Daily Bread for 2.15.19

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of eighteen.  Sunrise is 6:50 AM and sunset 5:27 PM, for 10h 36m 14s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 76.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred twenty-eighth day.


On this day in 1865, at the Battle of Congaree Creek, South Carolina, the 12th Wisconsin Light Artillery participates in the Union victory over elements of the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee.


Recommended for reading in full:

 Peter Schuck writes of The Real Problem With Trump’s National Emergency Plan:

President Trump is verging on a declaration of national emergency — purely in order to fund his wall. And if he does, the courts may — or may not — reject his gambit.

But the fact that he may actually possess the legal authority to require agencies to waste billions of dollars simply to fulfill a foolish campaign promise he thinks won him the election is itself scandalous. The theatrics surrounding his petulant threat to do so obscure a vital question for our democracy going far beyond this (non)crisis, a question to which Congress should immediately turn: Who decides what constitutes a national emergency?

In hundreds of laws, Congress has given the president the power to decide. (The Brennan Center for Justice has compiled an exhaustive list.) But by failing to define crucial terms, legal standards and accountability rules, Congress has handed presidents an all-too-handy tool of tyranny commonly used by autocrats to amass more power, crush dissent and eviscerate democratic institutions. In Mr. Trump’s case, it has handed an unguided missile to an ignorant, impetuous man-child.

Congress should have known better. After all, it enacted the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which purported to regulate such declarations, only two years after President Richard Nixon’s abuses of power forced his resignation. The act actually made matters worse in a key respect: It defined a national emergency as “a general declaration of emergency made by the president.” This circular definition, of course, is no constraint at all. Or as Humpty Dumpty says to Alice, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

 Robert Costa, Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey, and Seung Min Kim report ‘Off the rails’: Inside Trump’s attempt to claim victory in his border wall defeat:

“We thought he was good to go all morning, and then suddenly it’s like everything is off the rails,” said one senior Republican aide.

By midafternoon, however, Trump was back on board — agreeing to sign the legislation with the caveat that he would also declare a national emergency in an attempt to use existing government funds to pay for wall construction. It was an option that Republican leaders had urged him to avoid but eventually accepted as necessary to escape the corner in which Trump — and his party — were trapped. McConnell promised Trump he would encourage others to support the emergency in a bid to get the president to sign, according to people familiar with the conversations.

  Why Valentine’s Day Isn’t 1-800-Flowers Busiest Day:

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