Daily Bread for 2.13.20

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be snowy, with a high of twelve.  Sunrise is 6:53 AM and sunset 5:24 PM, for 10h 30m 10s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 76.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred ninety-second day.

On this day in 1960,  France becomes the fourth country to possess nuclear weapons after a successful nuclear test codenamed Gerboise Bleue.

Recommended for reading in full —

McKay Coppins writes The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President (‘How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election):

Every presidential campaign sees its share of spin and misdirection, but this year’s contest promises to be different. In conversations with political strategists and other experts, a dystopian picture of the general election comes into view—one shaped by coordinated bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-targeted fearmongering, and anonymous mass texting. Both parties will have these tools at their disposal. But in the hands of a president who lies constantly, who traffics in conspiracy theories, and who readily manipulates the levers of government for his own gain, their potential to wreak havoc is enormous.

The Trump campaign is planning to spend more than $1 billion, and it will be aided by a vast coalition of partisan media, outside political groups, and enterprising freelance operatives. These pro-Trump forces are poised to wage what could be the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history. Whether or not it succeeds in reelecting the president, the wreckage it leaves behind could be irreparable.

The campaign is run from the 14th floor of a gleaming, modern office tower in Rosslyn, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Glass-walled conference rooms look out on the Potomac River. Rows of sleek monitors line the main office space. Unlike the bootstrap operation that first got Trump elected—with its motley band of B-teamers toiling in an unfinished space in Trump Tower—his 2020 enterprise is heavily funded, technologically sophisticated, and staffed with dozens of experienced operatives. One Republican strategist referred to it, admiringly, as “the Death Star.”

Bruce Thompson describes The Republicans’ Gerrymander Scheme:

In recent weeks there has been widespread speculation that the Republican-dominated Legislature would try to exclude Governor Tony Evers from a say in redistricting the state following the 2020 census. GOP legislators would do this by passing revised districts in a joint resolution from the state Assembly and Senate rather than a bill. Unlike a bill, a joint resolution cannot be vetoed by the governor.


The idea of cutting the governor out of this normal legislative process has come up before: In a 1961 decisionReynolds v. Zimmerman, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected a previous attempt to use a joint resolution process for redistricting. Fundamental to this decision was the consideration that, while individual legislators represented the interests of their districts, only the governor represented the interests of Wisconsin as a whole.

The behavior of the present conservative majority on the state Supreme Court has led to concerns that the court might be willing to reverse Reynolds v. Zimmerman and allow Republican legislators to adopt a new gerrymander through a joint resolution rather than a legislative bill. This concern reflects both the majority’s willingness to ignore stare decisis—the principle that the court should be reluctant to overturn past decisions. It also reflects a perception that where the court comes down is influenced by what would help Republicans.

  Birds gliding through bubbles reveal an aerodynamic trick:

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