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Daily Bread for 7.26.21

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 92. Sunrise is 5:41 AM and sunset 8:21 PM, for 14h 39m 59s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 92.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM and the Whitewater Unified School District’s board meets in closed session at 5:30 PM and open session beginning at 7 PM.

On this day in 1948, President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, desegregating the military of the United States.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Bruce Vielmetti reports A former deputy who crashed into and killed an MPS lobbyist was serving his 6-month sentence at home until the victim’s family checked:

Joel Streicher’s sentence for fatally striking another driver while on duty for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office didn’t sit well with the victim’s family in April.

Streicher was to serve just six months in jail, with work release, as a condition of two years’ probation.

So imagine how Ceasar Stinson’s loved ones felt when they learned last week Streicher wasn’t serving any time in jail at all but was spending his nights at home, on a GPS bracelet.

They reached out to the sentencing judge, Circuit Judge Michelle Havas.

Chipo Stinson said she was “shocked, offended and disappointed.”

“In light of the fact I lost a husband and father to my children, 6 months behind bars is a paltry price to pay,” she wrote to Havas. “The fact he managed to circumvent this shows how little remorse he has and what little respect he has for the life of my husband that he took and for the lives of those impacted by his callousness and recklessness.”

….

But Havas, as it turned out, may not have known Streicher was not serving any time in jail. She held a hearing on Monday, revoked his Huber privileges, ordered he serve the six months as straight time and set a 5 p.m. Friday deadline for Streicher to surrender.

By Tuesday, Streicher, 52, was residing at the Milwaukee County House of Correction in Franklin.

His attorney, Michael Steinle, did not return multiple messages, but in a court filing, he argues that Havas cannot overrule a sheriff’s discretion to put Streicher on home confinement without violating separation of government powers principles. He wants Streicher released on bail pending an appeal, which could take longer than six months.

 The Associated Press reports Alabama police officer stayed on payroll for two months after murder conviction:

An Alabama police officer who remained on his city’s payroll for two months after being convicted of murder has resigned from the Huntsville police department.

Officer William Darby left of his own accord, the city told WAAY-TV on Friday. He had been on paid leave since his 7 May conviction for shooting a suicidal man who was holding a gun to his own head.

The city said placing Darby on paid leave was normal until its personnel policies and procedures could be completed. Huntsville’s Republican mayor and police chief publicly disagreed with the jury’s murder verdict.

A lawyer for the family of victim Jeffery Parker said allowing Darby to resign instead of being terminated either immediately after the 2018 killing or after his murder conviction was unacceptable and “a bizarre and unnecessary distraction”.

Ingenuity reaches record height on 10th Mars flight:

From Comic-Con@Home 2021: The Science of Art

How is STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) used to inspire and create our most beloved popular arts? What do portrayals of science and scientists in popular media get right and wrong? From world-building to special effects and cosplay, IF/THEN ambassadors (www.ifthenshecan.org) Sydney Hamilton (aerospace engineer), Myria Perez (paleontologist), Dr. Samantha Thi Porter (archaeologist), and Dr. Erika Hamden (astrophysicist) are here to discuss the STEM behind the fandom with moderator Xyla Foxlin (mechatronics engineer).

Download your free copy of the IF/THEN Real-life Superheroes of STEM! https://drive.google.com/drive/folder…

Daily Bread for 7.25.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 90. Sunrise is 5:40 AM and sunset 8:22 PM, for 14h 42m 00s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 97.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1965, Bob Dylan goes electric at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Kelly Meyerhofer reports UW System launches tuition scholarship raffle to boost student vaccination rate:

In what is likely the broadest vaccination incentive program for Wisconsin to date, the System announced Sunday that it will award $7,000 scholarships to 70 students who get the shot and attend a campus that reaches a 70% vaccination rate.

 Sheera Frenkel reports The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online:

The article that appeared online on Feb. 9 began with a seemingly innocuous question about the legal definition of vaccines. Then over its next 3,400 words, it declared coronavirus vaccines were “a medical fraud” and said the injections did not prevent infections, provide immunity or stop transmission of the disease.

Instead, the article claimed, the shots “alter your genetic coding, turning you into a viral protein factory that has no off-switch.”

