Daily Bread for 3.16.19

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of forty-two.  Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 7:02 PM, for 11h 59m 09s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 72.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred fifty-seventh day.


On this day in 1925, Robert Hutchings Goddard achieves a breakthrough in rocketry:

Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled (gasoline and liquid oxygen) rocket on March 16, 1926, in Auburn, Massachusetts. Present at the launch were his crew chief Henry Sachs, Esther Goddard, and Percy Roope, who was Clark’s assistant professor in the physics department. Goddard’s diary entry of the event was notable for its understatement:

March 16. Went to Auburn with S[achs] in am. E[sther] and Mr. Roope came out at 1 p.m. Tried rocket at 2.30. It rose 41 feet & went 184 feet, in 2.5 secs., after the lower half of the nozzle burned off. Brought materials to lab. …[14]:143

His diary entry the next day elaborated:

March 17, 1926. The first flight with a rocket using liquid propellants was made yesterday at Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn. … Even though the release was pulled, the rocket did not rise at first, but the flame came out, and there was a steady roar. After a number of seconds it rose, slowly until it cleared the frame, and then at express train speed, curving over to the left, and striking the ice and snow, still going at a rapid rate.[14]:143

Recommended for reading in full:

Michael Gerson asks How can you defend a president who is a danger to democracy?:

A friend just returned from some time with a group of wealthy conservative donors. “They were ambivalent about Donald Trump two years ago,” he said. “Now they are vociferously pro-Trump. There’s a psychological study to be done here.”

Those in and around Republican politics have seen this dynamic at work. In spite of past misgivings, most GOP partisans seem to have accepted the idea that President Trump is their guy in the broader culture/political war.


So, in the 2018 midterm elections, Trump tried to nationalize the election on issues that motivate his party — appealing to those voters who are excited by exclusion. And GOP partisans responded by turning out in large numbers. But it was not nearly enough to counteract greater public fears.

In other words, the politics of partisan mobilization works only if you don’t scare the rest of America to death. Republicans have come to the defense of a man who is incapable of widening his appeal. And this has opened up a reality gap between the GOP and the rest of our political culture. The rift between Republican perceptions of the president and the view of the broader public has grown into a chasm. This is now the main political context of the 2020 campaign.

Releasing African Penguins:

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