Daily Bread for 6.19.17

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see scattered thunderstorms this afternoon, with a high of seventy-two on an otherwise mostly cloudy day. Sunrise is 5:16 AM and sunset 8:36 PM, for 15h 20m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 27.7% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the {tooltip}two hundred twenty-third day.{end-texte}Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.{end-tooltip}

Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets at 5:30 PM today, and her Library Board at 6:30 PM.

Baseball’s Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, is born on this day in 1903. On this day in 1864, and for the next ten months, the 4th Wisconsin Light Artillery and 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments serve at the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia.

Recommended for reading in full —

Patrick Marley writes that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Wisconsin’s redistricting case with national implications:

MADISON —  In brief order Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hold a hearing on a lower court decision that found Wisconsin Republicans overreached in 2011 by drawing legislative districts that were so favorable to them that they violated the U.S. Constitution.

The case has been watched nationally because it could resolve a question that has long eluded courts — can maps of lawmakers’ districts be so one-sided that they violate the constitutional rights of voters?

A panel of three federal judges ruled 2-1 last fall that Wisconsin lawmakers had drawn maps for the state Assembly that were so heavily skewed for Republicans as to violate the voting rights of Democrats. The judges ordered the state to develop new maps by November.

Jonathan Rauch writes that Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is a new form of American politics known as a cover-up in public view:

In an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, he declared, “I was gonna fire [Comey] regardless of [DOJ’s] recommendation.”

Still more astonishingly, he added: “And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”

So there he was, right out in the open, volunteering that he had fired an FBI director partly because that director was investigating him. It was as if Richard Nixon, in 1974, had gone on TV, after all his aides’ denials, and said, “Sure, I told the CIA to quash an FBI investigation. When I decided to do it, I said to myself, You know, this Watergate thing with Nixon is a made-up story.”

….What Trump seems to have figured out is that people quickly adjust to behavior that is open and legal, even if it is unprecedented, antisocial, and sinister. Instead, they focus on what’s secret and illegal, assuming that secretive criminal behavior must be worse.

Matt Valentine writes that The NRA is pushing policies that gun owners like me don’t want:

Having won battles against universal background checks and the federal assault weapons ban, the group has moved on to champion less-popular causes. Here in Texas, affiliates of the NRA have voiced support for the right to carry guns in college classrooms, courthouses, mental hospitals and zoos , and the right to carry a gun with no license or training whatsoever.

 But who really wants this stuff? In August 2016, a young man identified himself to the New York Times as the only remaining member of Students for Campus Carry at the University of Texas at Austin (where about 40,000 undergraduates are enrolled). I’ve observed half a dozen open-carry demonstrations in the vicinity of the Texas State Capitol — the clusters of men with semiautomatic rifles slung across their chests are conspicuous but not numerous. A 2015 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that only 32 percent of Texans wanted looser gun laws; a 2016 poll in Utah found that only 24 percent of Utahns supported legalizing permitless carrying. These are policies in search of a constituency.

Sarah Kendzior is fittingly part of St. Louis Magazine‘s A-List Awards for 2017:

Kendzior is a journalist living in Trump country, a Wash. U. Ph.D. focusing on authoritarian states who’s fluent in Russian. “The niche is pretty weird and unfortunate,” she jokes. Her unique perspective is in high demand by national news outlets, and she’s even been quoted by Hillary Clinton. Yet Kendzior plans to stay here in St. Louis—at least for now. “I’m not making long-term plans under the Trump administration,” she laughs. “I don’t think that’s a wise idea.”

Adrienne LaFrance describes The Normalization of Conspiracy Culture:

Pushing conspiracy theories helped win Trump the presidency, and he’s now banking on the idea that they’ll help him as president. He’s casting himself as the victim of a new conspiracy—a “witch hunt” perpetrated by the forces that want to see him fail.

“Donald Trump communicates through conspiracy theories,” Uscinski says. “You can win the presidency on conspiracy theories, but it’s very difficult to govern on them. Because conspiracy theories are for losers, and now he’s a winner.”

What he means is, conspiracy theories are often a way of expressing an imbalance of power by those who perceive themselves to be the underdog. “But if you control the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House, and the White House, you can’t pull that,” Uscinski says. “Just like how Hillary Clinton can’t, in 1998, say her husband’s troubles are due to a vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Which animals mostly commonly kill their own kind? (Among animals, I wouldn’t describe this as murder, but Ed Yong’s data are still interesting.)

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