Daily Bread for 7.23.24: Wisconsin Will Be Visited Again & Again

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see morning showers with a high of 80. Sunrise is 5:38, and sunset is 8:24, for 14h 45m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 93.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5 PM.

On this day in 1962,  Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

The Republicans had their national convention in Wisconsin, and both parties will send candidates and surrogates into Wisconsin through November. Today, for example, Kamala Harris will hold first rally of her presidential campaign in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee isn’t America’s biggest city, and Wisconsin isn’t America’s biggest state. Many larger places, however, are decidedly settled on one party and so will not be swayed. Wisconsin might pick either party and so she will receive frequent visits.

There’s a local angle for Whitewater in all this: if Wisconsin receives more attention, then some of the cities & towns in the state may receive more attention, too. We have received much notice over the last year concerning newcomers to our city. National attention on us would be an order of magnitude higher than what we’ve previously garnered if we received a visit from a central figure in either party.

I don’t know, of course, that we will receive a high-profile political visit; it’s simply the case that no one visits a place that he or she doesn’t know exists.

The major parties well know that Wisconsin, and as it turns out, Whitewater, exist.

As the Olympics near, Ukraine mourns athletes lost to war:

Daily Bread for 7.22.24: America Is a Dynamic Place

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:37, and sunset is 8:25, for 14h 47m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM. The Whitewater School Board goes into closed session shortly after 5:45 PM, and returns to open session at 7 PM.

On this day in 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act passes in the British House of Commons, initiating the gradual abolition of slavery in most parts of the British Empire.

America is a dynamic country, socially, economically, and politically. Yesterday was an excellent example of that evident truth.

Zach Beauchamp perceptively draws lessons from yesterday’s political developments:

It’s enough to make even the most jaded observer a little more optimistic about American democracy — for at least two big reasons.

First, it shows that there can still be standards in politics. 

American politics isn’t just made up of two parties, wholly owned by party elites, locked in a mortal and uncompromising struggle to the death. At least one of our parties is capable of policing its own: challenging an incumbent president and, ultimately, convincing him to step aside. The contrast with the GOP’s behavior after Trump’s many scandals — from the Access Hollywood tape to the January 6 Capitol riot — is unmistakable.

Second, Biden’s departure shows that unexpected things can still happen.

This is hard to prove, but I think so much of the polling showing public distrust in the American government is rooted in a sense that it’s stuck: that what’s happening right now isn’t working, and that no one is capable of doing anything surprising to right the ship. But a president abandoning a reelection campaign is nothing if not surprising. 
Politicians like Trump, in both the United States and elsewhere, thrive on the notion that the system is broken and nothing can be done to fix it. This is a problem not just because those specific politicians are dangerous, but because distrust rots democracy’s foundations.


This tiny solar-powered flyer weighs less than a paper plane:

Researchers have overcome efficiency and power issues to create what they believe to be the world’s lightest and smallest sunlight-powered rotorocraft.
Micro aerial vehicles or MAVs could have a host of applications from environmental monitoring to search and rescue. But currently, these tiny flying machines have a problem — endurance. MAVs that weigh less than 10 grams are normally limited to around 10 minutes of flying time.
To increase flying time, other types of propulsion have been tested, but these still require bulky power systems on the ground to take off, preventing any craft from freely flying.
One solution could be solar power. But until now no solar powered MAV has been capable of untethered sustained flight in natural sunlight.
So to solve this, researchers have developed CoulombFly, a solar-powered MAV propelled by a new extremely efficient electro-static motor and powered by incredibly light solar panels.

Daily Bread for 7.20.24: Forever Impressive

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 79. Sunrise is 5:35 and sunset 8:26 for 14h 50m 59s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1832, during the Black Hawk War, Black Hawk leads approximately 700 Sac, Fox, and Kickapoo Indians through the juncture of the Yahara River and Lake Monona (then known as the Third Lake Passage) in present-day Madison. Black Hawk was fleeing the pursuing military. 