Its assertions were easily disprovable. No matter. Over the next few hours, the article was translated from English into Spanish and Polish. It appeared on dozens of blogs and was picked up by anti-vaccination activists, who repeated the false claims online. The article also made its way to Facebook, where it reached 400,000 people, according to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned tool.

The entire effort traced back to one person: Joseph Mercola.

Dr. Mercola, 67, an osteopathic physician in Cape Coral, Fla., has long been a subject of criticism and government regulatory actions for his promotion of unproven or unapproved treatments. But most recently, he has become the chief spreader of coronavirus misinformation online, according to researchers.

An internet-savvy entrepreneur who employs dozens, Dr. Mercola has published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines since the pandemic began, reaching a far larger audience than other vaccine skeptics, an analysis by The New York Times found. His claims have been widely echoed on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

The activity has earned Dr. Mercola, a natural health proponent with an Everyman demeanor, the dubious distinction of the top spot in the “Disinformation Dozen,” a list of 12 people responsible for sharing 65 percent of all anti-vaccine messaging on social media, said the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. Others on the list include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime anti-vaccine activist, and Erin Elizabeth, the founder of the website Health Nut News, who is also Dr. Mercola’s girlfriend.

The Associated Press reports Wisconsin state sturgeon biologist resigns following investigation:

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s former top sturgeon biologist has resigned after he was accused of lying to investigators looking into the illegal processing of sturgeon eggs into caviar.

Ryan Koenigs earlier pleaded no contest to resisting a conservation warden in Calumet County. He was fined $500 in court Thursday.

How The World’s Oldest Hat Shop Has Stayed In Business For Nearly 350 Years:

Daily Bread for 7.24.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be hazy with scattered thunderstorms and a high of 89. Sunrise is 5:39 AM and sunset 8:23 PM, for 14h 43m 59s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1974, the Supreme Court unanimously rules that President Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and orders him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Martin Pengelly reports Tennessee radio host doubted and mocked vaccines – now he has Covid:

A conservative radio host in Tennessee who urged listeners not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has changed track and called on listeners to get the shot, after contracting the virus and ending up in hospital in “very serious condition”.

In a statement posted to social media, Phil Valentine’s family detailed his condition and said: “Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”

The family also said the WTN host had “never been an ‘anti-vaxer’”, but “regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon”.

Valentine, 61, did, however, play down the need for vaccines and perform a song called Vaxman, to the tune of Taxman, George Harrison’s Beatles number against government taxation.

“Let me tell you how it will be,” he sang, “and I don’t care if you agree, ‘Cause I’m the Vaxman, yeah I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me coming round, be thankful I don’t hold you down.”

Marvin Kalb writes of The shaky pillars of American democracy:

There are, he believed, two essential pillars of American democracy: one the “sanctity of the law” and the other the “freedom of the press.” If either pillar is shaken, damaged or undermined, he warned, then so too is our democracy.

This was the judgment of Edward R. Murrow, the iconic CBS newsman who hired me in 1957. It was the subject that absorbed him, that both fascinated and frightened him—the “fragile” nature of American democracy. Time and again, he would return to it, always with questions, one building on another.

….

That was why former President Trump’s early and repeated attacks on journalists as “enemies of the people” who “poison” the public well with “fake news,” represented such a powerful and enduring blow to democracy. Wittingly or not, he played on the fact that American journalism was experiencing serious problems anyway, and he exploited them.

Evan Frank reports Some local Chick-fil-A locations, including Pewaukee, are offering a drink in honor of Giannis Antetokounmpo:

The morning after winning the championship, Giannis — with the Larry O’Brien Trophy and the Bill Russell Finals MVP award — recorded his trip through the drive-thru at the Brookfield location on Capitol Drive for an Instagram Live audience.

He ordered 50 chicken nuggets — “50 exactly. Not 51. Not 49.” — in honor of the 50 points he scored in Game 6 on Tuesday night to secure the NBA Finals championship over the Phoenix Suns. Milwaukee’s 105-98 win also happened to clinch the franchise’s first title in 50 years.

But he also wanted a beverage.

