FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 10.12.18

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of forty-four.  Sunrise is 7:05 AM and sunset 6:16 PM, for 11h 10m 47s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 13.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred third day.

 

On this day in 1782, Henry Dodge is born:

On this date Territorial Governor Henry Dodge was born in Vincennes, Indiana. The son of Israel Dodge and Nancy Hunter, Henry Dodge was the first Territorial Governor of Wisconsin. Prior to this position, he served as Marshall and Brigadier General of the Missouri Territory, Chief Justice of the Iowa County (Wisconsin) Court. During the Black Hawk War of 1832 he led the Wisconsin militia who ultimately brought the conflict to its tragic end. He served as Territorial Governor from July 3, 1836 to October 5, 1841 and again from May 13, 1845 to June 7, 1848. He also served as U.S. Territorial Senator from 1841 to 1846. When Wisconsin was admitted to the Union as a State, dodge was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate; he was reelected in 1851 and served from June 8, 1848, to March 3, 1857. He was also twice nominated for President and once for Vice President, all of which he declined. Henry Dodge died on June 19, 1867 in Burlington, Iowa.

Recommended for reading in full —  A five-year-old was persuaded to sign away her rights at the U.S. border, homegrown disinformation, Georgia Republican keeps thousands of voter registrations on hold, Ukrainian Christians break from Moscow’s political control, and a video about the Apollo space program’s origins —

Sarah Stillman reports The Five-Year-Old Who Was Detained at the Border and Persuaded to Sign Away Her Rights:

Helen—a smart, cheerful five-year-old girl—is an asylum seeker from Honduras. This summer, when a social worker asked her to identify her strengths, Helen shared her pride in “her ability to learn fast and express her feelings and concerns.” She also recounted her favorite activities (“playing with her dolls”), her usual bedtime (“8 p.m.”), and her professional aspirations (“to be a veterinarian”).

….

According to a long-standing legal precedent known as the Flores settlement, which established guidelines for keeping children in immigration detention, Helen had a right to a bond hearing before a judge; that hearing would have likely hastened her release from government custody and her return to her family. At the time of her apprehension, in fact, Helen checked a box on a line that read, “I do request an immigration judge,” asserting her legal right to have her custody reviewed. But, in early August, an unknown official handed Helen a legal document, a “Request for a Flores Bond Hearing,” which described a set of legal proceedings and rights that would have been difficult for Helen to comprehend. (“In a Flores bond hearing, an immigration judge reviews your case to determine whether you pose a danger to the community,” the document began.) On Helen’s form, which was filled out with assistance from officials, there is a checked box next to a line that says, “I withdraw my previous request for a Flores bond hearing.” Beneath that line, the five-year-old signed her name in wobbly letters.

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Who Will Jefferson’s Residents Believe: Officials or Their Own Eyes?

For three years, the Harry Potter Festival (in Edgerton and then Jefferson, Wisconsin) has been a fiasco and disappointment. (Note: I’ve not experienced personal disappointment: hundreds of patrons have.) It’s now re-branded as the Warriors and Wizards festival – because ignorant promoters ran afoul of the intellectual property rights of Warner Bros. – and with two weeks to go, it’s still a foul mess.

The best of the guests have already dropped out, because they contend they’ve not been compensated under the terms of their contracts. From Sean Biggerstaff’s thread on Twitter:

I am disappointed and also angered to say that I will not be appearing at the in Jefferson, Wisconsin this month. This is due to incompetence and dishonesty on the part of Scott Cramer, the head of the festival, who has known for some time that the event is in trouble, has been lying about it, and is now in breach of contract with me.

My representative and I have planned our schedules and indeed our finances around this and are now out of pocket and have wasted a great deal of time on it. The event itself is unlikely to go ahead in my opinion, as it would appear they have no money to pay contributors, and I’d appreciate it if followers of mine who are involved in the convention scene would share this thread as much as possible.

I don’t want any more fans to spend their money on tickets/travel/accommodation only to be disappointed. Very sorry if anyone is booked to come in the hope of seeing me.

Please know we did everything we could to make it happen. I’ll tag in some relevant parties so people are aware of this outfit.

They are now continuing to advertise my appearance whilst taking down posts about problems with the event. In other words, *deliberately* selling tickets to fans based on false information.

Stay well clear of these absolute shysters.