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

Forever impressive:

On July 20, 1969, humans walked on another world for the first time in history, achieving the goal that President John F. Kennedy had set in 1961, before Americans had even orbited the Earth. After a landing that included dodging a lunar crater and boulder field just before touchdown, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the area around their lunar landing site for more than two hours.

When the lunar module landed at 4:17 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remained. Armstrong radioed “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupted in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.”

Daily Bread for 7.11.24: U.S. Inflation Cools Again

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:27 and sunset 8:33 for 15h 05m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 28.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1796, the United States takes possession of Detroit from Great Britain under terms of the Jay Treaty.

On this day in 1839, the first patent is issued to a Wisconsin resident:

Ebenezar G. Whiting of Racine was issued patent #1232 for his improved plow, the first patent issued to someone from Wisconsin. Whiting’s improvements consisted of making the mold-board straight and flat which, when united in the center with the curvilinear part of the mold-board, would require less power to drag through the dirt. Whiting went on to serve as Vice President of the J.I. Case Plow Company and received another patent for a steel plow in 1876.

Christopher Rugaber reports US inflation cools again, potentially paving way for Fed to cut interest rates soon:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation in the United States cooled in June for a third straight month, a sign that the worst price spike in four decades is steadily fading and may soon usher in interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

In a better-than-expected report, consumer prices declined 0.1% from May to June after having remained flat the previous month, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the first monthly decline in overall inflation since May 2020, when the economy was paralyzed by the pandemic. 

And measured from one year earlier, prices were up 3% in June, cooler than the 3.3% annual rate in May.

The latest inflation readings will likely help convince the Fed’s policymakers that inflation is returning to its 2% target. A brief pickup in inflation early this year had caused the officials to scale back their expectations for interest rate cuts. The policymakers said they would need to see several months of mild price increases to feel confident enough enough to cut their key rate from its 23-year high. 

Whitewater has a chance to make gains in her community during these improving economic conditions. Yesteryear offers no answers for the city, save what not to do this time.

Closest massive black hole to Earth may be in Omega Centauri, Hubble finds:

Hubble Space Telescope observations of the Omega Centauri star cluster, about 18,000 light-years from Earth, has revealed evidence of an intermediate-size black hole.

Daily Bread for 7.8.24: National Labor Market Adds 206,000 Jobs with Slight Rise in Unemployment

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:25 and sunset 8:34 for 15h 09m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 7.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Planning Board meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1776, church bells (possibly including the Liberty Bell) are rung after John Nixon delivers the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.

On this day in 1850, James Jesse Strang Is Crowned King:

On this date, James Jesse Strang, leader of the estranged Mormon faction the Strangites, was crowned king; the only man to achieve such a title in America. When founder Joseph Smith was assassinated, Strang forged a letter from Smith dictating he was to be the heir. The Mormon movement split into followers of Strang and followers of Brigham Young. As he gained more followers (but never nearly as many as Brigham Young), Strang became comparable to a Saint, and in 1850 was crowned King James in a ceremony in which he wore a discarded red robe of a Shakespearean actor, and a metal crown studded with a cluster of stars as his followers sang him hosannas.

Soon after his crowning, he announced that Mormonism embraced and supported polygamy. (Young’s faction was known to have practiced polygamy, but had not at this time announced it publicly.) A number of followers lived in Walworth County, including Strang at a home in Burlington. In 1856 Strang was himself assassinated, leaving five wives. Without Strang’s leadership, his movement disintegrated. 

Josh Schafer reports US labor market adds 206,000 jobs, unemployment rate rises to 4.1%:

The US labor market added more jobs than expected in June while the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose, reaching its highest level since November 2021, another sign that the job market continues to cool.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday showed the US economy added 206,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in June, more than the 190,000 expected by economists.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.1%, up from 4% in the month prior and the highest reading in almost three years. June’s job additions were a slight decline from May, which saw job gains revised down on Friday to 218,000 from the 272,000 initially reported last month

The skill to take advange of job gains (and benefit the city still more if there should be interest rate cuts) will not be found among Whitewater’s self-promoting “action-oriented” types of fifteen or twenty years ago. The sooner the city turns away from their monkey shines the better.

