Daily Bread for 1.16.18

Good morning.

The Scene from Whitewater, WisconsinTuesday in Whitewater will see morning clouds and afternoon sunshine, with a high of twenty-three. Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:48 PM, for 9h 26m 46s of daytime. It’s a new moon today, with 0.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred thirty-second day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5 PM, and Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1920, the Prohibition takes effect in America. On this day in 1864, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry occupies Kimbrough’s Crossroads in Tennessee.


Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Ed Kilgore writes of William Barber II and the MLK Legacy of Church-Based Activism:

Recapturing the language of morality from conservatives remains one of Barber’s chief preoccupations. It is often jarring to progressives accustomed to a less fraught rhetoric of gradual social and economic progress to hear someone describe contemporary conservatives as deeply immoral people who are motivated by greed and who are making a mockery of their professed religious convictions. But while the Moral Movement was fully underway before Donald Trump executed his takeover of the GOP and the conservative movement, it now seems even more appropriate to describe the right as seized by a frenzy of immoral greed when it’s headed by the great narcissist and business pirate whose campaign was fueled by cultural resentments and hatred of “losers.” But Barber won’t let Republicans hide behind Trump:

“Trump is a symptom of a deeper moral malady. And if he was gone tomorrow or impeached tomorrow, the senators and the House of Representatives and Ryan and McConnell and Graham and all them would still be there. And what we have found, Amy, when we look at them, no matter how crazy they call him or names they call him or anger they get with him, it’s all a front, because at the end of the day, they might disagree with his antics, but they support his agenda.”

Even as Democrats fight to thwart Trump and his party in the 2018 midterms, the Poor People’s Campaign will be seeking to set a higher standard for what comes after Trump and how voters measure both parties. Barber calls the organization that will be running that campaign Repairers of the Breach, which aims at nothing less than “to redeem the heart and soul of our country.” That means convincing people used to thinking of “morality” as about enforcing sexual codes and keeping women under control to instead think first about how Americans treat the poor and oppressed. It’s hardly the first such effort, as we will recall during commemorations of Martin Luther King’s life and legacy. But it’s a psychological tonic for all those who read sacred texts and long for prophetic voices seeking justice for the afflicted rather than comfort for the powerful.

➤ Russ Choma reports  For Sale by President Trump: A Leaky, Polluted Warehouse Caught Up in a Lawsuit:

Anyone in the market for a polluted South Carolina warehouse that’s mired in a messy lawsuit? Did we mention it has a leaky roof?

President Donald Trump’s company, known for its glitzy real estate developments, is trying to find a buyer for just such a property, located in a North Charleston industrial park. The 157,000-square-foot warehouse is a vestige of one of Donald Trump Jr.’s biggest business blunders, a deal his father had to bail him out of four years ago and one that is still creating headaches for the Trump Organization.

In 2010, Trump Jr. and a few business partners launched a concrete company, Titan Atlas Manufacturing, and purchased the warehouse, once owned by Lockheed Martin, as the headquarters for their new venture. The company went bust after four years, leaving Trump Jr. holding a $3.65 million Deutsche Bank loan, secured by the warehouse. That was when the elder Trump stepped in, creating a new company, DB Pace Acquisition, which he used to buy the loan from the German bank (which was also Donald Trump’s biggest lender). Trump then foreclosed on the loan, taking the building into his own possession and out of the hands of his son’s failed concrete business. On his most recent personal financial disclosure, Trump listed DB Pace Acquisition as worth between $1 million and $5 million.

➤ Marcus Kolga reports Countering the growing threat of Russian disinformation in Canada (“The Russian government is paying off Canada’s largest media companies to expose unsuspecting television subscribers to regime-sponsored disinformation in what amounts to a surreal 24 hour propaganda informercial”):

As the number of reports about Kremlin election meddling and disinformation campaigns around the world continue to build, a disturbing Canadian report claims that the Putin regime has been paying millions of dollars annually to Canada’s largest cable providers to force feed Russian state propaganda into 6 million Canadian households since 2009.

The scheme represents a highly unusual reversal of the typical flow of money in the television distribution industry, where channel and content providers usually get paid by cable and satellite TV providers whose subscribers pay for content. The Russian government is paying off Canada’s largest media companies to expose unsuspecting television subscribers to regime-sponsored disinformation in what amounts to a surreal 24 hour propaganda informercial.

Russia Today, or RT as it’s known today, has been churning out pro-Putin propaganda, conspiracy theories and outright disinformation to support and advance the Russian regime’s foreign policy objectives since 2005.

➤ Michelle Cottle contends it’s The Perfect Pairing of Subject and Chronicler (“Disdain for playing by the rules, delight in shocking their audiences, and hunger for the approval of the elites they mock—there’s a lot that Michael Wolff and Donald Trump share in common”):

Love him or hate him, Michael Wolff, author of the dishy new Trump tell-all, Fire and Fury, is a good sport.

Thirteen years ago, after Wolff won his second National Magazine Award, I wrote a profile of him that was not especially flattering. In addition to deeming Wolff a mediocre political commentator, the piece noted that his journalistic m.o. was … unorthodox. He burned sources, busted embargoes, was less-than-meticulous about details, and had a penchant for gilding his actual reporting with colorful bits of what he imagined had happened in certain situations. He didn’t try to pass fiction off as fact so much as he wove both together in a swirl of style, substance, and snark. (Wolff has always been more about painting entertaining, impressionistic portraits than about sweating the nitty-gritty.) His flagrant disdain for journalistic conventions is a key reason Wolff has long been controversial among, and even loathed by, much of the Fourth Estate.

With the release of Fire and Fury—the gist of which is that even those in Trumpworld consider Trump unfit for office—Wolff is getting hammered by the president’s protectors. They aim to discredit his book by discrediting Wolff himself, and one of their pet tools has been my 2004 profile, which Trump supporters both inside and outside the White House have been peddling to reporters and political types. I have written many critical pieces. None has been half so fiercely weaponized—which is saying a lot, since I mostly cover politicians.

Despite all this, when I reached Wolff via email Saturday evening to ask how he was weathering the madness, he was nice as pie. He had just listened to a CNN podcast I had done about him and kindly observed that I had a “nice voice.” Nor was he crabby about any of my past or current critiques. “As my presumptive biographer, you get it about 55 percent right,” he quipped. “That’s not so bad.”

(A good friend kindly gave me a copy of Fire and Fury, and I’m enjoying the readable account.)

Students And Researchers Built A Pavilion Out Of Carbon Fiber Using Robots:

This pavilion was built by robots and drones. Researchers and students from the University of Stuttgart are studying the use of carbon fiber and glass in construction. Typical fabrication doesn’t allow for too much creativity. The lightweight composites are strong, which allow for some impressive shapes. The structure is also based on nature. It mimics the silk hammocks spun by moth larvae which shows in its bent, winding structure. Robots created the smooth fiber weaving process, and drones were also used to cover more ground. The resulting pavilion is 39 feet long, weighs 2,200 pounds, and 112 miles of woven glass and carbon fiber were used. Who knew nature could inspire such stunning architecture?