Mississippi River on the west.


Patrick Marley and Natalie Eilbert report Former Supreme Court Justice Gableman, head of Republican review of Wisconsin election, says he does not understand how elections work:

GREEN BAY – The attorney leading a partisan review of Wisconsin’s 2020 election acknowledged this week that he doesn’t understand how elections are supposed to be run.

The admission by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman comes as he subpoenas mayors and election officials.

His comment raises fresh questions about how long Gableman’s taxpayer-financed review will take. He called an Oct. 31 deadline set for him by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester unrealistic.

“Most people, myself included, do not have a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work,” Gableman said in an interview late Tuesday before addressing the Green Bay City Council about his plans.

Gableman’s acknowledgment that he does not know how elections work comes 10 months after he told a crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump without evidence that elected officials had allowed bureaucrats to “steal our vote.” Recounts in the state’s two most populous counties and court decisions determined Joe Biden won by more than 20,000 votes, or 0.6 percentage points.

A spokeswoman for Vos did not say why the speaker hired someone who does not know the ins and outs of elections, rather than an expert on the issue.

Only the best people…


Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s full opening statement at Senate hearing:

Daily Bread for 10.6.21: Trump Whines About Twitter Ban

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 74.  Sunrise is 6:59 AM and sunset 6:26 PM for 11h 27m 05s of daytime.  The moon is a new with none of its visible disk illuminated.

 There will be a meeting to discuss the use of herbicides in Cravath and Trippe Lakes to kill vegetation at 3:30 PM (a ‘Lakes Chemical Aquatic Control Application Meeting’).

 On this day in 1927, The Jazz Singer, the first prominent “talkie” movie, opens.


 Arwa Mahdawi writes Donald Trump desperately needs Twitter. But will he ever be able to beat his ban? (‘Trump has handled his social media exile with all the grace one would expect – and now he’s pathetically grovelling for the chance to tweet’):

According to court documents, Trump’s Twitter ban isn’t just cruel and unusual, it could spell the end of the Republican party as we know it. His legal team’s request for an injunction argues that: “[By] de-platforming the presumptive head and most popular member of the Republican party, cutting him off from the most effective and direct forms of communication with potential voters, [Twitter] is threatening irreparable damage to the Republican party’s prospects in the 2022 and 2024 elections.”

While that analysis may be dramatic, it’s not entirely incorrect. At the very least, the Twitter ban certainly threatens irreparable damage to Trump’s political future. Ask yourself this: would Trump ever have been elected president without social media? He’s admitted he doesn’t think so. “I doubt I would be here if it weren’t for social media, to be honest with you,” Trump said in a 2017 interview with Fox. “Tweeting is like a typewriter – when I put it out, you put it immediately on your show … When somebody says something about me, I am able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it … [W]ithout social media … I would probably not be here talking.”

Trump, like the conservative populists, doesn’t respect private property rights for others.  He and they want to speak as they wish, but insist that others either shouldn’t speak so much (at risk of expanded libel laws) or should be forced to use their private property for Trumpists’ messaging.

No private party owes Trump and his ilk a megaphone.


Aerial footage shows oil spill in Southern California:

Daily Bread for 10.5.21: UW-Whitewater’s Challenges Aren’t Existential

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 70.  Sunrise is 6:57 AM and sunset 6:27 PM for 11h 29m 56s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 1.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

 On this day in 1813, The Army of the Northwest defeats a British and Native Canadian force threatening Detroit.


There are many challenges that UW-Whitewater and other UW System schools face, but they are problems of relative size and ability, not of survival.  Declining enrollments, sexual assault & harassment, and attempts to restrict speech plague these schools, but there’s no reason to think any or all of these problems will lead to school closures. (One has never argued that there would be a collapse for the city or the UW-Whitewater campus; questions of the future are ones of relative strength or weakness, not of extinction.)

Reporting today from Wisconsin Public Radio reminds that the System and its Whitewater campus have been able to improve, at least for now, an unfavorable financial condition.

 Rich Kremer reports UW System tuition, program revenue balances up nearly $189M from 2020 levels:

After a year of spending cuts driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, fund balances at University of Wisconsin System campuses have grown significantly. Tuition reserves, in particular, have increased by more than 46 percent following years of sustained decreases that put some campuses in financial jeopardy.