“Let me have a large drink, no ice, half Sprite, half lemonade,” Giannis said to a Chick-fil-A employee.

 “We all know this drink by now … and it officially has a name!” the Pewaukee Chick-fil-A Facebook page stated. “The 50-50 (half sprite & half Chick-fil-A lemonade) is the official drink of CHAMPIONS! Stop by today to snag this winning blend!”

Rare footage of African Wild Dogs (Painted Wolves) returning to their den to feed puppies:

Aside

 

NOTHING SAYS SIMPLETON QUITE LIKE A CONFEDERATE FLAG BUMPER STICKER.

Film: Tuesday, July 27th, 1 PM @ Seniors in the Park, The Little Things

This Tuesday, July 27th at 1 PM, there will be a showing of The Little Things @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

(Crime/Drama/Thriller)

Rated R (Violence, profanity, intense scenes)

2 hours, 8 minutes (2021)

A burnt-out California deputy sheriff (Denzel Washington) teams up with a crack LAPD detective (Rami Malek) in the search for a serial killer (Jared Leto) who is terrorizing Los Angeles. This is an edge-of-your-seat police/crime story! Globe and Oscar nominations for Jared Leto.a deputy sheriff (Denzel Washington) teams up with a crack LAPD detective (Rami Malek) in the search for a serial killer (Jared Leto) who is terrorizing Los Angeles. This is an edge-of-your-seat police/crime story! Globe and Oscar nominations for Jared Leto.

If vaccinated, no mask required. Reservations no longer required. Free popcorn and a beverage re-instituted!

One can find more information about The Little Things at the Internet Movie Database.

Friday Catblogging: Glasses-Wearing Cat in Pennsylvania Goes Viral

A glasses-wearing cat in Pennsylvania is going viral. Danielle Crull, a local eye doctor, rescued Truffles 4 years ago. Now, she uses Truffles at her medical practice to comfort kids who might need glasses or eye patches for the first time.

‘The story that happens over and over is a little one is crying and she comes out and I put glasses on her, and they immediately stop crying and laugh and put their own glasses on,’ Crull told CNN.

‘It happens countless times, and it’s just as sweet every single time.’

Daily Bread for 7.23.21

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be hazy with scattered showers and a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:38 AM and sunset 8:24 PM, for 14h 45m 55s of daytime.  The moon is full with 99.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1903, the Ford Motor Company sells its first car.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Robert Leonard and Matt Russell write Why Rural America Needs Immigrants:

Rural America has a growth problem. Business and industry desperately need workers, but the domestic labor pool is shallow, and the nation’s birthrate is slowing.

There’s no better place to help expand our economy than in rural communities like ours. We need smart public policy for sustained growth — and immigration reform would be a big part of it.

The Iowa Business Council, a group made up of representatives of the largest corporations in the state, has been asking for immigration reform for years to help solve our labor woes.

Plenty of research shows that flexible visa programs run federally or by the states could address this problem quickly.

Help-wanted signs are up all around town. There are help-wanted ads playing on our local radio station, in our local newspapers and all over the internet. Listen to your favorite national podcast here and you just might hear a targeted help-wanted ad for our ZIP code. Our county, Marion, is blessed with a strong agricultural and manufacturing base and is doing relatively well. The median household income in the county is $61,038, just a notch below the state median of $62,843. About 8 percent of us live in poverty.

Dave Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University, agrees that the reason we have so many jobs open is that we don’t have enough people to fill them.

Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman report Trump’s PAC collected $75 million this year, but so far the group has not put money into pushing for the 2020 ballot reviews he touts:

Former president Donald Trump’s political PAC raised about $75 million in the first half of this year as he trumpeted the false notion that the 2020 election was stolen from him, but the group has not devoted funds to help finance the ongoing ballot review in Arizona or to push for similar endeavors in other states, according to people familiar with the finances.

Instead, the Save America leadership PAC — which has few limits on how it can spend its money — has paid for some of the former president’s travel, legal costs and staff, along with other expenses, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the group’s inner workings. The PAC has held onto much of its cash.

Even as he assiduously tracks attempts by his allies to cast doubt on the integrity of last year’s election, Trump has been uninterested in personally bankrolling the efforts, relying on other entities and supporters to fund the endeavors, they said.

Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny report Anti-vaccine groups changing into ‘dance parties’ on Facebook to avoid detection:

Some anti-vaccination groups on Facebook are changing their names to euphemisms like “Dance Party” or “Dinner Party,” and using code words to fit those themes in order to skirt bans from Facebook, as the company attempts to crack down on misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

The groups, which are largely private and unsearchable but retain large user bases accrued during the years Facebook permitted anti-vaccination content, also swap out language to fit the new themes and provide code legends, according to screenshots provided to NBC News by multiple members of the groups.

One major “dance party” group has more than 40,000 followers and has stopped allowing new users amid public scrutiny. The backup group for “Dance Party,” known as “Dinner Party” and created by the same moderators, has more than 20,000 followers.

Firefighters Save Dog Trapped Between 2 Walls:

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Daily Bread for 7.22.21

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon showers with a high of 85. Sunrise is 5:37 AM and sunset 8:25 PM, for 14h 47m 49s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM and the Urban Forestry Commission Grants and Sponsorship Sub-Committee meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1990, Greg LeMond, an American road racing cyclist, wins his third Tour de France after leading the majority of the race. It was LeMond’s second consecutive Tour de France victory.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Summer Sewell reports Small farms vanish every day in America’s dairyland: ‘There ain’t no future in dairy’:

With the Wallenhorst dairy farm gone, there’s only one left on the seven-mile stretch from one side of town to the other; there were 22 when Ron was growing up there. “We worried no one would show up because dairy farms are just disappearing in our area, so there were fewer and fewer small farmers to buy from us,” Ron said.

The license plates for Wisconsin say “America’s Dairyland” beneath a picture of a red barn. The state has the most dairy farms in the country. But it lost 826 dairy farms in 2019, or 10% of its dairy herds – the most dramatic loss in the state’s history, and part of a downward trend which saw the state lose 44% of its dairy farms over the last decade. Last year, for the first time in state history, the number of dairy farms dipped below 7,000.

At the same time, milk production in the state has increased every year since 2004, and has set a new annual record each year since 2009, according to the US Department of Agriculture. In the last decade alone, Wisconsin has increased milk production by 25%. The number of operations declines, just as the number of cows per operation goes up – 3% of Wisconsin farms now produce roughly 40% of the state’s milk. Milk produced on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), or farms with more than about 700 cows but often housing thousands, is increasingly making up the state’s overall milk production.

Steven Greenhouse reports Wisconsin workers fight factory move to Mexico: ‘Anxiety is through the roof’:

For most of her 36 years at the Hufcor factory in Janesville, Wisconsin, Kathy Pawluk loved working there, at least until a private-equity firm took over four years ago. There were Christmas parties and summer picnics, and workers could listen to the radio as they built accordion-style room partitions for convention centers and hotel ballrooms.

“They treated people like they were family, not a number,” said Pawluk, 62. “We had the best health benefits. We had HR people who really cared about us.”

But Pawluk said things deteriorated soon after OpenGate Capital acquired Hufcor, a family-owned company founded in Janesville 120 years ago. “They basically told us ‘We don’t want to get to know you’ in so many words,” Pawluk said.

In late May, things took a turn for the worse. The company announced it was shuttering the sprawling plant and moving operations to Monterrey, Mexico, wiping out the jobs of 166 workers.

“They told us, ‘We can make a lot more money in Mexico. The labor is too high here. Parts cost too much here,’” Pawluk said “They’ll get away with paying dirt wages in Mexico.” Until she was laid off last week, she earned $20.92. Union officials now estimate that Hufcor’s workers in Mexico will make less than one-fifth that.

“I wasn’t so worried about myself. I’m close to retirement,” Pawluk said. “I’m more worried about the others. The rest of us are like family. We know each other’s kids. We know each other’s grandkids. Some friends have 30 years in, and they’re now forced to find another job.

