FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 9.23.22: Preliminary Fall 2022 UW System Enrollment Figures

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with high of 63. Sunrise is 6:44 AM and sunset 6:49 PM for 12h 05m 10s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 5.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1779, during the American Revolution, John Paul Jones, naval commander of the United States, on board the USS Bonhomme Richard, wins the Battle of Flamborough Head.


There are 2022 preliminary — first day autumn enrollment — figures out for the UW System. Kelly Meyerhofer reports Enrollment dips at most UW campuses, but UW System president thinks campuses ‘have turned a corner’ on COVID-19

The ongoing enrollment decline at Wisconsin’s public universities continues this school year, with preliminary numbers released Thursday showing more than half of the University of Wisconsin System campuses down by 3% or more.

Large enrollment drops drain millions in tuition revenue from campus budgets, challenging the schools to make up for demographic shifts and a slide in the state’s college-going rate in other ways.

….

Here are the enrollment increases or decreases by campus as collected by the UW System based on the first day of classes. Because the data is preliminary, the percentages could change. Branch campuses are included in overall percentages.

  • UW-Madison: +5%
  • UW-Superior: +4%
  • UW-Green Bay: +3%
  • UW-La Crosse: 0%
  • UW-Milwaukee: -3%
  • UW-Parkside: -3%
  • UW-Stevens Point: -3%
  • UW-Whitewater: -4%
  • UW-Platteville: -5%
  • UW-River Falls: -5%
  • UW-Eau Claire: -5%
  • UW-Oshkosh: -6%
  • UW-Stout: -6%

Two obvious points: these are first day numbers (not the tenth day where the adding and dropping of registrations would be considered) and these numbers show both main campuses and their satellite schools as one percentage of increase or decrease. 


 3D printing with drones

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Film: Tuesday, September 27th, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Elvis

Tuesday, September 27th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of Elvis @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

Biography/Drama/Music

Rated PG-13; 2 hours, 39 minutes (2022)

The life of music icon Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), his relationship with manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), and Elvis’ love affair with eventual wife, Priscilla.

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

 

Daily Bread for 9.22.22: The Next Morning

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with high of 61. Sunrise is 6:43 AM and sunset 6:51 PM for 12h 08m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 11% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 904, the warlord Zhu Quanzhong kills Emperor Zhaozong, the penultimate emperor of the Tang dynasty, after seizing control of the imperial government.


Organizations and institutions, sooner or later, need to choose new leaders to replace former ones. A frivolous choice is one that considers only the needs or desires of the moment.

Much of bad policy in a community is like this: ephemeral press releases, marketing campaigns, feature stories, etc. It’s all maneuver in a world where attrition truly decides. Old Whitewaternever understood this, the remaining transactional conservative types don’t understand it, and neither do the emergent conservative populists. 

It’s not what one says; it’s what one says in alignment with principle, reason, and history. 

And so, and so, when candidates come along for open positions, one has to decide among alternatives. It’s best to describe that choice in plain terms.

It’s not the desire of the evening, but the conversation of the next morning, that defines an assignation. If only the evening, then one thinks too little of her and of oneself. If the next morning, then one has the hope of an enduring relationship. 

One should live, and choose, for the next morning. 


 Preventing a 2035 food catastrophe:

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Daily Bread for 9.21.22: Wisconsin Among the Hardest Places in America to Vote

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with high of 74. Sunrise is 6:42 AM and sunset 6:53 PM for 12h 10m 56s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 18.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The City of Whitewater is holding an information session for a Fire & EMS referendum this evening at 6 PM on the edge of town at the Whitewater University Innovation Center, 1221 Innovation Drive. (Someone once said “neither do they light a lamp and place it under the dry-goods basket, but rather they place it upon a lampstand, and it illumines all who are in the house.” Advice worth following, even all these years later.)

  On this day in 1780, Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point.


One sometimes hears (although less often than a generation ago) that one should ‘reach across the aisle’ to members of the opposite party.

How quaint.

In our time, the placement of that aisle is the consequence of voting rights restrictions and gerrymandering. The aisle has been wrongly and corruptly placed. Some are asked to reach out from floor space unfairly restricted to others on floor space unfairly taken. 