Tuition fund balances are revenues left over after expenses are paid in a prior campus budget year and used to safeguard against unexpected costs or revenue losses.

According to a new UW System report on a variety of balances, unrestricted tuition fund balances in fiscal year 2021 increased to $333.2 million, which works out to an increase of more than 46 percent compared to the $227.3 million held at the end of the 2020 fiscal year. That’s the highest tuition balances have been since 2015. The increase follows years of consistent tuition fund balance declines driven by anger from Republican lawmakers over the size of balances held by system campuses nearly a decade ago.

Tuition balances increased at every campus this fiscal year compared to last, with some growing exponentially.

  • UW-Stout, which reported a negative tuition balance of $133,181 on June 30, 2020, had a positive tuition balance of $5,630,877 on June 30, 2021. That’s an increase of about 4,328 percent.
  • UW-Whitewater had a tuition balance of $2,908,572 at the end of June 2020. On June 30 of this year, the campus reported an $18,921,710 balance, which works out to an increase of more than 550 percent.
  • UW-La Crosse saw it’s tuition balances grow from $4,824,596 last year to $11,619,669 this year for an increase of nearly 141 percent.

When including what are known by administrators as “program revenue balances,” the total unrestricted pool of funds held by the UW System increased by $189.1 million between fiscal years 2020 and 2021, or about 24 percent.


Animals at the Oregon Zoo Enjoy Pumpkin Treats:

Daily Bread for 10.4.21: The Basis of a Civics Syllabus for Whitewater’s Schools

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see scattered showers with a high of 68.  Sunrise is 6:56 AM and sunset 6:29 PM for 11h 32m 49s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 5.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1957, Sputnik 1 becomes the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.


 The New York Times editorial board writes Jan. 6 Was Worse Than We Knew:

However horrifying the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol appeared in the moment, we know now that it was far worse.

The country was hours away from a full-blown constitutional crisis — not primarily because of the violence and mayhem inflicted by hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters but because of the actions of Mr. Trump himself.

In the days before the mob descended on the Capitol, a corollary attack — this one bloodless and legalistic — was playing out down the street in the White House, where Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and a lawyer named John Eastman huddled in the Oval Office, scheming to subvert the will of the American people by using legal sleight-of-hand.

Mr. Eastman’s unusual visit was reported at the time, but a new book by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides the details of his proposed six-point plan. It involved Mr. Pence rejecting dozens of already certified electoral votes representing tens of millions of legally cast ballots, thus allowing Congress to install Mr. Trump in a second term.

A good education requires the right lessons, well taught. A new athletic field may be useful, but it’s not an education. Flooding social media with photos of smiling students may seem useful, but it’s not an education. (A map, after all, is not the terrain.)  Insisting that all positions are equally respectable may seem convenient, but it’s an abdication of moral responsibility.

Decades ago, it was that era’s traditional conservatives who rightly insisted there was no moral equivalence between America and the Soviet Union. Decades later, the populist conservatives wrongly insist that their views are — and must  — be accorded the same respect as any contrary, reasonable positions.

No and never.

There is a constitutional order, and there are those who fought to destroy it.  There is sound medicine and there are those who tragically eat horse paste.  There is free speech and there are those who seek opportunistically to restrict debate.

While the conservative populists tantrum, and some others look away, there are yet more of us who remember.

And so, and so, in a true defense of a worthy education: craft civics lessons using the facts of January 6, 2021.  

Truth, herself, wrote the syllabus; teachers, principals, and superintendents need only follow the text.


Whistleblower says Facebook is misleading public:

Daily Bread for 10.3.21: Trumpism as a ‘God and Country Lifestyle Brand’

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will see scattered thundershowers with a high of 74.  Sunrise is 6:55 AM and sunset 6:31 PM for 11h 35m 40s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 10.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1990, the German Democratic Republic is abolished and becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany.


 David French asks Did Donald Trump Make the Church Great Again? (‘How unchurched Evangelicals are helping create a God-and-country lifestyle brand’):

From the very beginning of the white Evangelical embrace of Donald Trump, there have been a series of raging debates about how that embrace would affect the church. Will the about-face on, say, the importance of character in politicians alienate people from the church? Will the policy gains from a Republican president be “worth” the partisan anger?

But here’s a question that wasn’t asked quite enough. Will Evangelical devotion to Trump change the nature of Evangelicalism itself? Studying American religion is a complex exercise, one that requires sorting through vast amounts of data.