Yeah, they’ve been waffling, bullshitting even downright lying their way through everyone’s concerns.

So why the hell are city councils getting into bed with these shysters?

Why, indeed?

These vulgar promoters and the scheming local officials who cater to them aren’t helping their city – they’re ruining it. 

What’s telling is how (1) officials have insisted 50,000 previously attended last year when that’s almost impossible given the size of the town and reports from attendees, (2) Jefferson’s government signed on for five more years after the festival’s last three years of failure, (3) someone at UW-Whitewater apparently produced a ludicrous study claiming $33 million in economic benefits from this mess, (4) the promoters seem to be claiming tens of thousands in charitable contributions no one can or will identify, and (5) the Daily Union struggles between lying on behalf of city officials, laughable spokespeople, and not-worth-an-undergraduate-degree-let-alone-a-doctorate economic studies and telling the truth to people who actually live in Jefferson, Wisconsin.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 10.11.18

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of forty-eight.  Sunrise is 7:04 AM and sunset 6:18 PM, for 11h 13m 37s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 7.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred second day.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee is scheduled to meet again today at 6:00 PM.

On this day in 1942, the United States engages Japanese naval forces at the Battle of Cape Esperance:

Shortly before midnight on 11 October, a U.S. force of four cruisers and five destroyers—under the command of Rear Admiral Norman Scott—intercepted [Rear Admiral Aritomo] Goto’s force as it approached Savo Island near Guadalcanal. Taking the Japanese by surprise, Scott’s warships sank one of Goto’s cruisers and one of his destroyers, heavily damaged another cruiser, mortally wounded Goto, and forced the rest of Goto’s warships to abandon the bombardment mission and retreat. During the exchange of gunfire, one of Scott’s destroyers was sunk and one cruiser and another destroyer were heavily damaged. In the meantime, the Japanese supply convoy successfully completed unloading at Guadalcanal and began its return journey without being discovered by Scott’s force. Later on the morning of 12 October, four Japanese destroyers from the supply convoy turned back to assist Goto’s retreating, damaged warships. Air attacks by U.S. aircraft from Henderson Field sank two of these destroyers later that day.

Recommended for reading in full —  Nearly every line of Trump’s USA Today op-ed was false or misleading, Trump’s conflicts of interest with the Saudis, the Saudis don’t respect Trump, Republicans accept Trump’s corruption, and video on how to make a proper cup of tea (according to George Orwell) —

Glenn Kessler is Fact-checking President Trump’s USA Today op-ed on ‘Medicare-for-All’ (“Nearly every line of President Trump’s USA Today op-ed contained a false or misleading statement”):

President Trump wrote an opinion article for USA Today on Oct. 10 regarding proposals to expand Medicare to all Americans — known as Medicare-for-All — in which almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.

Many of these are claims we have already debunked. Presumably, the president is aware of our fact checks — he even links to two — but chose to ignore the facts in service of a campaign-style op-ed. Medicare-for-All is a complex subject, and serious questions could be raised about the cost and how a transition from today’s health-care system would be financed. Trump correctly notes that studies have estimated that the program — under the version promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — would add $32.6 trillion in costs to the federal government over 10 years. (He doesn’t mention that costs in theory would go down for individuals, state governments and others, so overall national health expenditures may not increase and could even decrease.)

But this is not a serious effort to debate the issue.

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The ‘Republican’ Candidate’s Meet and Greet

One reads that the self-described Republican candidate for the 43rd Assembly District will hold a meet and greet next week at a private establishment in town. Good for him – free speech is a core political right. (He’s also scheduled to appear at a local candidate’s forum this week. See The First & Last Questions.)

He’s a Republican, that simply expressed? No, that’s not quite candid enough. Gabriel Szerlong is either a Trumpist or he isn’t: that’s the political question of our time.  His party is a Trumpist party.  It lives and breathes Donald J. Trump.

As for seeing the country as merely a two-party universe, one can be assured that millions of independents (including libertarians) know the cosmos is wider and more diverse than that.

If, however, one hears that this is a Republican meet and greet, one should be clear about what that means.

Candidate Szerlong may euphemistically describe himself as a ‘Republican,’ but it’s Trumpism that rules that party, Trumpism that demands members’ allegiance, Trumpism that threatens this society and this small and beautiful town from which I write.

Trumpism fully implemented would destroy Whitewater’s society and economy. 

When Community Development Chairman Larry Kachel met with James Sensenbrenner, he met with a Trumpist. When CDA Executive Director Dave Carlson told a radio audience that Sensenbrenner is ‘our guy,’ he was too familiar by far: Sensenbrenner is the city’s congressman, but he’s no more Whitewater’s guy (in a warm and supportive sense) than would be any other aged reactionary.

(Sensenbrenner votes in line with Trump’s positions 88.2% of the time; Sensenbrenner on 7.5.18, asking for support for Trump after an executive order reducing the effects of Trump’s own family separation policy: “I am waiting to hear any of my friends from the left stand up and say Trump did the right thing when he signed that executive order.” Sensenbrenner might as well ask for support for an arsonist who burns down house after house but then splashes a cup of water on the collapsing homes and expects praise for that meager effort.)

No bad empty economic deal (see About that Trump Tax Plan) will compensate for an even worse policy of authoritarianism and ethnic favoritism.… Continue reading

Never Means Never

Among the vast numbers who oppose Trump, those who are libertarian or conservative have often – as I have – signaled that opposition as part of Never Trump. (On Twitter, this is often written with a hashtag, as #NeverTrump.)

Funny, but even after years since Never Trump began (and many of us were opposed to him from the beginning), there’s a reflex among some to insist that Never Trump needs to concede, relent, and acquiesce to this new order in America.

A reply from Tom Nichols on Twitter, to a tweet from the self-described ‘Reagan Batallion’ sets one straight on what opposition to Trump means:

The Reagan Batallion, 8:20 AM – 9 Oct 2018:

‘Never’ automatically expired on Election Day when Trump won, most of us can accept fact. We praise him when he does good, and criticize him when he does the opposite.

Tom Nichols, 10:09 PM – 9 Oct 2018:

This is not what “Never Trump” means, at least to me. To me it means: rejecting the basis of how Trump governs, even when it accidentally produces outcomes I might otherwise like. That’s like accepting an abusive partner or friend because they’re nice every few weeks.

Nichols understands what never means. It means never accepting a bigoted autocratic grifter: never before, never now, never in the future.  A civilized man or woman would not accept the Know Nothings, Confederates, Copperheads, Klan, or Bund even if (as they occasionally did) they had moments of political (or military) success.

Acceptance of wickedness isn’t maturity, it’s appeasement of evil.

Never means never.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 10.10.18

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will see scattered thunderstorms with a high of seventy-one.  Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 6:19 PM, for 11h 16m 27s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred first day.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee is scheduled to meet at 6:00 PM.

On this day in 1973, Vice President Agnew resigns:

Under increasing pressure to resign, Agnew took the position that a sitting vice president could not be indicted and met with Speaker of the House Carl Albert on September 25, asking for an investigation. He cited as precedent an 1826 House investigation of Vice President John C. Calhoun, who was alleged to have taken improper payments while a cabinet member. Albert, second in line to the presidency under Agnew, responded that it would be improper for the House to act in a matter before the courts.[171] Agnew also filed a motion to block any indictment on the grounds that he had been prejudiced by improper leaks from the Justice Department, and tried to rally public opinion, giving a speech before a friendly audience in Los Angeles asserting his innocence and attacking the prosecution.[172] Nevertheless, Agnew entered into negotiations for a plea bargain, and wrote in his memoirs that he did so because he was worn out from the extended crisis, to protect his family, and because he feared he could not get a fair trial.[173] He made his decision on October 5, and plea negotiations took place over the following days. On October 9, Agnew visited Nixon at the White House and informed the President of his impending resignation.[174]

Recommended for reading in full —  An update on connections between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization, Putin’s popularity plummets, civility has its limits, Trump campaign official sought online manipulation plans from an Isreali firm, and video of a priest at Marquette who offers online music lessons in a folk instrument —

Readers may recall Franklin Foer’s October 31, 2016 story on possible connections between a Russian bank’s server and the Trump Organization (Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?). Now Dexter Filkins has a compelling update on computer scientists’ assessment of that electronic traffic in Was There a Connection Between a Russian Bank and the Trump Campaign? (“A team of computer scientists sifted through records of unusual Web traffic in search of answers”):

In June, 2016, after news broke that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, a group of prominent computer scientists went on alert. Reports said that the infiltrators were probably Russian, which suggested to most members of the group that one of the country’s intelligence agencies had been involved. They speculated that if the Russians were hacking the Democrats they must be hacking the Republicans, too. “We thought there was no way in the world the Russians would just attack the Democrats,” one of the computer scientists, who asked to be identified only as Max [one of the computer researchers] told me.

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The First & Last Questions

There’s a local debate candidate forum scheduled for this weekend between the Democrat and Republican running for the 43rd Assembly district (a portion of which includes Whitewater).

The Whitewater Area League of Women Voters is hosting this event, and writes to reassure prospective attendees that they may “ask questions of the candidates by writing them on cards, which are forwarded to the forum moderator after being checked for redundancy by a panel of League question checkers.” (One might have thought that a single person would be able to check questions for redundancy, in the way a single person can tell if she’s buying too many of the same item or standing in the same line twice, but perhaps if one member of the League panel dozes off, at least others yet awake will be able to carry on the work of redundancy-checking.)

Although there may be a hundred interesting questions, there is one critical political question:

Do you favor or do you oppose Trumpism?

During a fire, questions about sports, art, or literature – however curious on their own – work by diversion against firefighting and in favor of a worse conflagration.

The question of Trumpism properly begins and ends all political discussion. Any other questions by their nature avoid this topic, and through avoidance work an implicit acceptance.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 10.9.18

Good morning.

 Tuesday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon thunderstorms with a high of eighty.  Sunrise is 7:02 AM and sunset 6:21 PM, for 11h 19m 18s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundredth day.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee is scheduled to meet at 6:00 PM.

On this day in 1975, Andrei Sakharov is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

The father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, Andrei Sakharov, was awarded the Peace Prize in 1975 for his opposition to the abuse of power and his work for human rights. The leaders of the Soviet Union reacted with fury, and refused Sakharov permission to travel to Oslo to receive the Prize. His wife, Jelena Bonner, received it on his behalf. Sakharov was subsequently deprived of all his Soviet honorary titles, and the couple was for several years kept under strict surveillance in the town of Gorkij. Only when Gorbachev came to power in 1985 were they allowed to return to Moscow.

Sakharov revealed his talent for theoretical physics at an early age, and got a doctorate in 1945. From 1948 on, under the supervision of the Nobel Laureate Igor Tamm, he worked on the development of a Soviet hydrogen bomb. Sakharov was patriotic, and believed it was important to break the American monopoly on nuclear weapons. But from the late 1950s on, he issued warnings against the consequences of the arms race, and in the 1960s and 1970s he voiced sharp criticism of the system of Soviet society, which in his opinion departed from fundamental human rights.

Recommended for reading in full —  Trump drowns America in red ink, asking to whom Trump has a personal indebtedness, the darkness that’s overcome conservativism, a Plan B in response to Trumpism, and video of a New York rat so big even a cat clears out   —

Heather Long writes Trump’s economy means soaring deficits, too:

As most of America was glued to the final twists of the Brett M. Kavanaugh vote last Friday, the Congressional Budget Office dropped a whopper of a report. The United States federal government ran a deficit of $782 billion in fiscal 2018, the CBO said, the highest since 2012 and substantially higher than last year’s $666 billion. 

This isn’t supposed to happen. The U.S. economy is humming, and a hot economy is supposed to translate into higher tax revenue and very tiny deficits. In fact, the last time unemployment was around this level — in 2000 and 1969 — the U.S. government ran a surplus.

President Trump vowed to eliminate the debt in eight years while he was campaigning for president. Instead, he is presiding over ballooning deficits, an unprecedented situation during strong economic times. In fiscal 2018, which concluded at the end of September, spending jumped 129 percent while tax receipts rose 0.4 percent.

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Russian disinformation campaigns

Alina Polyakova asks What do Russian disinformation campaigns look like, and how can we protect our elections?:

As technological capabilities progress, the threat of political warfare is becoming an even more serious threat to democratic elections. David M. Rubenstein Fellow Alina Polyakova analyzes past disinformation campaigns and political warfare tools employed by hostile foreign actors in Russia and elsewhere. She also discusses how these tactics are influencing U.S. midterm and other elections and what the U.S. can do to protect its electoral system.

  • One of the goals of Russian information warfare is to create a society in which we can’t tell the difference between fact and fiction.
  • The Russian government is becoming more sophisticated in mastering the tools of political warfare for the digital age. This includes the use of bots, trolls, microtargeting to spread disinformation.
  • The strategies are not new but the digital tools are.
  • Over the next few months we are going to see more disinformation campaigns, including fake websites that work together as a network to spread disinformation, fake personalities and entities on Twitter and Facebook, and manipulation of social media networks’ algorithms, including Google, YouTube, and others. And we’re not really paying enough attention to algorithmic manipulation.
  • The more frightening development that we are likely to see in the next 12-16 months is the use of artificial intelligence to enhance the tools of political warfare.
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Film: Tuesday, October 9th, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Victoria and Abdul

This Tuesday, October 9th at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of Victoria and Abdul @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin community building:

Victoria and Abdul (biography, drama, romance, history)
Tuesday, October 9, 12:30 pm
Rated PG-13. 1 hour, 51 min. (2017)

In 1887, when Abdul Karim, an Indian clerk in his twenties, comes to Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, he stays long after and develops a close and sometimes controversial friendship with the aging queen (portrayed by Dame Judi Dench). A BBC Film production that garnered nominations for Best Actress, Set and Costume Designs.

One can find more information about Victoria and Abdul at the Internet Movie Database.

Enjoy.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 10.8.18

Good morning.

 Monday in Whitewater will see scattered thunderstorms with a high of eighty-one.  Sunrise is 7:01 AM and sunset 6:23 PM, for 11h 22m 09s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 3.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the six hundred ninety-ninth day.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1871, the Peshtigo Fire sweeps across over a million acres in Wisconsin:

On this date Peshtigo, Wisconsin was devastated by a fire which took 1,200 lives. The fire caused over $2 million in damages and destroyed 1.25 million acres of forest. This was the greatest human loss due to fire in the history of the United States. The Peshtigo Fire was overshadowed by the Great Chicago fire which occurred on the same day, killing 250 people and lasting three days. While the Chicago fire is said to have started by a cow kicking over a lantern, it is uncertain how the Peshtigo fire began.

Recommended for reading in full — Another conservative leaves the Republican party, junk science in the service of Kavanaugh, Kasparov explains protests, Fox News won’t die away, and video of a diver riding a baby whale  —

 Conservative Tom Nichols writes Why I’m Leaving the Republican Party (“The Kavanaugh confirmation fight revealed the GOP to be the party of situational ethics and moral relativism in the name of winning at all costs”):

The Republicans, however, have now eclipsed the Democrats as a threat to the rule of law and to the constitutional norms of American society. They have become all about winning. Winning means not losing, and so instead of acting like a co-equal branch of government responsible for advice and consent, congressional Republicans now act like a parliamentary party facing the constant threat of a vote of no-confidence.

That it is necessary to place limitations, including self-limitations, on the exercise of power is—or was—a core belief among conservatives. No longer. Raw power, wielded so deftly by Senator Mitch McConnell, is exercised for its own sake, and by that I mean for the sake of fleecing gullible voters on hot-button social issues so that Republicans may stay in power. Of course, the institutional GOP will say that it countenances all of Trump’s many sins, and its own straying from principle, for good reason (including, of course, the holy grail of ending legal abortion).

Politics is about the exercise of power. But the new Trumpist GOP is not exercising power in the pursuit of anything resembling principle, and certainly not for conservative or Republican principles.

Free trade? Republicans are suddenly in love with tariffs, and now sound like bad imitations of early 1980s protectionist Democrats. A robust foreign policy? Not only have Republicans abandoned their claim to being the national-security party, they have managed to convince the party faithful that Russia—an avowed enemy that directly attacked our political institutions—is less of a threat than their neighbors who might be voting for Democrats.

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Daily Bread for 10.7.18

Good morning.

 Sunday in Whitewater will see afternoon showers with a high of fifty-six.  Sunrise is 6:59 AM and sunset 6:24 PM, for 11h 25m 00s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 3.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the six hundred ninety-eighth day.

At 12:30 PM today, Whitewater will hold its 28th annual Crop Hunger Walk. The walk begins at Fairhaven Senior Services, 435 W Starin Road and ends at Whitewater’s Old Armory, 146 W. North Street.  Registration Time is 12:30 PM at Fairhaven, and the walk will begin at 1 PM, with walking distances of one or three miles.

On this day in 1774, Wisconsin becomes part of Quebec:

On this date Britain passed the Quebec Act, making Wisconsin part of the province of Quebec. Enacted by George III, the act restored the French form of civil law to the region. The Thirteen Colonies considered the Quebec Act as one of the “Intolerable Acts,” as it nullified Western claims of the coast colonies by extending the boundaries of the province of Quebec to the Ohio River on the south and to the Mississippi River on the west.

Recommended for reading in full — It’s a myth that economic anxiety drove the bulk of the Trump vote, Lindsey Graham as a sad story, Susan Collins as a sham maverick,  Facebook gives away users’ contact information, and a video visit to a place of 2,000 temples —

John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck debunk Five myths about the 2016 election:
MYTH NO. 4
Trump’s victory was due to economic anxiety.

One particular rationale for Trump’s victory came to the fore immediately after the election: He “tapped into the anger of a declining middle class,” as Bernie Sanders put it, with a message that appealed to “people [who] are tired of working longer hours for lower wages.” The journalist David Cay Johnston concurred: “Trump won because many millions of Americans, having endured decades of working more while getting deeper in debt, said ‘enough.’?”

But the evidence is clear: Both in the Republican primaries and in the general election, white voters’ attitudes about African Americans, Muslims and immigration were more closely associated with how they voted than were any strictly economic concerns. In fact, racial attitudes were the prism through which voters thought about economic outcomes — something we call “racialized economics.” For example, after Obama became president, attitudes toward blacks suddenly became linked with people’s views on the economy: the less favorable their view of blacks, the less favorable their view of the economy. Scholars who did extensive interviews with whites in Youngstown, Ohio, and rural Louisiana reported many racially loaded statements about economic circumstances. One Youngstown factory worker said people who received government assistance had “gold chains and a Cadillac, when I can barely afford a Cavalier.”

During the 2016 campaign, the most potent political sentiment held that “people like me” were not getting ahead because of “people like them.” In the primary race, for example, support for Trump among white Americans was weakly associated with whether people were worried about losing their jobs but strongly associated with whether people believed that employers were giving jobs to minorities instead of whites.

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Daily Bread for 10.6.18

Good morning.

 Saturday in Whitewater will see morning showers with a high of fifty-nine.  Sunrise is 6:58 AM and sunset 6:26 PM, for 11h 27m 52s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 17.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the six hundred ninety-seventh day.

 

On this day in 1917, Robert La Follette supports free speech in wartime:

On this date Senator Robert La Follette gave what may have been the most famous speech of his Senate career when he responded to charges of treason with a three hour defense of free speech in wartime. La Follette had voted against a declaration of war as well as several iniatives seen as essential to the war effort by those that supported U.S. involvement in the first World War. His resistance was met with a petition to the Committee on Privileges and Elections that called for La Follette’s expulsion from the Senate. The charges were investigated, but La Follette was cleared of any wrong doing by the committee on January 16, 1919.

Recommended for reading in full — The present-day limits of women’s political influence, Trump smears assault survivors, Grassley implies women are lazy, attacks on Pope Francis, and video on a different kind of fission reactor 

Peter Beinart writes America Is Finally Listening to Women. It’s Sparking a National Crisis. (“Women are now powerful enough to disrupt the male-dominated consensus that in previous eras silenced them. But they are not yet powerful enough to get justice”):

Thursday’s hearings [Ford, Kavanaugh] do not reflect a Senate in decline. They reflect a Senate in crisis. That’s entirely different. The Kavanaugh hearings have thrown the Senate into crisis because women are now powerful enough to disrupt the amicable, male-dominated consensus that in previous eras silenced them altogether. But they are not yet powerful enough to get justice. That’s not just true in the Senate. That’s true in the nation as a whole.

The increase in partisan polarization, likewise, does not reflect a nation in decline. It reflects a nation in crisis because one political party is no longer totally dominated by white men—leading the other political party to more nakedly defend the privileges of white men. When women and people of color were less represented in either party, and white male privileges were thus less threatened, both found it easier to be civil. This isn’t a new story. American politics grew more tranquil after Reconstruction, once both parties agreed that Southern blacks should not be permitted to vote.

Reasonable people can question the way Senate Democrats handled Ford’s allegations when she first came forward. But the notion—which is attractive to people in the respectable center—that there was some calm, polite, collegial way to arbitrate her charges is a myth. They could have been buried calmly and politely. But they could not have been arbitrated calmly and politely, because Ford’s charges are dangerous.

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