Nick Corasaniti and The ‘Cost’ of Voting in America: A Look at Where It’s Easiest and Hardest:

The findings are part of the 2022 edition of the Cost of Voting Index, a nonpartisan academic study that seeks to cut through the politics of voting access. The study ranks all 50 states based on the overall investment a resident must make, in time and resources, to vote.

Researchers focused on 10 categories related to voting, including registration, inconvenience, early voting, polling hours and absentee voting.

The two categories given the most weight, according to Scot Schraufnagel, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University and an author of the study, were ease of registration to vote and the availability of early voting, both in person and by mail. The study’s emphasis on early-voting options meant that states like Washington and Oregon, where voting is conducted entirely by mail, ended up at the top of the rankings.

….

Vermont, for example, jumped “from the middle of the pack in 2020,” when it ranked 23rd for voting access, to “the third-easiest state by 2022,” according to the study. This was largely because it adopted a statewide vote-by-mail system.

Wisconsin went the opposite direction, falling to 47th from 38th, in part because the state now requires proof of residency on voter registration applications. The state also stopped using special voting deputies, officials whose tasks had sometimes included conducting voter registration drives, according to the study.

Cooperation across the aisle requires a deal between those who’ve been robbed and those who’ve robbed them. 

The study appears below.

See Scot Schraufnagel, Michael J. Pomante, and Quan Li. Cost of Voting in the American States: 2022. Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy. Sep 2022.220-228. http://doi.org/10.1089/elj.2022.0041

Download (PDF, 280KB)


 See James Webb Space Telescope’s view of Neptune in stunning 4K

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Daily Bread for 9.20.22: Gableman, Goblin King of the LARPers

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see scattered morning showers with high of 86. Sunrise is 6:41 AM and sunset 6:54 PM for 12h 13m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 26.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM

  On this day in 1854, during the Crimean War, British and French troops defeat the Russians at the Battle of Alma.


 Rich Kremer reports Former 2020 election investigator Michael Gableman hints at revolution in speech to Outagamie County Republicans:

Michael Gableman, who was fired from his 2020 election review office by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, appeared to tell Republicans in Outagamie County earlier this month that revolution is necessary to “keep an honest government.” 

At the Republican Party of Outagamie County’s Constitution Day Dinner Sept. 9, Gableman told attendees, “I am beginning to wonder if America’s best days are behind us.” 

He went on to say that America’s Founding Fathers created a “beautiful paradise” that has made life comfortable. 

“But it’s that very comfort that is keeping us from what our founders knew to be the only way to keep an honest government, which is revolution,” said Gableman. 

Gableman then paraphrased a 1787 letter sent written by Thomas Jefferson and said, “The tree of liberty must be watered by the blood of revolution every generation.”

Oh my. It should be obvious, but for the ignorant perhaps it isn’t: Jefferson was not describing attempts like Trump’s to overthrow the constitutionally-elected government of the United States. 

As for those who talk about wanting a revolution or a civil war, they fall into a several types.

 Momentarily-important Trumpists clinging to the spotlight. There are so many former Trump officials like this. They rose far above their limited abilities, formed a kakistocracy, and now thirst for more underserved attention and authority. 

 Facebookers and Twitter trolls who spew threats and warnings of doom while doing nothing else. These kinds may also attend meetings and rallies where they say the same in the company of the like-minded. These are the LARPers, the live action role players of Trumpism. They are the overwhelming majority among those ignorant or addled enough to follow someone like Gableman. 

Gableman, quite plainly, is not going to lead any revolution — he’s going to talk about revolution between visits to Krispy Kreme.

(In a different account of Gableman’s remarks, he’s quoted as telling his WISGOP audience that “the greatest challenge of our poor in this country is not lack of food, it’s obesity. It’s a beautiful world. But it’s that very comfort that is keeping us from what our founders knew to be the only way to keep an honest government, which is revolution.” Honest to goodness. Gableman thinks obesity is a problem holding others back? One can guess that he doesn’t have a mirror in his house.)

 Those who take action of some sort, including having fits and tantrums, while sometimes injuring others accidentally through their lack of self-control, or intentionally through their malevolence. These aren’t LARPers, but are instead an undisciplined lot that puts others at occasional risk. 

A last group comprises those who manipulate a horde, or are the horde, committed to an intentional assault against public officials or public buildings, to prevent public proceedings. January 6th was like this, and there may be other attempts to overthrow the constitutional order, perhaps more deadly and effective than the last. 