Continue reading

Daily Bread for 7.21.21

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 78. Sunrise is 5:36 AM and sunset 8:26 PM, for 14h 49m 40s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 90.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1904, Louis Rigolly, a Frenchman, becomes the first man to break the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier on land. He drove a 15-liter Gobron-Brillié in Ostend, Belgium.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Ben Steele reports Milwaukee Bucks finish off Phoenix Suns to win first NBA title in 50 years:

Now Milwaukee is the epicenter of professional basketball with a crown jewel of an arena and a passionate fan base who packed the Deer District throughout the playoff run. Heady times for a franchise that not too long ago debated the efficacy of building a new home to keep the team in city.

All those good feelings flow from Antetokounmpo, who has grown from that skinny teenager to an unstoppable force that the sport has not seen before.

Antetokounmpo, who suffered a scary injury in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, missed two games in that series but was ready in Game 1 vs. the Suns.

He delivered one of the most dominant performances in Finals history with 50 points and 14 rebounds in Game 6. He even knocked down his free throws, going 17 for 19 from the line. It was his crowning achievement after so many memorable moments of these Finals, including his improbable block of Deandre Ayton in Game 4 and his Suns-eclipsing alley-oop in Game 5.

The Washington Post editorial board writes Kevin McCarthy’s picks for the Jan. 6 panel make clear he wants to continue the coverup:

Because of how the committee was created, Ms. Pelosi will have final say on its membership. Her appointments — including Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Democratic Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (Miss.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee who will lead the panel — reflected a real seriousness of purpose. In contrast, Mr. McCarthy’s choices seem solely designed to make a circus of the proceedings. Ringleader, of course, would be Mr. Jordan, a persistent if not terribly skillful disrupter and provocateur. Mr. Jordan, Mr. Banks and Mr. Nehls all voted against certifying the results of the election despite the absence of voter fraud or major irregularities. Their complicity in feeding Mr. Trump’s lie about a stolen election is not compatible with any dispassionate investigation of the day’s events.

Philip Bump writes Trump follows his base toward rationalized vaccine skepticism:

“When you have partisan comments coming out of the White House regarding next Jim Crow laws, or people like Senator [Charles] Schumer and the White House not cooperating on a bipartisan bill — ‘Oh, here we’re going to be partisan, but over here you better trust us,’ ” [Sen. Bill]  Cassidy [R-La] said. “That just doesn’t work.”

In other words, Cassidy believes that Louisianans have decided against being vaccinated because Biden lowered trust in government. This is nonsensical for a variety of reasons, including that trust in government was in decline well before Biden took office. It’s essentially an attempt to redirect blame toward Democrats and away from media on the right and Republican leaders who’ve repeatedly expressed skepticism about the vaccine and its rollout. The idea that Tucker Carlson’s incessant rhetoric misleadingly targeting vaccine safety and effectiveness is less of a factor than Biden’s praise for the vaccines while advocating Democratic policy positions is bizarre.

Thousands of Ladybugs Swarm Russian Beach:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Science

It seemed reasonable, months ago, to wait until the end of the 2020-2021 school year to assess how well the Whitewater Unified School District managed the pandemic. It doesn’t seem so reasonable now, for reasons of culture as much as public health.

Generally – and sensibly – one has reason to be skeptical of lay analyses of epidemiology. It’s not enough to review data (often incomplete); one requires a professional understanding of the concepts underlying those data. There have been no such independent analyses at FREE WHITEWATER. I’m not an epidemiologist, and the pandemic hasn’t made me one. An assessment here of the district’s performance would always be a lay assessment of general  outcomes. See Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021 — COVID-19: Skepticism and Rhetoric.

There is, however, an equal impediment to assessing – today – the district’s pandemic performance: is it not obvious that many of the heated public comments over these last eighteen months have been culturally motivated? If culturally motivated over these last eighteen months, then why not for many months more? If cultural complaints began over masks or face-to-face instruction, will they outgrow their immediate cause and become complaints about instruction, discipline, etc.? See Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: Majoritarianism.

Simply put: is controversy in this district over the pandemic one part of a larger story about ideological and cultural controversies?

Apart from public health questions about the threat (if any) from coronavirus variants, etc., it now seems too soon to close the book on what this pandemic has wrought and how officials have responded. A fire’s not truly out until the embers are cold.

A history of this time isn’t yet ready, as this time may not be over.