Indeed, the work of that aged and addled cohort has been worse for the city, in concept and execution, than Monkey Shines the 1988 b-movie horror film:

It’s hard to estimate precisely, but a rough guess is that Whitewater would have been 179.6% better off with a killer monkey than that failed group from yesterday.

What is the rarest animal in the world? The 5 most-endangered species:

Daily Bread for 7.4.24: Happy Independence Day

Good morning.

Independence Day in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 84. Sunrise is 5:22 and sunset 8:36 for 15h 13m 20s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 2.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence.

This day in 1836, the Wisconsin Territory is formed: In Mineral Point, Col. Henry Dodge took the oath of office to become the first Governor of the newly created Territory of Wisconsin. The Territory, previously attached to Michigan, encompassed what is now the states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and portions of North and South Dakota.

Whitewater’s Independence Holiday celebration continues today at the Cravath Lakefront:

Christman Family Amusements: No wristband sessions on 4th of July
Whippet City Mile: 9:45 AM along parade route
4th of July Parade: 10 AM
Civic Organization Food Vendors: 10 AM to 11 PM
Live Music at Frawley Amphitheater:
Polka 2 PM
Sam Rodewald 5 PM to 7 PM
U2 Hype 8 PM to post fireworks
Fireworks: 10 PM

National Archives, July 4th 2024 Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony:

July 2024 Skywatching Guide:

See also What’s in the Night Sky: July 2024.

Daily Bread for 6.27.24: A Judicial Leak Strikes Wisconsin (as It Has Elsewhere)

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:18 and sunset 8:37 for 15h 18m 28s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 65.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1837, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the oldest newspaper in the state, is founded as a weekly publication by Solomon Juneau, who also was Milwaukee’s first mayor. 

No one takes the risk of divulging unimportant judicial decisions. Federally and now in Wisconsin, three abortion-related court opinions or orders have been divulged beforehand in the last 25 months.

Federally, Politico reported in May 2022 that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows (the decision was handed down in June 2022). Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the Supreme Court is Poised to Allow Emergency Abortions in Idaho. (That decision was handed down today.)

In our state, we now have a leak about whether the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear an abortion-rights case. WisconsinWatch reported on Wednesday that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear high-profile abortion rights case, draft order shows.

There’s some talk that abortion and reproductive issues won’t matter much in the fall. On the contrary, the issue has mattered before Dobbs and has now heightened political and legal importance since Dobbs. It is so important, in fact, that the long-held practice of confidentiality of key decisions has waned in these matters, all involving the extent of reproductive rights.

Judicial confidentiality has waned (regrettably) because these questions are so significant to so many (understandably). Legal importance won’t fade as political importance between now and November.

Pillars of Creation in 3D created from Webb and Hubble Space Telescope data:

Daily Bread for 6.14.24: Flag Day

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 79. Sunrise is 5:15 and sunset 8:35 for 15h 19m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 52.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1822, Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society.

On this day in 1885,  the first recognized observance of Flag Day in Wisconsin occurred at the Stony Hill School near Waubeka. The event was led by Bernard J. Cigrand, a teacher. Flag Day did not become a national observance until 31 years later when Woodrow Wilson recognized it on June 14, 1916.

It’s flag day in America. Right side up:

Embed from Getty Images

Ohio town invaded by swarm of mayflies:

Daily Bread for 6.12.24: National Inflation Slows

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:15 and sunset 8:34 for 15h 18m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 34.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1889, the worst tornado disaster in Wisconsin history occurs:

The storm virtually leveled New Richmond on the day the Gollmar Brothers Circus came to town. At the time, New Richmond was a prosperous town of 2500 people and one of the most scenic places in Wisconsin. On the day of the storm, the streets were filled with residents and tourists waiting for the afternoon circus parade. Shortly after the circus ended, the tornado passed through the very center of town, completely leveling buildings. Over 300 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Massive amounts of flying debris resulted in multiple deaths in at least 26 different families. In all, the storm claimed 117 lives and caused 150 injuries.

On this day in 1944, American paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division secure the town of CarentanNormandy, France.

