Daily Bread for 3.30.21

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 60.  Sunrise is 6:38 AM and sunset 7:19 PM, for 12h 41m 32s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets via audiovisual conferencing at 4:30 PM.

On this day in 2017, SpaceX conducts the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Steven Lee Myers writes An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order (‘As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side’):

Only days after a rancorous encounter with American officials in Alaska, China’s foreign minister joined his Russian counterpart last week to denounce Western meddling and sanctions.

He then headed to the Middle East to visit traditional American allies, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as Iran, where he signed a sweeping investment agreement on Saturday. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, reached out to Colombia one day and pledged support for North Korea on another.

Although officials denied the timing was intentional, the message clearly was. China hopes to position itself as the main challenger to an international order, led by the United States, that is generally guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law.

See also William Galston, A momentous shift in US public attitudes toward China (“Although public opinion rarely determines the specifics of U. S. foreign policy, it typically defines the zone within which policies with public visibility can be sustained over time. Recent survey research has underscored a shift in Americans’ attitudes towards China that is far-reaching enough to sustain the most adversarial stance toward the Middle Kingdom since the Nixon administration’s opening of relations half a century ago.”)

(Autocracy is a leadership’s choice; China’s leaders so choose.)

 Catherine Rampell writes Draining the swamp should start in state capitals:

The “swamp” that desperately needs draining isn’t in Washington, D.C. It’s in state capitals around the country, where undemocratic, anti-majoritarian officials are seizing rights from voters and flagrantly thwarting the will of the people.

The past week alone is replete with examples of state lawmakers, typically Republicans, ignoring or suppressing the views of constituents they’re supposed to represent.

In Missouri, Republican legislators announced their refusal to enact and fund an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program — despite the successful ballot initiative last summer adding a Medicaid expansion to the state constitution. One Republican lawmaker argued that the ballot measure, despite receiving a majority of the votes cast, cannot possibly represent the “will of the people.”

This follows similar GOP attempts in recent years to undermine popular ballot measures in other states, including one in Utah also expanding Medicaid, one in Florida restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions and one in Maine raising the minimum wage.

Michael Sainato reports AT&T said Trump’s tax cut would create jobs – now it’s laying off thousands of workers:

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the telecoms giant AT&T has announced permanent closures of hundreds of retail stores around the US and laid off thousands of workers.

The closures and losses include 320 company-owned retail stores announced in November and December 2020 and 250 stores announced in June 2020, including an estimated 3,400 cuts in technician, clerical, managerial and executive roles.

The moves come despite the company’s keen support for a major corporate tax cut under Donald Trump, which it claimed would spur it to create jobs – not cut them.

Alabama Man Films Getting Caught in Tornado:

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