Daily Bread for 9.21.19

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see scattered thundershowers with a high of seventy-six.  Sunrise is 6:41 AM and sunset 6:53 PM, for 12h 11m 44s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 56.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand forty-seventh day.

On this day in 1962, Janesville, Wisconsin’s oldest mill closes:

Janesville’s oldest manufacturer, Rock River Woolen Mills, ceased operation after 113 years….Started in 1849 as Monterey Water Power Mill, the mills initially produced fine yarns, flannels and cashmere.

Recommended for reading in full:

Benjamin Wittes writes The Witness and the Whistleblower: Some Thoughts:

If it is true that the president used the threat of withholding congressionally authorized funds to—in the Post’s words—“extort” a foreign leader into investigating a domestic political opponent and his family, that would be a very big deal indeed. That allegation, if true, would unambiguously constitute an impeachable offense, indeed an offense that positively demands impeachment from any Congress that wishes to be taken seriously. It would be impeachable for at least three separate reasons: first, because it would involve the extortion of a foreign leader for personal and political gain; second, because it would involve the solicitation of a foreign government’s involvement in a U.S. election; and third, because it would involve the solicitation of a foreign government’s investigation of a political opponent in a fashion that grossly violates the civil liberties of a U.S. person, namely Biden’s son.


Without getting into the question of whether Congress would ultimately prevail if it decided to lock horns with the executive branch over the production of the whistleblower’s complaint, I will say that there is little to no chance of Congress prevailing quickly in court. If this goes to litigation, it will mean a months-long stand-off. Congress will once again be deferring to an executive branch investigation (in this case, that of the inspector general) that will be conducted in secret. And the legislature will be waiting for the fruits of that investigation to show up at its door—asking the executive branch to share information for it to evaluate, rather than developing that information itself.


Congress needs to think hard about how to raise the costs, both to the executive and to individual witnesses, of the sort of defiance it has seen—and to shorten the time frame for addressing defiance. One oft-discussed possibility is to revive the long-dormant inherent contempt power of Congress and to begin using it to coerce compliance by recalcitrant witnesses. Imposition of large and mounting daily fines could effectively force witnesses to bear the risk of delay and defiance, and it has the advantage of not depending on executive branch enforcement for a contempt citation. But it’s also a big risk. The power hasn’t been deployed in a long time, and it’s not 100 percent clear that courts would tolerate it.

(Whether the president has committed an underling, impeachable offense here is separate from the executive branch’s refusal to transmit the whistleblower’s complaint.  The subject of the complaint is the critical issue.)

Jupiter’s Moon Io Casts Large Shadow on Gas Giant Planet:

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