Good news on national inflation, as Jeff Cox reports Inflation slows in May, with consumer prices up 3.3% from a year ago:

The consumer price index showed no increase in May as inflation slightly loosened its stubborn grip on the U.S. economy, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The CPI, a broad inflation gauge that measures a basket of goods and services costs across the U.S. economy, held flat on the month though it increased 3.3% from a year ago, according to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a 0.1% monthly gain and a 3.4% annual rate.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, core CPI increased 0.2% on the month and 3.4% from a year ago, compared with respective estimates of 0.3% and 3.5%.


Following the report, stock market futures pushed higher while Treasury yields slid.

Though the top-line inflation numbers were lower for both the all-items and core measures, shelter inflation increased 0.4% on the month and was up 5.4% from a year ago. Housing-related numbers have been a sticking point in the Federal Reserve’s inflation battle and make up a heavy share of the CPI weighting.

(Emphasis added.)

The cost of shelter continues to increase nationally, forcing the many to pay more of their income to the few for a place to live.

What are Joro spiders and are they dangerous?:

Daily Bread for 6.7.24: National Job & Wage Growth Robust in May

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:16 and sunset 8:31 for 15h 15m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1776,  Richard Henry Lee presents the “Lee Resolution” to the Continental Congress:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.

Lindsay Dunsmuir reports US job gains blow past expectations, wage growth quickens:

June 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. economy created far more jobs than expected in May and annual wage growth reaccelerated, underscoring the resilience of the labor market and reducing the likelihood the Federal Reserve will be able to start rate cuts in September.
The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday also showed the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.0% from 3.9% in April, reaching a symbolic threshold below which the jobless rate had previously held for 27 straight months.

The unexpectedly strong report made plain that while the labor market has softened around the edges in recent months, its still-solid performance is set to keep the Fed on the sidelines and taking its time in deciding when to begin lowering borrowing costs.
Financial markets slashed the odds of a September rate cut, reducing the probability to about 55% from about 70% before the report, based on rate futures contracts.

These are national figures; they are not local measures of progress. Whitewater’s old guard wasted a generation by which our city has lagged our nation.

These types would like to tell the city they have answers for the next generation’s needs.

Admittedly, they’re right — they do have answers for the next generation: answers as wrong and counter-productive as the ones they’ve been giving for decades. (If they’d advised and guided correctly, longtime residents now in need wouldn’t be bartering for diapers and small appliances on social media.) If these men have but one skill, it hasn’t been in getting conditions right, but instead in shameless self-promotion while they’ve been getting conditions wrong.

Whitewater will see widespread prosperity when she moves away from her stultifying past.

Greater Sage-Grouse:

Greater Sage-Grouse are one of the most iconic birds of the American West. Each spring across the sagebrush steppe, they gather at mating grounds, called leks. There, males perform incredible courtship displays for onlooking females. Experience the magic of sage-grouse from inside a photography blind on a lek in southern Wyoming with Audubon Rockies’ communications manager, Evan Barrientos.

Daily Bread for 6.6.24: D-Day, Eighty Years On

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 70. Sunrise is 5:16 and sunset 8:31 for 15h 14m 24s of daytime. The moon is new with none of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Alcohol Licensing Committee meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1944, Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, begins with the execution of Operation Neptune—commonly referred to as D-Day—the largest seaborne invasion in history. Nearly 160,000 Allied troops cross the English Channel with about 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participating. By the end of the day, the Allies would land on five invasion beaches and were pushing inland.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer, Broadcast on June 6, 1944:

Daily Bread for 5.15.24: National Inflation Rate Improves Slightly

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 71. Sunrise is 5:30 and sunset 8:11 for 14h 41m 31s of daytime. The moon is in its first quarter with 50.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board meets in closed session shortly after 5 PM, to return to open session thereafter this evening. Whitewater’s Parks & Rec Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1911,  in Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, the United States Supreme Court declares Standard Oil to be an “unreasonable” monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and orders the company to be broken up.

Rachel Siegel reports Inflation improved slightly in April, with timing for rate cuts still uncertain:

Inflation showed some signs of improvement in April, as policymakers grapple with whether their fight against abnormally high price growth is losing ground.