Daily Bread for 7.20.21

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 89. Sunrise is 5:35 AM and sunset 8:27 PM, for 14h 51m 28s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 82.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1969, Apollo 11‘s crew successfully makes the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the Moon six and a half hours later.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Oliver Darcy reports Fox has quietly implemented its own version of a vaccine passport while its top personalities attack them:

Tucker Carlson has called the idea of vaccine passports the medical equivalent of “Jim Crow” laws. And other Fox News personalities have spent months both trafficking in anti-vaccine rhetoric and assailing the concept of showing proof of vaccination status.

But Fox Corporation, the right-wing talk channel’s parent company, has quietly implemented the concept of a vaccine passport as workers slowly return back to the company’s offices.

Fox employees, including those who work at Fox News, received an email, obtained by CNN Business, from the company’s Human Resources department in early June that said Fox had “developed a secure, voluntary way for employees to self-attest their vaccination status.”

The system allows for employees to self-report to Fox the dates their shots were administered and which vaccines were used.

The company has encouraged employees to report their status, telling them that “providing this information to FOX will assist the company with space planning and

“Thank you for providing FOX with your vaccination information,” the email said. “You no longer are required to complete your daily health screening through WorkCare/WorkMatters.”

The concept, which was first reported Monday by Ryan Grim on The Hill’s morning streaming show, is known internally as “FOX Clear Pass.”

Phoebe Petrovic, Mario Koran, Jack Kelly, and Madeline Fuerstenberg report ‘Why do you keep harassing me?’: An Outagamie County judge controls defendants after sentencing:

Over the past seven years in at least 52 cases involving 46 defendants, [Outagamie County Circuit Judge Vincent] Biskupic has used so-called review hearings to either monitor a defendant’s behavior or to push them to pay fines, fees or restitution, Wisconsin Watch and WPR found. These check-ins — not spelled out in state law — often involved defendants updating the judge on their lives and their progress toward meeting Biskupic’s conditions.

About two dozen legal experts consulted by Wisconsin Watch and WPR had a wide range of views about Biskupic’s use of review hearings. Some said the practice is legal, some called it a gray area and some said it has no basis in state law. Others had never heard of it before.

A Wisconsin Watch and WPR analysis shows Biskupic is by far the biggest practitioner in Wisconsin of review hearings like in Kartsounes’ case — held after a person has been revoked from probation. Probation allows people to remain out of jail if they meet certain conditions and remain crime-free.

After a detailed review of each case file, Wisconsin Watch and WPR found that in 29 cases, Biskupic held 142 such review hearings — more than twice as many as any other judge in Wisconsin between 2014 and 2020.

7.20.1969

(Local) Fear of a Red Hat

There are any number of fears that occasionally grip people, however unfounded those fears, of snakes, of spiders, of black cats, etc. (Snakes play an important ecological role, some cultures think spiders are good luck, and black cats are beautiful with notably soft coats.)

And yet, and yet… no fear strikes deeper and holds tighter among moderate local officials than the fear of a red hat. Even among those nonplussed with snakes, spiders, or dark cats, a cheap trucker hat incites discomfort bordering on panic. The polite start looking for the exits when the conservative populists step into a room.

Those who find it uncomfortable, if not exhausting, to be around a combination of soft thinking and loud voices also struggle with the populists’ confidence (as brimming as it is unjustified) that their blood-and-soil perspective is infallible.

When the Trumpists arrive, moderate, polite people worry about a commotion. There’s a similar dynamic in a restaurant when a patron at a nearby table starts shouting about his unmet expectations – other patrons look away to distance themselves from the scene.

It’s a scene all the same. The hope that if one is quiet the disturbance will stop may make sense in a restaurant with only one hysterical patron, but a mass movement of the impulsive and insatiable won’t vanish so easily.

Of these Trumpists: one rightly opposes them, and would be foolish to ignore or underestimate them. In opposition, a practical focus belongs on leaders, down even to the local level.

They’ll take what they can, waiting impatiently to take still more, but giving nothing in return. Even other conservatives will have to adopt populist views lest they otherwise find themselves cast aside. See Conservative Populism Moves in One Direction Only.

Wishing this band away won’t work.