Gableman, himself, is unlikely to participate in any violent acts against the American Republic.

For Michael Gableman, Goblin King of the LARPers is the role of a lifetime.


 Snack Bandit Bear Steals From 7-Eleven:

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Daily Bread for 9.19.22: Insurance is No Assurance

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with high of 77. Sunrise is 6:39 AM and sunset 6:56 PM for 12h 16m 42s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 35.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM

  On this day in 1796, George Washington’s Farewell Address is printed across America as an open letter to the public.


 In a nation of hundreds of millions, with a thriving press, a common person can find, as if by synchronicity, a story that means something both nationally and locally. Consider Kimberly Kindy’s reporting that Insurers force change on police departments long resistant to it (‘The high cost of settlements over police misconduct has led insurers to demand police departments overhaul tactics or forgo coverage’):

ST. ANN, Mo. — A patrol officer spotted a white minivan with an expired license plate, flipped on his lights and siren,and when the driver failed to stop, gave chase. The driver fled in rush-hour traffic at speeds of up to 90 mph, as other officers joined in the pursuit. Ten miles later, the van slammed into a green Toyota Camry, leaving its 55-year-old driver, Brent Cox, permanently disabled.

That 2017 police chase was at the time the latest in a long line of questionable vehicle pursuits by officers of the St. Ann Police Department. Eleven people had been injured in 19 crashes during high-speed pursuits over the two prior years.Social justice activists and reporters were scrutinizing the department, and Cox and others were suing.

Undeterred, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez stood behind the high-octane pursuits and doubled down on the department’s decades-old motto: “St. Ann will chase you until the wheels fall off.”

Then, an otherwise silent stakeholder stepped in. The St. Louis Area Insurance Trust risk pool — which provided liability coverage to the city of St. Ann and the police department — threatened to cancel coverage if the department didn’t impose restrictions on its use of police chases. City officials shopped around for alternative coverage but soon learned that costs would nearly double if they did not agree to their insurer’s demands.

Jimenez’s attitude swiftly shifted: In 2019, 18 months after the chase that left Cox permanently disabled, the chief and his 48-member department agreed to ban high-speed pursuits for traffic infractions and minor, nonviolent crimes.

“I didn’t really have a choice,” Jimenez said in an interview. “If I didn’t do it, the insurance rates were going to go way up. I was going to have to lose 10 officers to pay for it.”

Where community activists, use-of-force victims and city officials have failed to persuade police departments to change dangerous and sometimes deadly policing practices, insurers are successfully dictating changes to tactics and policies, mostly at small to medium-size departments throughout the nation. 

Although Kindy is writing about policing (and Radley Balko wrote for the Post along similar lines in 2016), the influence of insurance companies extends to all parts of government that are under an insurance company’s contract.

There’s a good result when a private company restrains government (of any type, not simply police departments) from its own errors. If all other lawful means have failed, at least there is reform. Note well, the fount of this reform: a private free market of insurers deciding lawfully that government insurance premiums are to be set at a market price. Government is free to act, but private insurers have a right (and duty to their own shareholders) to price their insurance premiums to account for public employees’ risky conduct. Behavior comes at a market price, for police, fire, teachers, school administrators, or any other public employees.

And so, and so, should we feel better for insurance companies’ influence?

Only in part. Private insurers have a duty to their shareholders, and while they must properly price premiums for risky behavior, they need only concern themselves with informing the public when to do otherwise would violate the law. They can and must act to raise premiums for public employees’ expensive conduct, but they have no need to inform the public about policy changes.

On the contrary, from a private company’s perspective, too much open talk about policy changes may invite attention to other public mistakes and public misconduct that might mean bad publicity or lawsuits.

A private insurer has a right and duty to raise premiums for risky public behavior, but it has neither an obligation nor an incentive to publicize that risky behavior. It has an incentive to reform without public discussion or awareness of prior problems. (Outside legal counsel sometimes plays a similar role, although their ethical obligations are different, if sometimes ignored.) 

Insurers are not, so to speak, open-government advocates. That’s not their role and certainly not their duty. It’s the duty of public employees and public officials to preserve and advance open-government principles. 

