Daily Bread for 4.8.18

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of forty. Sunrise is 6:23 AM and sunset 7:29 PM, for 13h 06m 35s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 47.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the five hundred fourteenth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s home-run record:

The Braves returned to Atlanta, and on April 8, 1974, a crowd of 53,775 people showed up for the game—a Braves attendance record. The game was also broadcast nationally on NBC. In the fourth inning, Aaron hit home run number 715 off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing.[6] Although Dodgers outfielder Bill Buckner nearly went over the outfield wall trying to catch it, the ball landed in the Braves’ bullpen, where relief pitcher Tom House caught it. While cannons were fired in celebration, two college students [51] sprinted onto the field and jogged alongside Aaron for part of his circuit around the bases, temporarily startling him. A very youthful Craig Sager actually interviewed Aaron between third and home for a television station, WXLT (now WWSB-Channel 40) in Sarasota.[52] As the fans cheered wildly, Aaron’s parents ran onto the field as well.

Braves announcer Milo Hamilton, calling the game on WSB radio, described the scene as Aaron broke the record: “Henry Aaron, in the second inning walked and scored. He’s sittin’ on 714. Here’s the pitch by Downing. Swinging. There’s a drive into left-center field. That ball is gonna be-eee… Outta here! It’s gone! It’s 715! There’s a new home run champion of all time, and it’s Henry Aaron! The fireworks are going. Henry Aaron is coming around third. His teammates are at home plate. And listen to this crowd!”[53]

Meanwhile, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully addressed the racial tension — or apparent lack thereof — in his call of the home run: “What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron. …And for the first time in a long time, that poker face in Aaron shows the tremendous strain and relief of what it must have been like to live with for the past several months.”[54]

Recommended for reading in full —

➤ Caroline Linton reports Trump Tower fire is second 2018 blaze in sprinkler-free residential tower:

The fire on the 50th floor New York City’s Trump Tower that left 67-year-old Todd Brassner dead and six firefighters injured was the second fire in the building in 2018 — President Trump’s centerpiece Manhattan skyscraper built that opened in 1984, but which does not have sprinklers on its residential floors. FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro noted on Saturday that the upper, residential floors of Trump Tower do not have sprinklers — a measure required in new buildings since 1999, but which President Trump, then a private citizen and property developer, lobbied to try and prevent.

New York City in 1999 became last big city in the nation to require sprinklers, according to the New York Daily News. Under the 1999 legislation, buildings constructed before then were only required to have sprinklers if they underwent gut renovations.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Trump was one of the developers in the late 1990s who lobbied against sprinklers in buildings. He then recanted once the legislation passed with grandfathering provisions that meant existing buildings did not need to install them, saying that he understood they made residents “feel safer.” Commissioner Nigro said on Saturday that there is extra fire protection at Trump Tower when Mr. Trump is there.

(There’s so much about Trump in these words: he won’t provide – even apart from legislation – a common safety measure for his tenants, he falsely denigrates that measure as offering only a feeling of safety although sprinklers have been shown to save lives, but makes sure that when he’s in the building he has “extra fire protection.”)

➤ Eve L. Ewing explains Why Authoritarians Attack the Arts:

But as Hitler understood, artists play a distinctive role in challenging authoritarianism. Art creates pathways for subversion, for political understanding and solidarity among coalition builders. Art teaches us that lives other than our own have value. Like the proverbial court jester who can openly mock the king in his own court, artists who occupy marginalized social positions can use their art to challenge structures of power in ways that would otherwise be dangerous or impossible.

