FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 4.6.24: Meet the Climbing Champion With One Hand

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 53. Sunrise is 6:25 and sunset 7:28 for 13h 02m 27s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 7.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1965,  Early Bird, the first commercial communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit, is launched. 


Meet the Climbing Champion With One Hand | Super Power:


Meet the Mars Samples: Comet Geyser (Sample 24):

Daily Bread for 4.5.24: Before & After the Spring General Election

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 46. Sunrise is 6:27 and sunset 7:26 for 12h 59m 36s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 14.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1792, President Washington exercises his authority to veto a bill, the first time this power is used in the United States.


Before the Spring General Election: Economics to Socio-Economics to Chronic Hardship.

After the Spring General Election: Economics to Socio-Economics to Chronic Hardship.

Before the Spring General Election: What Ails, What Heals.

After the Spring General Election: What Ails, What Heals.

There are fundamental conditions and principles, and then there’s everything else. 


The U.S. economy — national totals — added 303,000 jobs in March. No time to waste this time:

Last time in Whitewater before the pandemic: Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom

No reason to rely on the men who have fumbled again and again, for a generation, in this town.  

Friday Catblogging: ‘A Late-Night Sighting, and a Single Hair’

By Andries Hoogerwerf (29 August 1906 – 5 February 1977) – http://www.petermaas.nl/extinct/speciesinfo/images/javant3.gif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1889781

Jon Emont reports A Late-Night Sighting, and a Single Hair, Rekindle Hopes That an Extinct Tiger Lives On (‘Against all odds, DNA analysis suggests that a giant predator may have survived in Java, one of the most densely populated places on earth’):

Five years ago, Kalih Raksasewu was getting his car tuned when his mechanic shared a curious tidbit: He had stumbled upon a tiger near his home. The startled creature jumped a fence and vanished, the man said.

Strange encounter, thought Raksasewu. Not least because the men live on Indonesia’s most populous island, Java, and especially because Javan tigers have long been believed extinct. The last confirmed sighting dates back nearly half a century, to 1976.

Raksasewu took out his phone and showed the mechanic images of leopards, which can sometimes be confused for tigers. No sir, came the reply. The cat had stripes.

Raksasewu found himself getting excited. A researcher involved in local conservation work, he had grown up hearing tales of the giant felines, including from his mother, who once saw one while driving. “In my heart I’ve always been greatly interested in this creature, and I was very sad when it was declared extinct,” he said.

….

Then they saw it: a single strand of hair that lay on the low wooden fence the animal had allegedly jumped. “I had this hope that the tiger had a hair snagged when he leapt,” said Raksasewu. “It turned out to be true.”

….

Two weeks ago, DNA analysis suggested a match: Javan tiger. In an article in Oryx, a peer-reviewed journal published by Cambridge University Press, researchers said they compared DNA from the lone hair with that of its nearest living relative, Sumatran tigers—close but no cigar.

Same for the DNA of a Javan leopard. The best match: the DNA of a Javan tiger from the 1930s preserved at an Indonesian museum.

Perhaps, just perhaps.

Here’s hoping.

Film: Tuesday, April 9th, 1:00 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Tuesday, April 9th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

Adventure/Action

Rated PG-13

2 hours, 34 minutes (2023)

In this fifth installment, Indy (Harrison Ford) now a college professor approaching retirement, is forced to re-enter the fray in the battle between good and evil: a dial that can change time and reverse the outcome of World War 2! Also starring Antonio Banderas, Karen Allen, and John Rhys-Davies.

One can find more information about Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny at the Internet Movie Database.

Daily Bread for 4.4.24: Economics to Socio-Economics to Chronic Hardship

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered morning snow showers with a high of 41. Sunrise is 6:29 and sunset 7:25 for 12h 56m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 23.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM

On this day in 1949, twelve nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


Consider the claim, in a comment at FREE WHITEWATER from two days ago, that some in the retail and service sector in the city (and other area communities) would find lack of confidence akin to low confidence “not in the height of the 2008 recession but certainly in its lingering aftermath.” 

What to make of the claim?

It’s accurate, that’s what.

The Great Recession (2007-2009), more even than the pandemic, was and remains the most important economic event of our time. (The pandemic had immediate and tragic consequences for many lives, but it was the failure to address the Great Recession’s effects that set Whitewater and other places on their economic and socio-economic course.)

Whitewater, in particular, could not have had worse leaders than the ones from that time in grasping and responding to the Great Recession. A few are still around, as feckless and ineffectual as they were then.  

How to think of that time: like a man with a disease untreated, or a broken bone left unset: other maladies or deformities have sprung from the failure to treat effectively the original condition. 

Some of us have, of course, done well even in hard times for others, as an earlier generation did even during the Great Depression. 

Can we who have done well not see that, in our very community, there are longtime residents who through necessity now barter for diapers, baby food, and small appliances? 

That’s hardship for them and policy failure for us. (For advocates of free markets, like this libertarian blogger, these questions arise: did markets reach everyone, if they did not why not, and if they did why were they ineffective in specific cases?)  