….

But setting aside the instances of individual conversions, what seems to be happening at scale isn’t so much the growth of white Evangelicalism as a religious movement, but rather the near-culmination of the decades-long transformation of white Evangelicalism from a mainly religious movement into a Republican political cause.

Why do I say the transformation is political and not religious? A key metric here is church attendance. An increasing number of self-described Evangelicals go to church rarely or not at all. The numbers are remarkable. Here is Ryan Burge with the data:

….

It is vitally important to understand these distinctions [between kinds of self-described Evangelicals], in part because it can explain why Evangelical political action can be so cruel and often so disconnected from biblical ethics. Why? One answer is found in the simple reality that not only are vast numbers of white self-described Evangelicals unmoored from scriptural truth, they don’t know biblical ethics at all.

An amusing Twitter anecdote illustrates the point. On Thursday, Beth Moore tweeted this:

She clarified that she was referring Philippians 2:1-18, which famously begins like this:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Russell Moore replied to Beth:

I know these are anecdotes, but it is still absolutely, 100 percent the truth that politicians and activists who seek to mobilize white Evangelicals are trying to mobilize millions of people who do not know or believe scripture and are thus not persuaded by appeals to scriptural principles.

French’s whole essay is worth reading — highly recommended.  He offers a detailed analysis of how Trumpism has turned parts of Evangelical belief into an ignorant ‘lifestyle brand.’  (I’m a mainline Protestant, not an Evangelical, and attend a church well outside the city.  I admire French for his steadfast oposition to Trumpism even from within Evangelicalism. At the least, those who comment on public matters should have a basic grasp of major political, religious, and secular groups. Not all of these groups are, themselves, homogeneous.  Many groups have a poor grasp fundamentals, let alone of what other groups truly believe.)

French’s stark truth: too many of the Trumpists lack a deep moral foundation. Candidly, they lack thorough reading in myriad areas. See from FREE WHITEWATER Formation, General and Formation, Moral.

Of law and politics, they lack an understanding of basic terms, concepts, and history.  Of morality, they’re impulsive, mendacious, malevolent nativists.

Behind the Trumpists, one finds a widespread failure of religious and secular instruction. Failure to teach properly is first a teaching problem; failure to lead properly is first a leadership problem.

There is a particular irony: educators in schools and colleges who have failed to teach properly now often shy from correcting their own educational failures.  Instead, they ask others — in the very name of education — to accept the consequences of their own negligent instruction and administration.  (In this request, they display a decidedly (Local) Fear of a Red Hat.)

No and no again: failed teachers, administrators, or clergy are not owed deference for their self-serving insistence that we should respect all ‘opinions’ and ‘choices’ equally.  Horse paste is horse paste, anti-vax is ignorance, and complaints against the curriculum and safe spaces are infringements on liberty and equality.

Whitewater deserves better.


The Most Beautiful Time Of The Year Has Arrived…

Daily Bread for 10.2.21: Foxconn Slips Away in the Night

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 79.  Sunrise is 6:54 AM and sunset 6:33 PM for 11h 38m 32s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 18.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 2018, the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.


 Adam Rogan reports Foxconn may be purchasing an electric vehicle factory in Ohio as Mount Pleasant plans sit in limbo:

Foxconn reportedly is in the process of purchasing an already-built, 6.2 million-square-foot electric vehicle factory in northeast Ohio.

Lordstown Motors Corp. is “near an agreement to sell its … Ohio factory to Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group,” Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The factory — located in the Village of Lordstown, about halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh — was originally a General Motors Co. factory, sold to Lordstown in 2019 after GM closed it the year prior.

Lordstown is an American electric truck company, reportedly low on cash and facing legal scrutiny for allegedly lying about the number of preorders it had; its founder resigned in June amid the investigation.

Foxconn has been moving quickly into the business of producing electric vehicles and has partnered with California-based Fisker Inc.; Foxconn has promised to make some of Fisker’s first EV vehicles.

As commenter Joe has noted here at FREE WHITEWATER, Fisker has always been an uncertain prospect for the Foxconn, itself an unreliable company. Credit where credit is due: Foxconn managed to find a company as disreputable as it is (“Lordstown is an American electric truck company, reportedly low on cash and facing legal scrutiny for allegedly lying about the number of preorders it had”: a perfect match).

