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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 7.12.24: Committee Ponders the Universities of Wisconsin

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 85. Sunrise is 5:28 and sunset 8:32 for 15h 03m 51s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 37.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1543, King Henry VIII of England marries his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, at Hampton Court Palace.


Baylor Spears reports Study committee meets for first time to consider future of the University of Wisconsin System:

A study committee made up of lawmakers and members of the public will spend the next few months discussing the future of the University of Wisconsin system and solutions for ongoing concerns, which appeared to be wide ranging during the panel’s first meeting on Thursday. 

The group will provide legislative recommendations when it wraps up its work late this year.  It comes after a legislative session that was marked by a showdown over diversity, equity and inclusion, controversy over free speech on campuses as well as the financial future of the UW system.

Committee chair Rep. Amanda Nedweski (R-Pleasant Prairie) noted during the meeting that the UW system faces challenges that include declining enrollment on many campuses  along with  fiscal constraints at individual institutions and at the system level. She said the committee would be a place to openly, honestly and respectfully discuss the issues in a public setting, even though conversations may be “intense” and “uncomfortable” at times. 

“We all are here because we share the goal of taking action that will support the function of the UW system as an effective economic driver in our state going forward,” Nedeweski said. 

The committee is made up of four state lawmakers — including Nedweski, Sen. Cory Tomczyck (R-Mosinee), Rep. Alex Joers (D-Middleton) and Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) — as well as 14 members of the public, who have an array of stakes in and ties to the UW system. It is planning to meet four other times between now and November. 

A few remarks:

  1. There is no certainty about what the study committee might propose, let alone what action might be taken on any proposals it makes.
  2. Over the years, I’ve been critical — with justification — of several administrators at UW-Whitewater. (There’s no reason to be critical of the current chancellor; he’s managing well during difficult times.)
  3. The success of our local campus is vital to the socio-economic health of Whitewater. That success does not depend on, and will not come from, a narrow focus on a particular economic advantage that the university offers to a few business people, such as student rentals.
  4. Whitewater needs to abandon the notion, so to speak, that someone who supplies hospital beds is qualified to practice medicine.
  5. After the last three years, it should be evident to residents that offering apartments for rent does not provide any unique insight into K-12 education, university education, municipal finance, Wisconsin’s Public Records Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31–19.39), Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.81–19.98), or coherent (let alone persuasive) speaking during public meetings.

Italian artist creates Eiffel Tower in farm field ahead of Paris Olympics:

Film: Wednesday, July 17th, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Napoleon

Wednesday, July 17th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of Napoleon @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building: Biography/History Rated R (violence, language) 2 hours, 38 minutes (2023) The life and times of soldier, strategist, general, emperor: Napoleon Bonaparte 1 (1769 – 1821). An incredible costume drama/historical epic, detailing the rise,…

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 7.2.24: A BioHealth Hub for Wisconsin

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see morning and evening showers with a high of 78. Sunrise is 5:21 and sunset 8:36 for 15h 15m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 12.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Community Development Authority meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress adopts the Lee Resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain, although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence is not adopted until July 4.


Erik Gunn reports Wisconsin gets $49M in federal funds for biohealth tech hub:

Wisconsin will get $49 million in federal support to develop a tech hub for biohealth, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Tuesday.

The goal of the state’s tech hub project is to advance technology to improve diagnosis and treatment for illness and centers on personalized health care — tailoring medical care to the distinctive genetic differences among patients.

“Wisconsin’s biohealth tech hub will be an economic driver for the state,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said in a news conference she held Monday to preview the announcement. “It will help entrepreneurs scale up their operations and grow. It will help expand lab space and support new research. It will support people at all educational levels get the skills that they need to land a job in this emerging sector, and it will serve as a central hub for private and public partners in biotech to coordinate and collaborate so that our state can drive innovation that benefits people around the world.”

Wisconsin’s project was one of 12 tech hub proposals in the U.S. selected for full funding, Baldwin said, winnowed from nearly 200 applications initially. The tech hub program was established under the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act.

Baldwin said the Wisconsin project has been projected to create more than 30,000 jobs and spark $9 billion in economic development over the next decade.

A project — public or private — should be judged by its promises measured against its results. And so, for this project: 30,000 jobs and $9 billion in economic development over a decade. If that result should come to pass, the project will be a notable success.

It’s a relatively small federal investment for these possible results. To come even part way to the stated goal would be a worthy accomplishment. It will take years, however, to see how far Wisconsin goes.

This federal biohealth project joins Microsoft’s recent private tech project in Wisconsin as a low-risk, high-reward effort. Both of those newer ventures seem as far from Wisconsin’s expenditure-heavy Foxconn project, for example, as one could get. (It would be impossible to go farther away from Foxconn, truly: to travel more would be to round the globe only to head in the direction one started.) See Wisconsin Tries to Leave Foxconn (and Its Misguided Boosters) Behind.

As Foxconn recedes into our past, the more absurd its proponents seem, and the more ridiculous the times in which those proponents held sway. There were some like this in Whitewater in the last decade, at the ‘Greater Whitewater’ Committee and the old CDA. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn and Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…

Platitudes and false poses, years of them.


NASA launches powerful weather satellite on Falcon Heavy rocket:

NASA TV – Kennedy Space Center, Florida – 25 June 2024 1. Various of ‘GOES-U’ satellite launch from the Kennedy Space Center STORYLINE: A Falcon Heavy rocket launched a new weather satellite into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday. The ‘GOES-U’ satellite is the newest and final addition to NOAA’s GOES-R series of satellites. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite Series. This latest satellite will assist with weather-observing and environmental monitoring by tracking local weather events that affect public safety like thunderstorms, hurricanes, wildfires, and solar storms.

