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Daily Bread for 6.22.24: How Nvidia Surpassed Microsoft and Apple to Become the World’s Most Valuable Company

Good morning.

Saturday will be cloudy with afternoon thundershowers and a high of 84. Sunrise is 5:17 and sunset 8:37 for 15h 20m 10s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 99.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1943, McCarthy Breaks Leg in Drunken Accident:

Future Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy breaks his leg during a drunken Marine Corps initiation ceremony, despite a press release and other claims that he was hurt in “military action.” Although nicknamed “Tail Gunner Joe”, McCarthy never was a tail gunner, but instead served at a desk as an intelligence officer. In 1951, he applied for medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded to those who had flown at least 25 combat missions. The Marine Corps has records of only 11 combat flights McCarthy flew on, and those were described as local “milk run” flights. Many of McCarthy’s claims were disputed by political opponents as well as journalists.

On this day in 1944, President Roosevelt signs into law the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill.


How Nvidia Surpassed Microsoft and Apple to Become World’s Most Valuable Company:

Nvidia’s rise to becoming a $3 trillion happened in record time. The chip company makes the high-end computer chips that power AI tools like ChatGPT and the cutting-edge data centers that more and more companies need access to. But now rivals like AMD and Intel are trying to catch up. Can they take market share from Nvidia, or has the current leader in AI chips gotten too far in the lead? CNBC’s Kif Leswing breaks it all down.

Creating Masterpieces for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and The Pope:

Embark on the captivating journey of Kim Young-Jun and Gabe Sin as they revive the ancient Korean art of Najeonchilgi. Kim, a former financier turned master craftsman, has created intricate mother-of-pearl masterpieces for icons like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even designed a chair for the Pope. Alongside him is Gabe Sin, a visionary hairstylist who draws inspiration from these timeless designs, integrating them into elaborate creations showcased on the cover of Vogue. Discover how Kim and Gabe are redefining Korean art for the modern world, blending heritage with innovation in mesmerizing ways.

Daily Bread for 4.23.24: Becoming Accustomed Again to Having Adversaries

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 67. Sunrise is 5:58 and sunset 7:47 for 13h 49m 22s of daytime. The moon is full with 99.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5 PM.

On this day in 1985, Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.


People should desire (and libertarians, among others, do desire) peaceful relations with nations across the globe. It’s been years since Americans understood through consensus that we do have adversaries — enemies — abroad. Ronald Reagan more than once accurately observed that it takes two to tango. We may want good relations with the Chinese or Russian peoples, but dictatorships in both those nations have other desires, ambitions, and plans.

As our forefathers had to do, so we, too, must steel ourselves against the schemes and depredations of others. Wisconsin daily feels the reach of a foreign dictatorship, as an ongoing Investigation into China’s unfair trade practices supports Wisconsin shipbuilding:

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said a new federal investigation into China’s shipbuilding practices is the first step toward addressing the country’s alleged unfair trade practices and to protecting the industry in Wisconsin and across the country.

Baldwin held an event Monday at Fincantieri Ace Marine in Green Bay to highlight the investigation. The company builds vessels for the U.S. Navy and commercial customers at the Wisconsin shipyard. She was joined by officials from the United Steelworkers union and the nonprofit Alliance for American Manufacturing.

She said the United States Trade Representative is leading the investigation, which will collect data about trade practices that allow Chinese shipbuilders to undercut domestic manufacturers.

….

Last year, China built more than 1,000 commercial vessels, while the United States produced fewer than 10, Baldwin said.

That imbalance, she said, drove her to push the Biden Administration to take action to address the issue.

“For years, China has gotten away with tilting the playing field, and it’s American workers and our national security that are paying the price,” Baldwin said. “We cannot let China eat our lunch. That’s why I’ve been so proud to work alongside the steelworkers and other workers across the country to say enough is enough and call on the Biden administration to take action.”

Often, one does not choose an adversary — it is the adversary itself that imposes a hostile relationship.

So be it.


Dozens of aftershocks rattle Taiwan overnight:

Daily Bread for 2.1.24: Private Company, Public Company, Public Agency

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 47. Sunrise is 7:08 and sunset 5:08 for 9h 59m 35s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 63.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Ethics Committee meets at 5 PM

On this day in 1942, Voice of America, the official external radio and television service of the United States government, begins broadcasting with programs aimed at areas controlled by the Axis powers.


There’s a difference between a private company, a public company, and a public agency. Ordinary people understand this difference, but special interests conflate these three different arrangements to maximize their influence over wholly public agencies. 

First the distinctions, with help from Matt Levine’s description of Elon Musk’s influence on private companies as against public companies. A private company is held individually or by shareholders with shares that do not trade on a public exchange. A public company is a private enterprise with shares that do trade on a public exchange (e.g., the New York Stock Exchange). Levine writes of Musk’s considerable leeway with a purely private company like SpaceX:

At all but one of his companies, he could stroll into the boardroom, throw a big bag of ketamine down onto the table, and say “I need the company to spend $50 million to build a giant golden statue of me riding a rocket,”1 and

  1. the board would be like “yes definitely let’s do it,”

  2. the board members themselves probably are, or represent, big shareholders of the company, and as shareholders they would happily go along with the statue plan to keep Musk happy and dedicated to their company,

  3. the other shareholders, the ones without board seats, are probably even bigger Musk fans, and are probably working on their own Musk statues in their garages anyway, so they’ll be fine with the company spending their money on a corporate gold statue, and

  4. nobody else really has any standing to complain.