Greatly simplified (as these are not wholly separate forces): Economic loss leads to socio-economic dysfunction and socio-economic dysfunction leads to community fragmentation, strife, and chronic hardship.


Daily Bread for 4.3.24: The Easily Predictable, Unsurprising Local Election Results for Whitewater

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be snowy with a high of 37. Sunrise is 6:30 and sunset 7:24 for 12h 53m 52s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 35 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Lakes Advisory Committee meets at 4 PM and the Landmarks Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1865, Confederate soldiers abandoning Richmond accidentally kill several people and burn down much of the city:

After a long siege, Grant captured Petersburg and Richmond in early April 1865. As the fall of Petersburg became imminent, on Evacuation Sunday (April 2), President Davis, his Cabinet, and the Confederate defenders abandoned Richmond and fled south on the last open railroad line, the Richmond and Danville.

The retreating soldiers were under orders to set fire to bridges, and supply warehouses as they left. This included exploding the Powder Magazine in the early AM of April 3, at the Shockoe Hill Burying Ground, where the Alms-house was also located. The explosion killed several of the paupers who were being housed in a temporary Alms-house, and a sleeping person on 2nd St. The concussion shattered windows all over the city.[8] The fire in the largely abandoned city spread out of control, and large parts of Richmond were destroyed, reaching to the very edge of Capitol Square mostly unchecked. The conflagration was not completely extinguished until the mayor and other civilians went to the Union lines east of Richmond on New Market Road (now State Route 5) and surrendered the city the next day.


Yesterday’s Spring General Election in Whitewater, for local races in the city and school district, ended predictably. 

In races for the Whitewater Common Council, Greg Majkrzak won an at-large seat over Keith Staebler (786 to 532 votes), Brian Schanen was elected unopposed in the city’s 4th District (359 votes), and Orin Smith was elected unopposed in the city’s 2nd District (63 votes). These are all unofficial (yet decisive) totals.  

In the race for two seats on the Whitewater Unified School District Board to elect two boardmembers, the results were similarly clear (and predictable): Maryann Zimmerman received 1636 votes, Jeff Tortomasi 1562, and Larry Kachel (on the ballot but not seeking re-election) received 919.

While I think Zimmerman would have had a good chance of re-election in any event, various claims and actions against her (a self-injurious cease-and-desist demand from the district superintendent or others’ accusations against her that were irrelevant to her voting record) didn’t prevent Zimmerman from becoming the top vote-getter in all three counties of the district.

Honest to goodness: it’s closer to the truth to say that a few current & former officeholders proved — not for the first time — that it is they who don’t know what they’re doing. 

Update, Wednesday morning: Boardmember Zimmerman’s concerns could (and should) have been addressed promptly and openly between December 2023 and January 2024. The failure to do so, and the serial mistakes this board president, superintendent, and sundry others made could have been avoided.  Secretive, yes. Inept, most definitely. 


Moment huge earthquake strikes captured on cameras across Taiwan:

Daily Bread for 4.2.24: Wisconsin’s Economy and Perceptions of It

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 40. Sunrise is 6:32 and sunset 7:23 for 12h 50m 59s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 48 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1865, defeat at the Third Battle of Petersburg forces the Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederate government to abandon Richmond, Virginia.


An improving economy will not reach everyone simultaneously, as quickly as one would hope, or even feel like it has arrived after it does. 

Of those not  reached (and worse for not having been reached), Natalie Eilbert reports Wisconsin’s homeless rate edges upward, after nearly a decade of a downward trend:

Wisconsin’s homelessness population is on the rise for the first time in a decade, a trend that will likely grow as federal pandemic-relief programs end and living costs continue to surge.

The trend, in a report by Wisconsin Policy Forum released Wednesday, appears to be driven by the economic hardships and layoffs that have become synonymous with the pandemic, and consequently, the jump in housing costs in the pandemic’s aftermath.

COVID-19 relief dollars managed to head off the pandemic’s impact on Wisconsin’s homeless rate, but that quickly changed when relief dollars expired and eviction moratoriums lifted, said Don Cramer, the Wisconsin Policy Forum researcher who authored Wednesday’s report.

….

That translated to a 13% increase in Wisconsin’s homelessness rate between 2021 and 2022, and another 2% increase between 2022 and 2023. To put this into perspective, 6,055 Wisconsinites were registered as homeless in 2014, but by 2021, that number had fallen to 4,237 — a 30% drop. As of 2023, Wisconsin reported 4,861 homeless individuals.

“The lowest (homeless) numbers in 2021 happened when the state got the most funding from relief dollars,” Cramer said. “When different aids start falling away, we see higher homeless rates.”

While Cramer attributes success against homelessness to federal and state relief funds, this approach (however successful, even temporarily) was destined to be limited by the availability of those funds. A funding program may be vital during an immediate crisis but insufficient afterward. To call upon economic growth to uplift the homeless, however, is to call upon powerful forces that do not reach everyone, or for those with several maladies, will not reach them without intermediate growth among supportive professions and sectors of the economy. (A person who needs medical care, even after finding permanent accommodations, needs an economy that produces doctors and the means to reach them. Productive and prosperous economies create diverse opportunities beyond mere employment for one population or within one sector.) 