Daily Bread for 6.21.24: Wisconsin Workers’ Average Pay Increases 5.3% Year Over Year

Good morning.

Friday will be partly cloudy with a possibility of afternoon showers and a high of 88. Sunrise is 5:16 and sunset 8:37 for 15h 20m 19s of daytime. The moon is full with 99.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1944, Camp Janesville was established when 250 German POWs arrived in Rock County to help pick and can peas, tomatoes, and sweet corn. The camp was a small town of tents that housed guards and the POWs, many of them from the defeated Afrika Corps led by the “Desert Fox”, Field Marshall Rommel. Another 150 prisoners were assigned to a similar camp in Jefferson. The German POWs were primarily in their mid-20s. They were eventually transferred to an undisclosed camp on September 25, 1944.

On this day in 1945, the Battle of Okinawa ends when the organized resistance of Imperial Japanese Army forces collapses in the Mabuni area on the southern tip of the main island.


Wisconsin workers’ average pay — an average — increased significantly over the last year. David Clarey reports Wisconsin workers’ average pay jumps 5.3% from last year:

Wisconsin workers’ pay rose over 5% from a year ago at this time, slightly outpacing the national average, according to a new report.

The June 5 report from payroll company ADP shows that the median annual pay in Wisconsin in May reached $59,000, up 5.3% from a year ago. That slightly beat out the nationwide median pay of $58,300 and 5% increases.

ADP’s report uses salary data from about 10 million employees over a 12-month period to calculate the data, it said in a media release.

….

ADP’s figures are slightly higher than what USA TODAY reported in February. That report showed that the average annual salary in Wisconsin was $58,552.

The United States Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported its official statistics for May 2023 in April 2024. At that time, it said the annual average wage was $59,500 out of 2,885,990 workers in Wisconsin. Nationally, the annual average wage was $65,470.

These reported wage increases are averages, and ADP’s method is a private assessment. Even within Wisconsin, there are sure to be significant variations in employment levels and salary gains. Nonetheless, gains in individual and household incomes are a foundational measure of community prosperity. The measure of an advanced, productive market economy is whether it advances personal and household well-being across all parts of a community. In this regard, the goal should be the broader the gains, the better.

Some of us in Whitewater have done well over the last generation, but some of us is an inadequate achievement. How odd that, despite having lived long in this city, a few of us don’t seem to grasp this fundamental economic goal (and moral principle).


Wildfires rage in California and New Mexico:

A Few Asides for 6.19.24

The idea of this serialized draft is to write — again and again with no fixed schedule — about the economic and development policies of Whitewater over the last generation. Serialized, as presented in installments; a draft, as a preliminary work to be edited and refashioned later. Whether one favors or disfavors Whitewater’s approach over…

Meeper Technology Loan Investigation, Memo and Documents

An investigation into public money from the Community Development Authority for Meeperbot and sister companies (those under the same ownership) is an investigation by some members of the local government (the municipal administration) into the conduct of other members of the local government (the Community Development Authority). All officials involved were (or are) public officials…

Story, Investigation, History

One reads a story, about a municipal investigation, into the conduct of other public officials, serving on the Whitewater Community Development Authority. The story is from WhitewaterWise, City officials: Internal investigation finds CDA engaged in ‘lack of proper documentation, communication and transparency’ when it ‘wrote off’ more than $750,000 in loans. The story is not…

Daily Bread for 6.17.24: Significant Progress on UW-Whitewater’s Budget

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 91. Sunrise is 5:15 and sunset 8:36 for 15h 20m 12s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 78.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Police & Fire Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1673, Marquette & Joliet reach the Mississippi: “Here we are, then, on this so renowned river, all of whose peculiar features I have endeavored to note carefully.”

On this day in 1850, Vega becomes the first star (other than the Sun) to be photographed.


Deficits continue for a handful of Universities of Wisconsin campuses. Joe Schulz reports 6 UW campuses projected to have deficits, even after cost-savings efforts (‘Regent: UW-Oshkosh has depleted its reserves ahead of 2024-25 school year’):

The number of Universities of Wisconsin campuses projected to have budget deficits heading into next school year is down from 2023. But one campus has already used all of its reserves as efforts to address budget shortfalls there have negatively impacted staff morale.

Six UW schools are projected to have deficits next school year, down from 10 last year, according to Board of Regents finance committee documents. The structural deficits at those schools range from nearly $9 million to more than $500,000. 

The six campuses are UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Superior, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater.

….

According to system projections, UW-Oshkosh is facing the largest deficit of any campus going into the 2024-25 school year. 

The other structural deficits are: 

  • UW-River Falls at $3.2 million, up from $2.0 million;
  • UW-Eau Claire at $1.6 million, down from $5.6 million;
  • UW-Superior at $1.5 million, up from $600,000;
  • UW-Parkside at $1.0 million, down from $5.3 million; 
  • And UW-Whitewater at $509,174, down from the $5.9 million.

There’s good news for Whitewater: this is a significant reduction in the structural deficit for our local campus. UW-Whitewater is in a better position now than some other campuses, however uncomfortable deficit-reduction has been.


Colorado rescue team frees dog trapped in house vent:

A twelve-week old Pekingese puppy was rescued in Parker, Colorado, on Tuesday (June 11) after being trapped for three hours in a townhouse vent.