In our community and others, one hears about municipal investigations, or cost savings to  our public-school tech ed program, with no public information about those investigations or the basis of those costs savings. 

A fix, without sharing information on the risks supposedly avoided, is an inadequate governmental response. Government’s obligation is to residents from whom its authority, limited and restrained under law, derives.

There’s so much talk — again and again — about how public employees are not merely working, but are instead serving, the public. A reminder: not telling, so to speak, is not serving the public. It’s self-service, and no more.  

This is, however, the situation in which many communities find themselves: reform comes, if at all, covertly through the insistence of private companies unwilling to discount the costs of public employees’ conduct. 

Insurance, however, is no assurance of open government. 


 Hurricane Fiona seen from space over Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic in time-lapse:

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Daily Bread for 9.18.22: ‘Brainfeel’

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with high of 79. Sunrise is 6:38 AM and sunset 6:58 PM for 12h 19m 34s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 44.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1942, the Spring Valley Flood afflicts Pierce County:

On the evening of September 17, 1942, after a day of heavy rain, water began rolling through the streets of Spring Valley, in Pierce Co. The village, strung out along the Eau Galle River in a deep valley, had been inundated before, but this was no ordinary flood. By 11:30p.m., water in the streets was 12 to 20 feet deep, flowing at 12 to 15 miles an hour, and laden with logs, lumber, and dislodged buildings.

Throughout the early morning hours of Sept. 18th, village residents became trapped in their homes or were carried downstream as buildings were swept off foundations and floated away. One couple spent the night chest-deep in water in their living room, holding their family dog above the water and fending off floating furniture. The raging torrent uprooted and twisted the tracks of the Northwestern Railroad like wire, and electricity and drinking water were unavailable for several days. Miraculously, there were no deaths or serious injuries.


“Why Do We Love TikTok Audio Memes? Call It Brainfeel”:

“Nobody’s gonna know. They’re gonna know.”

If you’ve been on TikTok in the past year, you’re most likely familiar with these two sentences, first drolly uttered in a post by TikTok creator Chris Gleason in 2020. The post has become a hit and has been viewed more than 14 million times.

But the sound is more famous than the video.

When uploading a video to TikTok, the creator has the option to make that video’s audio a “sound” that other users can easily use in their own videos — lip-syncing to it, adding more noise on top of it or treating it like a soundtrack. Gleason’s sound has been used in at least 336,000 other videos, to humorous, dramatic and sometimes eerie effect.

The journalist Charlotte Shane delves into the world of repurposed sounds, exploring how TikTok and other apps have enabled, as she writes in her recent article for The Times, “cross-user riffing and engagement, like quote-tweeting for audio.” She also considers “what makes a sound compelling beyond musical qualities or linguistic meaning.”

While “brainfeel” may be an apt buzzword for the sensation audio memes elicit, Ms. Shane writes, it is more than a mere trend: We have entered the “era of the audio meme.”


7-Foot Mako Shark Jumps Into Fishing Boat:

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Daily Bread for 9.17.22: The Secret History of Family Separation

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with high of 82. Sunrise is 6:37 AM and sunset 7:00 PM for 12h 22m 27s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 53.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia sign the final draft of the United States Constitution


The Secret History of Family Separation:

The story of the U.S. government’s family-separation policy is one of both cruelty and incompetence. Caitlin Dickerson spent a year and a half investigating how it came to be, and who was responsible. Join editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg in conversation with Dickerson about The Atlantic’s momentous September cover story detailing efforts to reveal and share the full story of the decision to separate immigrant children from their families at the border.


Videos Track Ukraine’s Stunning Kharkiv Offensive:

 

 
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Daily Bread for 9.16.22: At Foxconn, Workers Are Bored and Go Home Early

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with high of 79. Sunrise is 6:36 AM and sunset 7:02 PM for 12h 25m 20s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 61.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1959, the first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.


Oh, now, are you surprised? Corrinne Hess (a strong edition for the Journal Sentinel) reports What is Foxconn making at its taxpayer-supported Mount Pleasant facility? An employee says workers are bored, encouraged to go home early:

One person, who has spent the last 90 days working at Foxconn, said workers at one building in the massive complex are assembling motherboards — a crucial part of computer hardware — for Google and Amazon.

The worker’s comments — and a video he made — provide a rare insight into the puzzling and secretive operations at the massive Racine County facility touted by former President Donald Trump as the “eighth wonder of the world.”