And so in fact when Musk went to SpaceX and asked to borrow $1 billion until payday so that he could buy Twitter Inc., the board was like “here’s the check, we’ve left the amount blank, take whatever you need.” And, look, was there a Wall Street Journal article saying “hey that’s weird”? There was; it was weird. Did anything come of that? No. SpaceX could just do that: Musk controls SpaceX, the board loves him, the shareholders love him, nobody in a position to complain has any complaints, and everybody else is in no position to

SpaceX is a bigger version of many private companies: these companies may have one or more owners, and those owners may be shareholders, but those shares are not available for ready trading by the general public. These owners have considerable leeway. 

By contrast, a public company is also a private enterprise, but it offers shares on a public market to which the general public has access during trading hours. Trading on public markets comes with public — governmental — rules & regulations. (There’s a Securities and Exchange Commission, after all.) Levine explains how rules for a public company like Tesla limit Musk:

Tesla is a public company, which means that, even if 99% of shareholders love him, if 1% of shareholders don’t, they can sue.3 They can say: “Look, the board has a fiduciary duty to manage the company on behalf of all shareholders. Giving Musk a giant golden statue of himself is not necessary, or a good business decision, or fair to the shareholders; it’s just the controlling shareholder fulfilling his own whims with corporate money, and an ineffective board of directors giving him whatever he wants. He should have to give it back.” And they will go to court, and the shareholders will make those arguments, and the board will say — accurately! — “no you see giving him this giant golden statue is necessary for us to get more of his incredibly valuable time and attention,” and that will sound bad in court. And then a judge will get to decide whether the deal was fair to shareholders or not, and if it was not, the judge can make Musk pay the company back. Even if the board, and 99% of the shareholders, want him to keep it!

Levine’s description of Musk ends here, understandably, because Levine is writing about Musk’s role in private and public companies. An analysis of these companies is distinct — as Levine knows intuitively — from public agencies and governmental bodies. 

Special interests, however, don’t see it that way: they look at public bodies (a town council, a school board, or a community development agency) and expect that they can manipulate and control that public institution like a private company. They see a public body as another of their private possessions. 

No, and no again: formed only by statutes and ordinances, maintained only under statutes, ordinances, and publicly-adopted policies, these councils, boards, and agencies are public from alpha to omega. 

Special interest men in Whitewater take public bodies and illegitimately and wrongfully refashion them through catspaws into versions of private companies. In this way, they place their hands around a public agency and squeeze until it does their private bidding.  

Which appointed officials come along matters less to the health of this community than that special interests meet their match from among residents until attrition and exhaustion take their toll on that scheming faction. 


What’s in the Night Sky February 2024

Daily Bread for 12.18.23: So, What Did Happen to Wonder Bread?

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of 32. Sunrise is 7:20 and sunset 4:22 for 9h 01m 55s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 35.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board enters closed session shortly after 5:30 PM and returns to open session at 7 PM. Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM

 On this day in 1865, US Secretary of State William Seward proclaims the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery throughout the United States.


What Happened To Wonder Bread?:

Wonder Bread’s annual sales sits around half a billion dollars for its owner Flowers Foods, despite healthier alternatives like whole grains and sourdough dominating the fragmented U.S. bread industry. While consumer preferences started shifting away from white bread starting in the 1960s, Wonder Bread still enjoys a 94% brand awareness according to Flowers Foods. Watch the video above to learn more about how the once beloved American staple has stuck around a century later.

Chapters:

00:00Introduction

01:45White bread in America

04:40Saving the brand

06:10Stable contributor


Small owl living in a family’s Christmas tree goes unnoticed for four days:

Daily Bread for 8.16.23: Foxconn Bails on “Innovation Centers”… Of Course.

Good morning. Wednesday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 80. Sunrise is 6:03 AM and sunset 7:54 PM for 13h 51m 52s of daytime. The moon is new with none of its visible disk illuminated. On this day in 1930, the first color sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, is released by Ub Iwerks.…

Daily Bread for 2.24.23 More Convenient than a Cat’s Meows from the Rafters

Good morning. Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 23. Sunrise is 6:37 AM and sunset 5:38 PM for 11h 01m 24s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 22.8% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 1803, in Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the…

Daily Bread for 2.23.23: The Businessmen Who Won’t Let Go (with Whitewater Versions)

Good morning.   Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 37. Sunrise is 6:38 AM and sunset 5:37 PM for 10h 58m 34s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 14.1% of its visible disk illuminated. The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM. (At four o’clock, the City of Whitewater will…

Daily Bread for 2.11.23: Foxconn Accused of Stealing from Its Own Wisconsin Employees

Good morning. Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 43. Sunrise is 6:56 AM and sunset 5:21 PM for 10h 25m 34s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 70.9% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry is accused of “gerrymandering” for the first…

Daily Bread for 12.29.22: Pyromanic Criticizes Fire-Safety Efforts

Good morning. Thursday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 52. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:29 PM for 9h 04m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 44.4% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 1845, the United States annexes the Republic of Texas. Foxconn was, and…