Foxconn slips off to Ohio without even leaving a note on Wisconsin’s nightstand…

Previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & FraudFoxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition,  Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re StupidLost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap, Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4, Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation DiscussionAmerica’s Best Know Better, Despite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still Empty, Right on Schedule – A Foxconn Delay, Foxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed Them, Foxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair, It Shouldn’t, Foxconn: Wrecking Ordinary Lives for Nothing, Hey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?, Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!, Foxconn: First In, Now Out, Foxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean no, Foxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of Smoke, Foxconn: Worse Than Nothing, Foxconn: State of Wisconsin Demands Accountability, Foreign Corporation Stalls, Foxconn Notices the NoticeableJournal Sentinel’s Rick Romell Reports the Obvious about Foxconn Project, Foxconn’s ‘Innovation’ Centers: Still Empty a Year Later, Foxconn & UW-Madison: Two Years and Less Than One Percent Later…, Accountability Comes Calling at Foxconn, Highlight’s from The Verge’s Foxconn AssessmentAfter Years of Promises, Foxconn Will Think of Something…by JulyFoxconn’s Venture Capital FundNew, More Realistic Deal Means 90% Reduction in Goals, Seth Meyers on One of Trump’s (and Walker’s) Biggest Scams, the Foxconn DealAdding the Amounts Spent for Foxconn (So Far), and Perhaps – Perhaps – a Few Lessons Learned.


New dinosaur species identified in Brazil:

Daily Bread for 10.1.21: The Truth About ‘Dollar’ Stores

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 88.  Sunrise is 6:53 AM and sunset 6:34 PM for 11h 41m 25s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 27.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1941, Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida.


Whitewater may one day — perhaps soon — have a dollar store. Private retailers should come into the city as they wish, with the fewest restrictions (or enticements) possible.  If people want to shop at a dollar store, they should be free to do so; it’s up to a private business owner to gauge whether there is enough demand in Whitewater to support a new establishment.

The type of business a community can attract will, however, say much about the economic strength of a community.  (As will the types of businesses a community can attract will also say much about the quality of past ‘development’ efforts of officials and business people who advocate government intervention and manipulation of the marketplace.  See Gas Stations, Fast Food, and What the Market Will Bear.)

While people should decide freely where they shop, dollar stores in a community are a sign of weak economic conditions (and the failure of self-described ‘development’ men to bring better despite their boosterism).

 Natasha Frost writes Why dollar stores are replacing supermarkets in low-income neighborhoods:

One by one, dollar stores have replaced full-service grocery stores in some of the US’s most impoverished neighborhoods, sometimes receiving tax incentives to do so. In the poorest areas of North Tulsa, Oklahoma, for instance, there are dozens of dollar stores, but not a single full-service grocery store. Despite local legislation to curb their growth in states including Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, their expansion shows no sign of stopping. While some are corporately owned, many are franchised. Liberty Opportunities, which brokers these franchises arrangements, promotes them as a good investment even in times of scarcity: “During the recession, dollar stores continued to stay strong and achieve profits.”

For these franchisees, the economics mean it makes perfect sense to open a dollar store rather than a grocery store: Without stocking perishables such as meat, fruit, or vegetables, managers can avoid leaving a margin for spoilt produce, refrigeration costs, or other issues of stock management.

But these are hardly neighborhood assets. They plunge residents into food insecurity by obliging them to furnish their diet with comparatively expensive, unhealthy options and further trapping them in cycles of poverty and ill-health. African-American residents, the elderly, and those on fixed incomes are a particular target—and those with the fewest alternative options.

It’s bad for the community in other ways, too: The corporate policies of dollar stores often limit how much they can support the community and its sports teams or faith-based organizations, compared to grocery stores. What’s more, they employ as much as 50% fewer staff than grocers, in jobs with few transferable skills and pay as little as legally possible (and sometimes even less than that).

  Zachary Crockett explains The economics of dollar stores:

 Alec MacGillis writes The True Cost of Dollar Stores:

Because dollar stores are heavily concentrated in poor towns and neighborhoods, many middle- and upper-middle-class consumers are unaware of their ubiquity—or of the frequency of armed robberies and shootings. In 2017, the manager of a Dollar General in Baltimore, where I live, was shot and killed as he was closing up. But I discovered the pervasiveness of the problem while reporting elsewhere. In Dayton, Ohio, I got to know Jimmy Donald, who was working for a heating and air-conditioning contractor while trying to start an organization to help ex-felons and others with troubled backgrounds, a category that included himself. Donald, who is thirty-eight, served in the Marines in Iraq. He then spent four years in prison, after being involved in the beating death of a man outside a Michigan bar, in 2004. He lived on the west side of Dayton, which is predominantly black; as the area has lost several grocery stores, the dollar-store chains have proliferated.