Authoritarian leaders throughout history have intuited this fact and have acted accordingly. The Stalinist government of the 1930s required art to meet strict criteria of style and content to ensure that it exclusively served the purposes of state leadership. In his memoir, the composer and pianist Dmitri Shostakovich writes that the Stalinist government systematically executed all of the Soviet Union’s Ukrainian folk poets. When Augusto Pinochet took power in Chile in 1973, muralists were arrested, tortured and exiled. Soon after the coup, the singer and theater artist Víctor Jara was killed, his body riddled with bullets and displayed publicly as a warning to others. In her book “Brazilian Art Under Dictatorship,” Claudia Calirman writes that the museum director Niomar Moniz Sodré Bittencourt had to hide works of art and advise artists to leave Brazil after authorities entered her museum, blocked the exhibition and demanded the work be dismantled because it contained dangerous images like a photograph of a member of the military falling off a motorcycle, which was seen as embarrassing to the police. Such extreme intervention may seem far removed from the United States today, until we consider episodes like the president’s public castigation of the “Hamilton” cast after it issued a fairly tame commentary directed at Mike Pence.

In its last round of grants, the NEA gave $10,000 to a music festival in Oregon to commission a dance performance by people in wheelchairs and dance classes for people who use mobility devices. A cultural center in California received $10,000 to host workshops led by Muslim artists, including a hip-hop artist, a comedian and filmmakers. A chorus in Minnesota was granted $10,000 to create a concert highlighting the experiences of LGBTQ youth, to be performed in St. Paul public schools. Each of these grants supports the voices of the very people the current presidential administration has mocked, dismissed and outright harmed. Young people, queer people, immigrants, and minorities have long used art as a means of dismantling the institutions that would silence us first and kill us later, and the NEA is one of the few wide-reaching institutions that support that work.

➤ Cristian Farias writes Mueller (Quietly) Keeps Turning Up the Heat:

Right now there are two competing narratives in Washington about Robert Mueller. The first one, pushed by Paul Manafort and various members of the GOP congressional caucus, is that the special counsel is a loose cannon, accountable to no one and way over the line in his limited authority under a Department of Justice order appointing him to the job. The other, which has a much broader constituency in the capital and beyond, is that he’s playing by the rules.

The first narrative, which Manafort has been trying to sell in recent months to a federal judge in the District of Columbia, is not faring so well in the light of some new revelations over the past several days. You know you’re on the ropes when the judge, during a hearing to dispose of your (frivolous) civil lawsuit against the special counsel, calls you out: “I really don’t understand what is left of your case.” That’s what U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort’s lawyer in open court Wednesday, according to Reuters. Kevin Downing, the lawyer, is worried (and expressed those concerns to Jackson) that his client may soon face a new round of charges from Mueller. The civil lawsuit is an effort to challenge the scope of Mueller’s authority, and thereby limit Manafort’s legal exposure.

But recent court filings by the special counsel’s office in the Russia saga paint a picture very different than the one Manafort’s legal team is trying to sell: Mueller is hewing closely to his mandate to investigate links between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, and into whether crimes against the United States were committed in the process or in response to any subsequent investigation. A CNN report published Wednesday that Mueller’s team has obtained “search warrants to access electronic devices” of U.S.-bound Russian oligarchs suspected of making illegal campaign donations to the Trump campaign seems to fall squarely in line with why we have a special counsel in the first place. Mueller just won’t stop turning up the heat. 

➤ Mark Sommerhauser reports ‘Unprecedented’ outside spending hits Tammy Baldwin, boosts Kevin Nicholson in US Senate race:

Seven months before Election Day, outside groups have given Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race an early barrage of big money unlike any other in the nation — and likely, any other in history.

That torrent of political ads has put Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on the defensive. And the backing of one wealthy donor, Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein, has boosted Kevin Nicholson in his primary bid against fellow Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir.

More than $9 million has been spent in the race by outside groups, more than twice as much as any other U.S. Senate race, according to one measure by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Outside spending in Wisconsin likely is “unprecedented” for a U.S. Senate campaign, excluding special elections, at this stage, according to Andrew Mayersohn, a researcher for the center.

Before Alarm Clocks, There Were ‘Knocker-Uppers’:

 

Imagine life without alarm clocks. Workdays would start at noon, breakfast would be brunch, and no one would make it to class before the first bell. From the early 1800s through the 1960s, factory workers didn’t have much of a choice. To get to work on time, they relied on “knocker-uppers,” aka, human alarm clocks. Using long bamboo sticks, or peashooters, Britain’s knocker-uppers would stroll down the streets rapping at windows to help their patrons kick-start their days.