….

The 38-year-old southeast Wisconsin resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he signed a non-disclosure agreement, said there is very little work for employees. 

“I talk to guys who have been here nine, 12 months and they say they’ve worked about three of those months,” the employee said. “It’s boring, and you get in trouble if you are just standing around doing nothing.” 

….

On Thursday, the employee said he had decided to resign.

“I shouldn’t of had to work in a hostile environment and forced to do a job I was having a hard time with and also not hired to do,” he said. 

Here at FREE WHITEWATER, there’s an entire category dedicated to Foxconn. The category is replete with accounts and analyses of the Foxconn project’s audacity, waste, and lies. The Foxconn project is simply a silly group’s idea of a serious undertaking. 


Fireball spotted crossing the night sky over Glasgow:

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Daily Bread for 9.15.22: Tim Michels, the Man Who Would Be King

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with high of 79. Sunrise is 6:35 AM and sunset 7:03 PM for 12h 28m 13s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 71.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM

  On this day in 1588, the “Invincible Armada,” sent by Catholic King Philip II of Spain to overthrow Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England, is defeated in the English Channel. 


Many years ago, for a brief period, Wisconsin had a would-be king. It’s a sad, absurd tale:

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. [Source: Wisconsin Saints and Sinners, by Fred L. Holmes, p. 106-121]

There is, however, an upcoming election that would bring Wisconsin close to a governor with king-like powers (and no need for a discarded red robe).

The two principal elections in Wisconsin his fall, gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests, look to be close, as recent polling confirms. A Republican victory in the gubernatorial race would leave the victor in a different position, however, from a Republican victory in the U.S. Senate race. 

If Ron Johnson wins, and the Republicans also take the majority, it would be McConnell, not Johnson, who would be in a position of power. Johnson would be one of 51 or more, but McConnell would be leader of the whole caucus.

By contrast, if Tim Michels wins, it is he who would have executive authority to advance the legislative agenda of the gerrymandered WISGOP Assembly. One can confidently assume that abortion would be illegal in almost all cases, the state university system would undergo a complete transformation, and there would be additional restrictions on ballot access and voting. 

Not long from now, a Connecticut homeowner may come as close to a king as Wisconsin has ever seen. 


 Recreating a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ with an Excel Spreadsheet Drum Machine Hack:

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Daily Bread for 9.14.22: Only One Gubernatorial Debate Serves the Candidates, Not the Public

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with high of 76. Sunrise is 6:34 AM and sunset 7:05 PM for 12h 31m 04s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 81.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1984, Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to fly a gas balloon alone across the Atlantic Ocean.


One reads that Gov. Evers and Tim Michels have agreed to one, and only one, debate. Shawn Johnson reports Evers, Michels to debate just once before election

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican challenger Tim Michels announced Monday that they’d agreed to debate Friday, Oct. 14. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, whose debates are typically carried by TV and radio stations throughout the state.

It’s rare for there to be just one debate in a general election campaign for governor, but both the Evers and Michels campaigns were onboard with the plan.

“We are pleased to announce that our two campaigns have reached an agreement regarding the upcoming Wisconsin Broadcasters Association debate,” read a joint statement issued by Evers campaign manager Cassi Fenili and Michels campaign manager Patrick McNulty. “There are plenty of differences between the two candidates, but we agree that voters deserve this opportunity to hear directly from each candidate. This will be the only debate between the candidates before the November election.”

The WBA debate will be held in Madison and include journalists from around the state.

For the candidates, this agreement makes sense. It’s likely to be a close race, in a contest where many partisan voters are decided, and where neither candidate is a notable for his oratory. The polling gains amount the tiny number of undecided from debates will be slight, and outweighed if there should be significant gaffe.

For either candidate’s electoral prospects, less debating and more advertising makes sense. 

For the public, however, this is a paltry offering. Several debates would offer far more than an occasional gaffe. Several debates would give Wisconsinites a chance to see how these candidates answer questions on public policy from the press and in reply to each other. 

Respect for the office begins with respect for one’s fellow residents (or in Michels’s case at least the pretense of a committed having fellow Wisconsin residents). 

Wisconsin deserves more.


Mountain glacier in Chile’s Patagonia collapses:

 
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