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Daily Bread for 2.14.20

Good morning.

Valentine’s Day in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of fourteen.  Sunrise is 6:52 AM and sunset 5:25 PM, for 10h 32m 52s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 64.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

On this day in 1960, Sen. Kennedy campaigns in Fort Atkinson.

Recommended for reading in full —

Ishaan Tharoor writes Trump’s authoritarian style is remaking America:

The president’s demagoguery has left a deep mark on American society. An investigation by my colleagues sifted through 28,000 reports of bullying in U.S. schools and found hundreds of incidents in which Trump-inspired rhetoric was used to harass children, especially students from Hispanic, black or Muslim backgrounds.

“Since Trump’s rise to the nation’s highest office, his inflammatory language — often condemned as racist and xenophobic — has seeped into schools across America,” my colleagues wrote. “Many bullies now target other children differently than they used to, with kids as young as 6 mimicking the president’s insults and the cruel way he delivers them.”

This unsettling trend speaks of a deeper malaise and entrenched divisions. David Roberts at Vox argued that the United States is in the grips of an “epistemic” crisis: A decades-long right-wing project to create its own media bubble cemented a polarized political reality in which rival camps can’t even agree on the facts of their disagreements.

“That is what a tribalist like Trump wants: for communication and compromise across tribal lines to become impossible, so that loyalty becomes the only measure and everything is reduced to pure struggle for dominance,” Roberts wrote.

….

“The Republican Party is betraying democracy, and these are historical times,” Jason Stanley, a Yale philosophy professor and author of “How Fascism Works,” told Business Insider. “The Republican Party has shown that it has no interest in multi-party democracy. … They are much more concerned with power, with consolidating power.”

Michael Brice-Saddler reports Attorney General William Barr condemned by 39 prosecutors for ‘dangerous and failed’ approach to criminal justice:

Thirty-nine elected prosecutors in a joint statement condemned Attorney General William P. Barr for recent his rhetoric that attacked progressive policies, arguing that his “dangerous and failed” approach to criminal justice disproportionately punished poor people and racial minorities while diverting resources away from more serious crimes.

“Sadly, we are perceived as a threat by some who are wedded to the status quo or, even worse, failed policies of past decades,” the 39 state, county and city prosecutors wrote. “Critics such as Attorney General William P. Barr seek to bring us back to a time when crime was high, success was measured by how harsh the punishment was, and a fear-driven narrative prevailed.”

In their letter, the signatories warned against returning to a “‘tough on crime’ era” that ignored facts and encouraged mass incarceration. Instead, they argued, evidence shows that a data-based approach is not only more effective, but also strengthens community trust.

“We know policies based on fear don’t work; they simply deepen divides and promote a false narrative,” the letter read. “For too long communities were told that locking up poor people for crimes like shoplifting and drug possession would make them safer, when time and time again all it resulted in was the fracturing of families, intergenerational cycles of incarceration, a destabilization of communities and a growing distrust of law enforcement.”

  Red supergiant star Betelgeuse’s ‘apparent shape is changing’:

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