This correlation is not a coincidence, according to a 2018 research brief by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which advocates for small businesses. The stores undercut traditional grocery stores by having few employees, often only three per store, and paying them little. “While dollar stores sometimes fill a need in cash-strapped communities, growing evidence suggests these stores are not merely a byproduct of economic distress,” the brief reported. “They’re a cause of it.”

The arrival of a dollar store is like the presence abandoned cars by the side of the road: it’s a bad sign.


Tonight’s Sky for October:

Daily Bread for 9.30.21: Immunization Mandates Are Right and Effective

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 85.  Sunrise is 6:51 AM and sunset 6:36 PM for 11h 44m 18s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 36.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1947,  1947 World Series (Yankees v. Brooklyn Dodgers, with Yankees in 7) begins. It is the first to be televised, to include an African-American player, to exceed $2 million in receipts, to see a pinch-hit home run, and to have six umpires on the field.


 David Leonhardt writes The Right to Health (‘Immunization mandates aren’t new. One helped win the American Revolution’):

The United States owes its existence as a nation partly to an immunization mandate.

In 1777, smallpox was a big enough problem for the bedraggled American army that George Washington thought it could jeopardize the Revolution. An outbreak had already led to one American defeat, at the Battle of Quebec. To prevent more, Washington ordered immunizations — done quietly, so the British would not hear how many Americans were sick — for all troops who had not yet had the virus.

It worked. The number of smallpox cases plummeted, and Washington’s army survived a war of attrition against the world’s most powerful country. The immunization mandate, as Ron Chernow wrote in his 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Washington, “was as important as any military measure Washington adopted during the war.”

….

As was the case with Washington’s army, the mandates are largely succeeding:

  • California’s policy has led thousands of previously unvaccinated medical workers to receive shots in recent weeks. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, about 800 additional workers have been vaccinated since the policy was announced last month, bringing the hospital’s vaccination rate to 97 percent, according to my colleague Shawn Hubler.

  • When New York State announced a mandate for hospital and nursing-home staff members in August, about 75 percent of them had received a shot. By Monday, the share had risen to 92 percent. The increase amounts to roughly 100,000 newly vaccinated people.

  • At Trinity Health, a hospital chain in 22 states, the increase has been similar — to 94 percent from 75 percent, The Times’s Reed Abelson reports. At Genesis HealthCare, which operates long-term-care facilities in 23 states, Covid cases fell by nearly 50 percent after nearly all staff members had finished receiving shots this summer.

Often, the number of people who ultimately refuse the vaccine is smaller than the number who first say they will. Some are persuaded by the information their employer gives them — about the vaccines’ effectiveness and safety, compared with the deadliness of Covid — and others decide they are not really willing to lose their jobs.

A North Carolina hospital system, Novant Health, last week suspended 375 workers, or about 1 percent of its work force, for being unvaccinated. By the end of the week, more than half of them — about 200 — received a shot and were reinstated.

It’s a free labor market: employees who don’t want to be vaccinated can find jobs elsewhere, with smaller or less responsible employers.  Under no circumstances should they receive unemployment compensation for dismissal or quitting after an employer immunization mandate. See The ‘Personal Responsibility’ Crowd Wants a Handout and No Shirt, No Shoes? No Service

See also Cato adjunct scholar, and George Mason law professor, Ilya Somin on why vaccine mandates are consistent with libertarian views. (Summarizing: (1) a disease like COVID involves the potential of harm to other people (2) mask mandates, lockdowns, and restrictions on international travel are all much more intrusive than the relatively slight imposition of a safe and effective vaccine (3) there is a strong libertarian case that private institutions, and even the government when acting as employer, can set policies attached to what are voluntary relationships: employees, customers, students, etc. (4) Florida’s recent attempt to ban private businesses such as cruise lines from adopting vaccine requirements has already suffered defeat in court and is one example of an affront to libertarian sensibilities.)


