Daily Bread for 10.8.18

Good morning.

 Monday in Whitewater will see scattered thunderstorms with a high of eighty-one.  Sunrise is 7:01 AM and sunset 6:23 PM, for 11h 22m 09s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 3.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the six hundred ninety-ninth day.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1871, the Peshtigo Fire sweeps across over a million acres in Wisconsin:

On this date Peshtigo, Wisconsin was devastated by a fire which took 1,200 lives. The fire caused over $2 million in damages and destroyed 1.25 million acres of forest. This was the greatest human loss due to fire in the history of the United States. The Peshtigo Fire was overshadowed by the Great Chicago fire which occurred on the same day, killing 250 people and lasting three days. While the Chicago fire is said to have started by a cow kicking over a lantern, it is uncertain how the Peshtigo fire began.

Recommended for reading in full — Another conservative leaves the Republican party, junk science in the service of Kavanaugh, Kasparov explains protests, Fox News won’t die away, and video of a diver riding a baby whale  —

 Conservative Tom Nichols writes Why I’m Leaving the Republican Party (“The Kavanaugh confirmation fight revealed the GOP to be the party of situational ethics and moral relativism in the name of winning at all costs”):

The Republicans, however, have now eclipsed the Democrats as a threat to the rule of law and to the constitutional norms of American society. They have become all about winning. Winning means not losing, and so instead of acting like a co-equal branch of government responsible for advice and consent, congressional Republicans now act like a parliamentary party facing the constant threat of a vote of no-confidence.

That it is necessary to place limitations, including self-limitations, on the exercise of power is—or was—a core belief among conservatives. No longer. Raw power, wielded so deftly by Senator Mitch McConnell, is exercised for its own sake, and by that I mean for the sake of fleecing gullible voters on hot-button social issues so that Republicans may stay in power. Of course, the institutional GOP will say that it countenances all of Trump’s many sins, and its own straying from principle, for good reason (including, of course, the holy grail of ending legal abortion).

Politics is about the exercise of power. But the new Trumpist GOP is not exercising power in the pursuit of anything resembling principle, and certainly not for conservative or Republican principles.

Free trade? Republicans are suddenly in love with tariffs, and now sound like bad imitations of early 1980s protectionist Democrats. A robust foreign policy? Not only have Republicans abandoned their claim to being the national-security party, they have managed to convince the party faithful that Russia—an avowed enemy that directly attacked our political institutions—is less of a threat than their neighbors who might be voting for Democrats. Respect for law enforcement? The GOP is backing Trump in attacks on the FBI and the entire intelligence community as Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in on the web of lies, financial arrangements, and Russian entanglements known collectively as the Trump campaign.

Avi Selk describes The junk science Republicans used to undermine Ford and help save Kavanaugh:

In days leading up to the confirmation vote, the same notion was implicit in the rationale of every senator who attempted to defend Kavanaugh without wholly dismissing Ford’s accusations — her vivid testimony that he pinned her to a bed and tried to rape her when they were teens in the 1980s:

  • “I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life,” said Susan Collins (R-Maine), who gave Kavanaugh his crucial 50th vote.
  • “Something happened to Dr. Ford; I don’t believe the facts show it was Brett Kavanaugh,” said Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), the only Democrat to support the nominee.
  • “That would get me off the hook of having to make a hard decision,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of Kavanaugh’s most loyal defenders. “I don’t know if this is a case of mistaken identity.”

It’s easy to forget that less than three weeks ago, when the mistaken-identity theory was first formulated, it was so widely ridiculed that a pundit who advanced it on Twitter subsequently apologized and offered to resignfrom his job. But for many cognitive researchers who study how memories actually form during traumatic events, the theory never stopped sounding ridiculous.

“The person lying on top of you — who she’d previously met — you’re not going to forget that,” said Richard Huganir, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “There’s a total consensus in the field of memory … If anything, fear and trauma enhances the encoding of the memory at a molecular level.”

As he and several other researchers told The Washington Post, being attacked floods the brain with chemicals, including norepinephrine, which helps people remember whatever they are focused on. (Ford, a psychologist herself, even mentioned it in her testimony.)

Kasparov explains protests:

Maxwell Tani writes Why Fox News Will Never Die (“The past two years saw the network weather a host of sexual harassment scandals and boycotts—and yet it’s emerged stronger than ever”):

In many ways, Trump built his campaign on the main programming themes that Fox News has run for years: the perceived victimization of conservatives by the left and the media.

Charlie Sykes, a longtime conservative radio host, noted that the scandals and boycotts haven’t hurt Fox because the network understands it will stay in business by “tending to and feeding the tribe.”

“Fox followed their audience into full-on Trumpism, making themselves into a safe space for the right,” Sykes said. “The scandals don’t hurt Fox for the same reasons that Trump’s scandals and lies don’t seem to hurt him. Fox is a reflection of this new political culture as much as they are its creator.”

“The audience/base don’t care as long as they own the libs.”

A Diver Rides a Curious Baby Whale:

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