Daily Bread for 3.4.19

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of nine.  Sunrise is 6:24 AM and sunset 5:48 PM, for 11h 24m 17s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 4.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred forty-fifth day.

Downtown Whitewater, Inc.’s board meets tonight at 5 PM.

On this day in 1863, the 22nd Wisconsin Infantry fights in the Battle of Thompson’s Station, also known as the Battle of Spring Hill, about 30 miles south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Recommended for reading in full:

Jane Mayer reports The Making of the Fox News White House (“Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?”):

In January, during the longest government shutdown in America’s history, President Donald Trump rode in a motorcade through Hidalgo County, Texas, eventually stopping on a grassy bluff overlooking the Rio Grande. The White House wanted to dramatize what Trump was portraying as a national emergency: the need to build a wall along the Mexican border. The presence of armored vehicles, bales of confiscated marijuana, and federal agents in flak jackets underscored the message.

But the photo op dramatized something else about the Administration. After members of the press pool got out of vans and headed over to where the President was about to speak, they noticed that Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, was already on location. Unlike them, he hadn’t been confined by the Secret Service, and was mingling with Administration officials, at one point hugging Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security. The pool report noted that Hannity was seen “huddling” with the White House communications director, Bill Shine. After the photo op, Hannity had an exclusive on-air interview with Trump. Politico later reported that it was Hannity’s seventh interview with the President, and Fox’s forty-second. Since then, Trump has given Fox two more. He has granted only ten to the three other main television networks combined, and none to CNN, which he denounces as “fake news.”

Hannity was treated in Texas like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one. The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Fox has long been a bane of liberals, but in the past two years many people who watch the network closely, including some Fox alumni, say that it has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States. Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the author of “Messengers of the Right,” a history of the conservative media’s impact on American politics, says of Fox, “It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.”

Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support.

How Did the Practice of Having Sports Mascots Start?:

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3 years ago

It is becoming clear what the wedge-issues will be for the next general election: socialism and weed.

Socialism, the well-worn boogie-man of the last ¾ of a century, has gotten a new life with the election of a cabal of sassy young women democrats. AOC is driving the rabid right even crazier than Hillary did. Of course, AOC appears to be a genuine progressive, not a warmed over “Third-Way” triangulator. That apparently strikes fear into the hearts of the MAGA crowd. When I ask people what they are trashing AOC over, they just sputter about her being a “gawdam soshulist”. My guess is that is cover for their being very uncomfortable about a young and articulate woman of color getting up in their faces and making irrefutable points. Whatever the reason, AOC is putting the witch back in witch-hunt, and giving the right someone to blame their failures on.

Weed is the more interesting issue. Every major Democratic presidential wanna-be has gotten seriously behind pot legalization. It is clearly an idea whose time has come. It is also a “golden-wedgie” because there is near-universal support for the idea, even in deep-red states. It is an ideal issue, given that while there are partisan differences among representatives, based on party, there is support among the voters in all parties. That puts the R-team in the position of getting on board, or bucking their voters. Not a happy place for them.

This is an issue that ought to make the 10th-amendment fetishists happier than pigs in shit. The states are in the forefront of asserting themselves on this issue, while the congress quavers in fear. There is a pot-a-copia of state-level legislation that has been introduced in just the last few weeks. The methods vary, based on various state constitutions, to putting legalization in budgets (like here in Wisco-World, and 3 other states), to outright legislation, as MN and IL will do within the year, to binding ballot referendums, as MI just did. Weed seems to win almost everywhere, except ND.

I doubt that Vos and Fitz will let it stay in the WI state budget, which will preserve its wedge utility in Wisco-World. If it gets axed in the budget, there will be a non-binding referendum on the 2020 ballot, for sure. The republicans will get clubbed like baby seals on this issue. Weed is the one issue that has the possibility of overturning Gerrymandering at the ballot box, rather than in court.