This Coonhound Holds the World Record for Longest Dog Ears:

Daily Bread for 9.29.21: Killer Otters and Toilet Rats

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 84.  Sunrise is 6:51 AM and sunset 6:44 PM for 11h 47m 11s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 46.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 6 PM.

 On this day in 1957, the Packers dedicate City Stadium, now known as Lambeau Field, and defeat the Chicago Bears, 21-17.


 Amanda Holpuch reports River otter attacks baffle authorities in Anchorage, Alaska:

Residents of Anchorage, Alaska, used to living alongside moose and bear now face a threat from a more diminutive creature: the humble river otter.

On Friday, the Alaska department of fish and game alerted residents to a pack of aggressive otters which have attacked dogs, children and adults near creeks, rivers and lakes.

Humans are river otters’ only significant predator. Attacks the other way are not common, officials said. Nonetheless, a spate of reported incidents prompted the official warning.

“Because of the risk to public safety, efforts will be made to locate this group of river otters and remove them,” authorities said. “Care will be taken to only remove the animals exhibiting these unusual behaviors.”

Last week, a woman was bitten while rescuing her dog from otters at a lake. The same day, in another part of the city, a group of otters attacked a dog.

Earlier this month, a nine-year-old boy went to the emergency room after four otters chased him and his friends while they played near a duck pond in east Anchorage.

The boy’s mother, Tiffany Fernandez, told the Anchorage Daily News: “He has two fang marks on his back thigh and one on the front thigh on each leg. [He has] one puncture wound on his foot.”

Authorities said the otters would be tested for rabies, which could explain their aggression, though there had been no recent reports of rabid otters in the region.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the Guardian reports Toilet rats! Vermin are all over Britain – and they’re climbing up our waste pipes:

Name: Toilet rats.

Age: Nothing new, but an upward trend.

Appearance: Like a regular rat, but this time in your toilet.

I’ll be honest: I do not like the sound of this one bit. You are not alone.

How did the rat get in the toilet in the first place? It came up the waste pipe.

You mean they’re coming from the toilet? That’s correct.

Why is this happening? It started during the first lockdown in 2020, when entire business districts were depopulated. With less rubbish lying around to eat, rats invaded abandoned offices in search of food.

By swimming up the loo pipes? If toilets aren’t being used the water in the U-bend can evaporate, making them even easier for rats to access.

So as long as someone flushes the loo regularly, everything’s fine? Not really. Rats are excellent swimmers – they can hold their breath for three minutes and tread water for three days. If they want to get in your toilet, they will.

OK, that settles it – I am never going back to the office. The rats have taken that into consideration. With food supplies in city centres running low, they’re now invading our homes as well.

Please no. “I was called out to one job in Norwich and the customer could barely speak, she was in so much shock,” the pest control expert Andrew Dellbridge told the Norwich Evening News.

Don’t tell me any more. “She’d been using the bathroom and heard a noise,” he said. “She looked down and it was in the toilet bowl. And this is happening more and more frequently.” Chilling.

These are not ordinary times.


 In Canary Islands, a “miracle house” spared by the lava flow of La Palma:

Daily Bread for 9.28.21: Millions Then, Only a Couple of Dozen Now

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 78.  Sunrise is 6:50 AM and sunset 6:40 PM for 11h 50m 03s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 55.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The Whitewater Finance Committee meets at 4:30 PM.

 On this day in 1066, William the Conqueror lands in England, beginning the Norman conquest.


 Patrick Marley reports Republicans say they want few redistricting changes, but a decade ago they moved millions of voters into new districts:

MADISON – Republican state lawmakers say they want to make as few changes as possible to Wisconsin’s election maps, but they took a dramatically different approach when they drew new legislative districts a decade ago.

Then, GOP lawmakers moved huge swaths of voters into new districts to help create maps that would give them large majorities in the Legislature. In one case, they moved 719 times more voters than they needed to move in one Assembly district.

Now, Republicans are claiming changes to the districts should be minimal — an approach that would ensure the next set of maps continues to help Republicans.

States must draw new maps after each census to make sure districts have equal populations. How the lines are drawn can dramatically boost one political party’s electoral chances.

….

A panel of three judges that year [2012] noted that about 320,000 people needed to be moved into new Assembly districts to balance the populations of the districts. Instead, Republicans moved nearly 2.4 million voters into new Assembly districts as they drew maps to maximize their advantage, the court noted.