Data released Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed prices rose 3.4 percent in April, compared with the year before. That’s down a bit from the 3.5 percent notched in March, and follows months of hotter-than-expected reports. Prices rose 0.3 percent compared with the month before.

In a particularly encouraging note, a key reading of inflation known as “core” — which strips out more volatile categories like food and energy — rose 0.3 percent. That measure was up 3.6 percent on an annual basis, the lowest year-over-year increase since 2021. Policymakers pay close attention to that gauge because it helps them tease out stickier sources of inflation from the kinds of rising prices that typically bounce around month to month.

If conditions improve nationally, and if that national improvement reaches Whitewater, then what will local policymakers make of that improvement? If conditions do not improve nationally, and that lack of improvement besets Whitewater, then how will local policymakers carry on?

Bringing back policymakers from the failed past will only ensure a failed future. Again, a reminder:

The only reason to return to the policies and leaders of the past would be if someone had no hope of either any possible growth or no hope for ameliorating any possible decline. That is, yesterday’s self-promoting mediocrities would be of value to Whitewater only if nothing anyone did would matter.  See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom and Now is Whitewater’s Time to Seize an Improving National and State Economy. Only hopelessness among many or the selfishness of a few would lead Whitewater to return to her economic past.

People choose freely, sometimes well, sometimes poorly.

Sage the Miniature Poodle wins Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club:

Daily Bread for 4.26.24: National Inflation Rate Stays Stubborn

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with evening showers and a high of 60. Sunrise is 5:53 and sunset 7:51 for 13h 57m 12s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 93.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1865,  Union cavalry troopers corner and shoot dead John Wilkes Boothassassin of President Abraham Lincoln, in Virginia:

Asking that his hands be raised to his face so that he could see them, Booth uttered his last words, “Useless, useless,” and as dawn was breaking he died of asphyxiation as a result of his wounds

Jeanna Smialek and Ben Casselman report Stubborn Inflation Could Prod Fed to Keep Rates High for Longer:

The Federal Reserve’s most closely watched inflation measure remained stubborn in March, the latest evidence that price increases are not fading as quickly as policymakers would like, and another reason that interest rates may stay higher for longer.

Investors came into 2024 hopeful that Fed officials would cut rates substantially this year, but those hopes have been fading as inflation has shown much more staying power than expected. Wall Street increasingly sees lower rates coming much later in the year, if the Fed manages to cut them at all.

The latest Personal Consumption Expenditures index reading could keep the Fed on a cautious path as it considers when to lower borrowing costs.

The overall inflation index rose by 2.7 percent in the year through March, up from 2.5 percent in February and slightly more than economists had expected.


Investors are now betting that the Fed might make its first move in September or later, based on market pricing, and a small but growing share think that it may not manage to cut rates at all this year.

Massive fire burns at Oceanside Pier in California:

Daily Bread for 4.10.24: Inflation Remains Stubborn

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 66. Sunrise is 6:18 and sunset 7:32 for 13h 13m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 4.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1872, the first Arbor Day (in America) is celebrated in Nebraska.

Jeanna Smialek reports Inflation was quicker than expected in March, likely unwelcome news for the Fed:

A closely watched measure of inflation remained stronger than expected in March, worrying news for Federal Reserve officials who have become increasingly concerned that their progress on lowering prices increases might be stalling.

The surprisingly stubborn inflation reading could raise doubts about when the Fed will be able to start cutting interest rates, and how much they will be able to reduce borrowing costs this year.

The Consumer Price Index climbed 3.8 percent on an annual basis after stripping out food and fuel prices, which economists do in order to get a better sense of the underlying inflation trend. That was stronger than the 3.7 percent increase economists expected, and unchanged from 3.8 percent in February. The monthly reading was also stronger than what economists had forecast.

On an overall basis, the inflation measure climbed 3.5 percent in March from a year earlier, up from 3.2 percent in February and faster than what economists have anticipated. A rise in gas prices contributed to that inflation number.

Lower than it was a year ago, higher than consumers (and the Federal Reserve) would like.

Some cats are bigger than others: