Daily Bread for 7.14.24: Wet, and Now Drought-Free

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with evening thundershowers and a high of 90. Sunrise is 5:30 and sunset 8:31 for 15h 00m 56s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 56.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1789, revolutionary insurgents storm the Bastille:

After four hours of fighting and 94 deaths the insurgents were able to enter the Bastille. The governor de Launay and several members of the garrison were killed after surrender. The Bastille then represented royal authority in the centre of Paris. The prison contained only seven inmates at the time of its storming and was already scheduled for demolition, but was seen by the revolutionaries as a symbol of the monarchy’s abuse of power. 

On this day in 1960, Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her study of chimpanzees in the wild.

Danielle Kaeding reports June Was One of Wettest Months in Wisconsin History (‘Wisconsin is drought-free after the entire state struggled with drought conditions in 2023’):

Last month was one of the wettest on record for June in a dramatic reversal from the drought conditions that covered Wisconsin at the same time last year.

The month marked the sixth-wettest June in state history based on records dating back to 1895. That’s according to Steve Vavrus, director of the Wisconsin State Climatology Office.“Last June was the fifth-driest statewide, so this marks the biggest one-year precipitation flip-flop from one June to the next,” Vavrus said.

In June, the state averaged 6.97 inches in rainfall, which was 2.27 inches above normal for the month.

“Most parts of the state had more wet days than dry days in June, which is especially unusual in the summer,” Vavrus said.

The La Crosse area set a monthly record with 24 days of rain last month compared to the previous record of 22 days seen in 1935 and 2013. Frequent rain prompted flooding along the Mississippi River and brought water levels to its second-highest for the month at 11.01 feet.

While all regions saw more rain than normal, climate data shows northwestern and southcentral Wisconsin experienced the most rain.In southcentral Wisconsin, Madison saw a total of 8.82 inches for the month of June. Meteorologist Nate Falkinham with the Milwaukee/Sullivan office for the National Weather Service said rainfall was more than 3.5 inches above the norm.

Watch Hurricane Beryl’s ‘full journey’ in 12-day infrared time-lapse:

See Hurricane Beryl’s journey in this infrared time-lapse captured from June 28 to July 9, 2024 by NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite.

Daily Bread for 7.13.24: Sydney’s Feathered Celebrities

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:29 and sunset 8:31 for 15h 02m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 46.1 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1787, the Congress of the Confederation enacts the Northwest Ordinance establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory. It also establishes procedures for the admission of new states and limits the expansion of slavery.

Sydney’s Feathered Celebrities:

Sydney, Australia, has some new social media stars. Sulphur-crested cockatoos are going viral in parks, public transport, and urban apartments, often leaving a trail of chaos behind them.

But the candidates for Australia’s “naughtiest bird” haven’t always lived in the city. So, what brought them here? And how are Sydney’s residents using smartphones to track them? We learn all about the Wingtag and Big City Birds projects.

Fireball seen across Wisconsin skies on Thursday night:

Reports from the International Meteor Organization show a fireball streaked across the night sky on Thursday, July 11.

Daily Bread for 7.12.24: Committee Ponders the Universities of Wisconsin

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 85. Sunrise is 5:28 and sunset 8:32 for 15h 03m 51s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 37.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1543, King Henry VIII of England marries his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, at Hampton Court Palace.

Baylor Spears reports Study committee meets for first time to consider future of the University of Wisconsin System:

A study committee made up of lawmakers and members of the public will spend the next few months discussing the future of the University of Wisconsin system and solutions for ongoing concerns, which appeared to be wide ranging during the panel’s first meeting on Thursday. 

The group will provide legislative recommendations when it wraps up its work late this year.  It comes after a legislative session that was marked by a showdown over diversity, equity and inclusion, controversy over free speech on campuses as well as the financial future of the UW system.

Committee chair Rep. Amanda Nedweski (R-Pleasant Prairie) noted during the meeting that the UW system faces challenges that include declining enrollment on many campuses  along with  fiscal constraints at individual institutions and at the system level. She said the committee would be a place to openly, honestly and respectfully discuss the issues in a public setting, even though conversations may be “intense” and “uncomfortable” at times. 

“We all are here because we share the goal of taking action that will support the function of the UW system as an effective economic driver in our state going forward,” Nedeweski said. 

The committee is made up of four state lawmakers — including Nedweski, Sen. Cory Tomczyck (R-Mosinee), Rep. Alex Joers (D-Middleton) and Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) — as well as 14 members of the public, who have an array of stakes in and ties to the UW system. It is planning to meet four other times between now and November. 

A few remarks:

  1. There is no certainty about what the study committee might propose, let alone what action might be taken on any proposals it makes.
  2. Over the years, I’ve been critical — with justification — of several administrators at UW-Whitewater. (There’s no reason to be critical of the current chancellor; he’s managing well during difficult times.)
  3. The success of our local campus is vital to the socio-economic health of Whitewater. That success does not depend on, and will not come from, a narrow focus on a particular economic advantage that the university offers to a few business people, such as student rentals.
  4. Whitewater needs to abandon the notion, so to speak, that someone who supplies hospital beds is qualified to practice medicine.
  5. After the last three years, it should be evident to residents that offering apartments for rent does not provide any unique insight into K-12 education, university education, municipal finance, Wisconsin’s Public Records Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31–19.39), Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.81–19.98), or coherent (let alone persuasive) speaking during public meetings.

Italian artist creates Eiffel Tower in farm field ahead of Paris Olympics:

Film: Wednesday, July 17th, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Napoleon

Wednesday, July 17th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of Napoleon @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:


Rated R (violence, language)

2 hours, 38 minutes (2023)

The life and times of soldier, strategist, general, emperor: Napoleon Bonaparte 1 (1769 – 1821). An incredible costume drama/historical epic, detailing the rise, fall, return, exiles, and demise of Napoleon. Joaquin Phoenix is Napoleon; Vanessa Kirby is Josephine. Directed by Ridley Scott. A sweeping and majestic film!

One can find more information about Napoleon at the Internet Movie Database.

Daily Bread for 7.11.24: U.S. Inflation Cools Again

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:27 and sunset 8:33 for 15h 05m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 28.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1796, the United States takes possession of Detroit from Great Britain under terms of the Jay Treaty.

On this day in 1839, the first patent is issued to a Wisconsin resident:

Ebenezar G. Whiting of Racine was issued patent #1232 for his improved plow, the first patent issued to someone from Wisconsin. Whiting’s improvements consisted of making the mold-board straight and flat which, when united in the center with the curvilinear part of the mold-board, would require less power to drag through the dirt. Whiting went on to serve as Vice President of the J.I. Case Plow Company and received another patent for a steel plow in 1876.

Christopher Rugaber reports US inflation cools again, potentially paving way for Fed to cut interest rates soon:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation in the United States cooled in June for a third straight month, a sign that the worst price spike in four decades is steadily fading and may soon usher in interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

In a better-than-expected report, consumer prices declined 0.1% from May to June after having remained flat the previous month, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the first monthly decline in overall inflation since May 2020, when the economy was paralyzed by the pandemic. 

And measured from one year earlier, prices were up 3% in June, cooler than the 3.3% annual rate in May.

The latest inflation readings will likely help convince the Fed’s policymakers that inflation is returning to its 2% target. A brief pickup in inflation early this year had caused the officials to scale back their expectations for interest rate cuts. The policymakers said they would need to see several months of mild price increases to feel confident enough enough to cut their key rate from its 23-year high. 

Whitewater has a chance to make gains in her community during these improving economic conditions. Yesteryear offers no answers for the city, save what not to do this time.

Closest massive black hole to Earth may be in Omega Centauri, Hubble finds:

Hubble Space Telescope observations of the Omega Centauri star cluster, about 18,000 light-years from Earth, has revealed evidence of an intermediate-size black hole.

Daily Bread for 7.10.24: Secure Wisconsin Elections Despite the Shouting

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:27 and sunset 8:33 for 15h 06m 34s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 20.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Lakes Advisory Committee meets at 4:30 PM.

On this day in 1832, Fort Koshkonong’s construction begins:

General Henry Atkinson and his troops built Fort Koshkonong after being forced backwards from the bog area of the “trembling lands” in their pursuit of Black Hawk. The Fort, later known as Fort Atkinson, was described by Atkinson as “a stockade work flanked by four block houses for the security of our supplies and the accommodation of the sick.” It was also on this date that Atkinson discharged a large number of Volunteers from his army in order to decrease stress on a dwindling food supply and to make his force less cumbersome. One of the dismissed volunteers was future president, Abraham Lincoln, whose horse was stolen in Cold Spring, Wisconsin, and was forced to return to New Salem, Illinois by foot and canoe.

After years of scheming, Speaker Robin Vos finds himself battling the conspiracy theorists (like Michael Gableman) that he once hired and encouraged. Yet, they are conspiracy theorists at the core, men and women with false, indeed crackpot, notions.

In fact, as Henry Redman reports, Election experts defend system, downplay threats at Milwaukee event:

At the event, hosted jointly by the Milwaukee Press Club, Rotary Club of Milwaukee and Wisconsin Alliance for Civic Trust, Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, Milwaukee Elections Commission Director Paulina Gutierrez and former Republican state Sen. Kathy Bernier discussed how election conspiracy theories have affected the state over the last three years, the impact of last week’s state Supreme Court decision to again allow the use of absentee ballot drop boxes and how election officials across the state are preparing for this year’s elections. 


At the event on Tuesday, all three speakers downplayed the threat of incidents like that, saying most observers simply sit and watch the process. 

Bernier noted that having skeptics get trained to work the polls or come to the polls to observe often helps to assuage their fears when they find the system is carefully designed with multiple checks and the process is generally quite boring. 

Wolfe added that having people observe the voting process is a “healthy part of Election Day.” 

Many of the conspiracy theories about the 2020 election in Wisconsin have stemmed from the process of counting absentee ballots, especially in Milwaukee. Most communities in the state count absentee ballots at the polling location where each absent voter would have gone to vote in person. In Milwaukee and a handful of other communities, all the ballots are sent to one “Central Count” location where they’re all tallied together. 

Under state law, ballots cannot begin to be processed until polls open at 8 a.m. on Election Day. 

Conspiracy theories have abounded about the absentee process and Milwaukee’s central count, alleging that Democratic operatives worked to “ballot harvest” and force people to cast absentee votes for Biden or that large “vote dumps” from Milwaukee changed the results for Biden in the middle of the night. 

Bernier said that she doesn’t think ballot harvesting really happens, questioning how it would even occur while Wolfe said these allegations are often dispelled with simple explanations to people with questions. 

Prague Zoo hopes tons of ice will help animals beat the summer heat:

Daily Bread for 7.9.24: Vos’s Forever War

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 80. Sunrise is 5:26 and sunset 8:34 for 15h 09m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 13 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 5 PM.

On this day in 1943, the Allied invasion of Sicily begins, leading to the downfall of Mussolini and forcing Hitler to break off the Battle of Kursk.

For Speaker Robin Vos, it’s a forever war with the conservative populists: Organizers of recall targeting a top Wisconsin Republican appeal to court. Scott Bauer reports:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Organizers of the effort to recall a top Wisconsin Republican have appealed the bipartisan state elections commission’s rejectionof their petitions in court.

Recall organizers filed their appeal in Dane County Circuit Court on Friday, a week after their effort to recall Assembly Speaker Robin Vos effort failed due to officials determining that not enough valid signatures were collected.

It will now be up to the court to decide whether organizers submitted enough valid signatures on time to force a recall election. If successful, Vos would only be removed from office for the remainder of the calendar year. He is running for another two-year term that would begin in January if he wins the November election.

The elections commission determined that signatures collected beyond the 60-day circulation window should not count. The filing deadline was extended by two days due to the Memorial Day holiday, but the commission said that deadline for collecting signatures was not also extended.

Such is Vos’s fate, forever. There’s no Wisconsin public position he could hold that would not meet with controversy from left, center, and right. This is where Vos’s twenty-year career in the Wisconsin Assembly has brought him.

See also Update: WEC Says Not Enough Signatures in the Correct Time for a Recall Against Vos.

KOENIGSEGG Jesko Absolut | 0-400-0 km/h:

Daily Bread for 7.8.24: National Labor Market Adds 206,000 Jobs with Slight Rise in Unemployment

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 81. Sunrise is 5:25 and sunset 8:34 for 15h 09m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 7.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Planning Board meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1776, church bells (possibly including the Liberty Bell) are rung after John Nixon delivers the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.

On this day in 1850, James Jesse Strang Is Crowned King:

On this date, James Jesse Strang, leader of the estranged Mormon faction the Strangites, was crowned king; the only man to achieve such a title in America. When founder Joseph Smith was assassinated, Strang forged a letter from Smith dictating he was to be the heir. The Mormon movement split into followers of Strang and followers of Brigham Young. As he gained more followers (but never nearly as many as Brigham Young), Strang became comparable to a Saint, and in 1850 was crowned King James in a ceremony in which he wore a discarded red robe of a Shakespearean actor, and a metal crown studded with a cluster of stars as his followers sang him hosannas.

Soon after his crowning, he announced that Mormonism embraced and supported polygamy. (Young’s faction was known to have practiced polygamy, but had not at this time announced it publicly.) A number of followers lived in Walworth County, including Strang at a home in Burlington. In 1856 Strang was himself assassinated, leaving five wives. Without Strang’s leadership, his movement disintegrated. 

Josh Schafer reports US labor market adds 206,000 jobs, unemployment rate rises to 4.1%:

The US labor market added more jobs than expected in June while the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose, reaching its highest level since November 2021, another sign that the job market continues to cool.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday showed the US economy added 206,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in June, more than the 190,000 expected by economists.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.1%, up from 4% in the month prior and the highest reading in almost three years. June’s job additions were a slight decline from May, which saw job gains revised down on Friday to 218,000 from the 272,000 initially reported last month

The skill to take advange of job gains (and benefit the city still more if there should be interest rate cuts) will not be found among Whitewater’s self-promoting “action-oriented” types of fifteen or twenty years ago. The sooner the city turns away from their monkey shines the better.

Indeed, the work of that aged and addled cohort has been worse for the city, in concept and execution, than Monkey Shines the 1988 b-movie horror film:

It’s hard to estimate precisely, but a rough guess is that Whitewater would have been 179.6% better off with a killer monkey than that failed group from yesterday.

What is the rarest animal in the world? The 5 most-endangered species:

Daily Bread for 7.7.24: Japan Brings the World Square Watermelons

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 80. Sunrise is 5:24 and sunset 8:35 for 15h 10m 13s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1798, as a result of the XYZ Affair, the US Congress rescinds the Treaty of Alliance with France sparking the “Quasi-War.”

On this day in 1832, during the Black Hawk War, General Atkinson led his entire militia, which included future presidents Zachary Taylor and Abraham Lincoln, to a camp just south of Palmyra.

Square watermelons are being shipped off in Japan:

Square #watermelon shipments have begun this year in #Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture, where a farmer has been growing them for 50 years.


Manawa, Wisconsin Town Evacuated As Dam Fails During Storm:

See also Residents in Wisconsin community return home after dam breach leads to evacuations.

Daily Bread for 7.6.24: The town with the LONGEST name in Europe

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 78. Sunrise is 5:24 and sunset 8:35 for 15h 11m 19s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 0.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully tests his vaccine against rabies on Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog.

Whitewater’s Independence Holiday celebration continues today at the Cravath Lakefront:

Christman Family Amusements Wrist Band Special: 12 to 4 PM, $25 each
Civic Food Vendors: 11 AM to 11 PM
4th of July Car Show 2 PM to 6 PM, 301 W Whitewater Street
Live Music at Frawley Ampitheater:
Jerry Armstrong & Blast to the Past 3 PM to 5 PM
Cead Mile Failte (Irish Music) 5 to 7 PM
Phil (a tribute to Phil Collins, Genesis, and Peter Gabriel) 8 PM to after Fireworks
Fireworks 10 PM 

The town with the LONGEST name in Europe:

We stopped by Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch. We’re not joking, this is actually the name of a town in Wales. Despite its 58 letters, people in the town can pronounce this place name easily. But, did you know that this wasn’t always the town’s name? In the 1860s, the name was developed as a way to entice tourists to make the town a stop on their travels.

Shark bites two swimmers near Texas beach:

A single shark is believed to be responsible for biting two people and making contact with two others during Fourth of July celebrations at South Padre Island in Texas. Two people were taken to the hospital with bites, at least one of them severe, authorities said. The last reported shark attack in the area was five years ago, according to authorities.

Daily Bread for 7.5.24: Wisconsin Supreme Court Restores Absentee Ballot Boxes

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a chance of scattered afternoon showers and a high of 76. Sunrise is 5:23 and sunset 8:35 for 15h 12m 21s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1687, Isaac Newton publishes Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

On this day in 1832, General Atkinson and his troops entered the area known by the Native Americans as “trembling land” in their pursuit of Black Hawk:

The area was some 10 square miles and contained a large bog. Although the land appeared safe, it would undulate or tremble for yards when pressure was applied. Many of the militiamen were on horses, which plunged to their bellies in the swamp. The “trembling lands” forced Atkinson to retrace his steps back toward the Rock River, in the process losing days in his pursuit of Black Hawk.”On this day in 1832, General Atkinson and his troops entered the area known by the Native Americans as “trembling lands” in their pursuit of Black Hawk. The area was some 10 square miles and contained a large bog. Although the land appeared safe, it would undulate or tremble for yards when pressure was applied. Many of the militiamen were on horses, which plunged to their bellies in the swamp. The “trembling lands” forced Atkinson to retrace his steps back toward the Rock River, in the process losing days in his pursuit of Black Hawk.

Whitewater’s Independence Holiday celebration continues today at the Cravath Lakefront:

Christman Family Amusements Wrist Band Session: 5 PM to 9 PM
Civic Organization Food Vendors: 4 PM to 11 PM
Live Music at Frawley Ampitheater: 
Cactus Brothers 5 to 7 PM sponsored by TDS
Titan Fun Key (Whitewater band playing ‘70s rock, funk, and blues) 8 PM to 10:30 PM
Family Day Powered by Generac: Free petting zoo, pony rides, camel rides 4 to 8 PM 

This morning, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued rulings restoring absentee ballot boxes (Priorities USA v. Wisconsin Elections Commission), holding unconstitutional specific statutes that placed the power of the executive branch to carry out the law in a committee of the legislature (Tony Evers v. Howard Marklein), and reversing a lower-court decision that allowed recommitment and involuntary medication without actual hearing notice to the subject individual (Waukesha County v. M.A.C.).

All three decisions appear below.

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Italy’s Mount Etna erupting at night:

Italy’s Mount Etna has erupted again, sending out spouts of lava into the night sky. Europe’s most active volcano has become a destination for tourists and volcano enthusiasts looking to catch a glimpse of its frequent activity.
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