Similarly, lawmakers needed to move about 230,000 voters into new Senate districts but instead moved 1.2 million of them. (While all of those voters were placed in new districts, many of them stayed on the same election schedule and didn’t have to wait an extra two years before they could vote in a Senate race.)

At a district-by-district level, the changes could be dramatic.

For instance, lawmakers needed to make virtually no changes to the 60th Assembly District in Ozaukee County because it was underpopulated by just 10 people. Republican legislators instead decided to move about 17,600 people out of the district and about 18,000 people into the district. The shift moved 719 times as many people as what was needed, University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Ken Mayer noted in court testimony at the time.

For the WISGOP, that was then, but this is now…

See also Wisconsin Counties Backing Fair Maps and But Whose New Maps for Wisconsin?


Ford Announces $11 Billion Investment In Electric Vehicle Production:

Daily Bread for 9.27.21: Good Public Health Policy is True Optimism

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 86.  Sunrise is 6:48 AM and sunset 6:41 PM for 11h 52m 56s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 64.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The Whitewater Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM, Downtown Whitewater’s Board of Directors meets at 6 PM, and the Whitewater School Board meets at 7 PM.

 On this day in 1777, Lancaster, Pennsylvania becomes the capital of the United States for one day after Congress evacuates Philadelphia.


 Andrea Salcedo reports A school photographer told a first-grader he could shed his mask. He politely declined: ‘My mommy told me not to’:

“Mason, 6, declined to remove his navy mask for his first-grade photos” (© Dorian Studio, 2021 via Washington Post)

On the day of his first-grade school photos, 6-year-old Mason told his mom he was excited to show the camera his new “big boy” smile. He recently lost four teeth.

But when the photographer asked Mason to take off his navy mask before snapping his picture, Mason politely declined, his mom Nicole Peoples told The Washington Post.

“My mommy told me not to take my mask off,” Mason replied.

“Are you sure you don’t want to take it off?” the photographer asked.

“No, my mommy seriously told me to keep it on unless I’m eating and far away from everybody,” Mason said.

Perhaps he could take it off for two seconds so she could snap a quick photo, the photographer suggested.

“No, I always listen to my mommy,” Mason said.

The Nevada first-grader said “cheese,” but he wore his mask through the entire photo shoot.

“He stood his ground,” Peoples, 33, told The Post.

Masks in schools have become a flash point across the country as the United States battles another surge in coronavirus cases amid the highly transmissible delta variant. Some schools have implemented mandatory mask policies, while others have said they are recommended but not required. (Masks are mandatory in Mason’s school, his mom said.)

Before this year’s in-person classes began, Peoples told her son about the covid safety measures she expected him to follow, she said. Mason, who lost his great-grandfather to covid earlier this year, agreed not to drink from the water fountain, to keep his mask on except when eating or drinking, and to regularly wash his hands, Peoples told The Post.

Well done.  Mason is a proper American gentleman, and looks suitably sharp.

The very mention of masks infuriates the conservative populists, who set aside their support for banning immigrants and caging children only long enough to complain that simple cloth masks are an infringement on their liberty.  No number of studies will deter this edgy and impulsive horde. They’re much for ‘hope over fear’ and ‘common sense’ until they so quickly lose their cool and start shouting. It’s a short distance for these populists to a destination of heads shaking, arms raised, and shouts of ‘what, what, what?!!’… Chilled Aryan blood proves neither chilled nor Aryan.

Personal responsibility should never be so hard. See Jane Jacobs with Useful Advice on Responsibility (for Whitewater, Richmond Township, Delavan, Etc.)

Officials in small rural communities like Whitewater go on at length about any subject except the pandemic and public health measures to control it.  They mean by this — or at least they insist that they mean — that it’s important to be positive.

Their positivity is merely a transparent evasion of responsibility.

There is, however, reason for a grounded, serious optimism. One finds it in Mason, and so many others, all across America.

See also Boosterism’s Cousin, Toxic Positivity and Tragic Optimism as an Alternative to Toxic Positivity (‘Indeed, much of FREE WHITEWATER is a critique of the boosterism — the accentuation of the positive without regard to real conditions — of some in Whitewater before, during, and after the Great Recession. As much as FREE WHITEWATER is a libertarian blog, it’s also the website of a tragic optimist with a mainline Protestant formation.’)


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