For many consumers, Casey Quinlan writes Experts say the economy is getting better, but consumers don’t feel that way. Here’s why:

Consumer sentiment, a smaller survey [as against consumer confidence] conducted by the University of Michigan, also gauges people’s sense of the economy overall, the labor market, and how they see inflation. On Thursday, U.S. consumer sentiment jumped to 79.4 from 76.9 in February and 62 a year earlier, making this its highest level since July 2021.

Joanne Hsu, director of the survey, said in the report that this number is an indication that consumers believe the economy is “holding steady.”

“As the election season progresses and debates over economic policy become more salient for consumers, their outlook for the economy could become more volatile in the months ahead,” she added.

Kevin Kliesen, business economist and research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said consumer confidence and consumer sentiment are still far below pre-pandemic levels and that it’s a puzzle as to why when the economy has “been growing fairly strongly” in the past year and a half. But like Pancotti, he added that high prices at the store compared to pre-pandemic prices may be playing a role in those measures.

“If you’re like me, you look at something, and you go, ‘Oh my gosh. I remember when it was so much less before the pandemic.’ So I think that calls into question, probably, a lot of people’s perceptions of the overall state of the economy and importantly their consumer finances,” he said.

There’s sure to be a debate about whether perceptions of particular costs, for example, accurately reflect consumers’ general, measurable gains of the last few years. It may be puzzling that consumer confidence and sentiment are lower than an economist might expect, but it’s sensible to say that there’s likely to be a cause, important to those with low confidence and sentiments.

Perhaps higher prices, perhaps something else, but unlikely either magic or delusion.  


No sweat: Moisture-wicking device keeps wearable-tech dry:

Daily Bread for 4.1.24: The Changing University Landscape

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with afternoon rain and a high of 47. Sunrise is 6:35 and sunset 7:31 for 12h 45m 13s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 58.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Equal Opportunities Commission meets at 5 PM, and the Whitewater Common Council holds a special session at 6:30 PM

On this day in 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak found Apple Computer, Inc.


One could say that, in a dynamic society like America’s, every generation’s university landscape is changed from the generation before. In our time, one of those changes is online university education. Earlier this winter, Corrinne Hess reported Universities of Wisconsin launch website to market online degrees (‘Wisconsin Online aims to make it easier for students to register for online classes’): 

On Feb. 1, the system launched Wisconsin Online at online.wisconsin.edu. The website provides access and information about the UW’s 10 associate, 99 bachelor’s and 95 master’s degree programs.

“We have taken a more deliberate approach to this,” Rothman told WPR. “Our role is to use the trusted brands as the Universities of Wisconsin to offer a world class, online educational program.”

The UW has 18,000 “traditional” students who have now gone fully online, Rothman said. 

But the new online portal is also focused on the more than 700,000 people in Wisconsin who have some college credit who now want to finish their degree online, Rothman said. 

“We have a number of students who also want to get their MBA this way,” Rothman said. “So it is simply a way to further address and meet the students where their needs are. “

These programs expand the reach of college education while requiring communities like Whitewater’s to balance new online opportunities with in-person instruction. Successful campus communities will have to advance on both fronts. 


What’s in the night sky | April 2024:

Daily Bread for 3.30.24: The Art of Making China’s Most Luxurious Fabric

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 50. Sunrise is 6:37 and sunset 7:30 for 12h 42m 19s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 75.8 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1867, Alaska is purchased from Russia for $7.2 million, about two cents/acre, by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward.


The Surprising Art of Making China’s Most Luxurious Fabric:

Xiangyunsha is a silk that’s not only incredibly soft but also eco-friendly and antibacterial. It’s giving modern synthetics a run for their money.

This is the intricate process behind this legendary fabric. From soaking and drying, to the unique rusty hue achieved through a special reaction involving a specific river mud in China and local yams—each step adds to the charm of what has become known as “soft gold.”

We meet Liang Zhu, a local artisan with a wealth of knowledge about the rich history and cultural significance of Xiangyunsha. But these techniques aren’t just passed down—they’re carefully taught and honed through generations of skilled artisans. We’re unravelling the secrets and wonders of Xiangyunsha, an ancient silk dying technique that has been solidified as part of China’s cultural heritage.


Through the Lens: Acorn Woodpeckers:

The Acorn Woodpecker is a favorite among bird watchers. It has a clown-like appearance and the unique habit of storing acorns in a favored tree that is often used by generations of birds. Wildlife Photographer Marie Read shares her experience photographing the behaviors of these lively birds.

Learn more about Acorn Woodpeckers on All About Birds: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/acorn_woodpecker/id

We don’t have this species here, but birders can find them on visits west. Acorn woodpeckers range on the West Coast, from as far north as Oregon along the Pacific into South America. 

Daily Bread for 3.29.24: Recall Effort Accuses Vos of Support for the CCP

Good morning.

Good Friday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 54. Sunrise is 6:39 and sunset 7:18 for 12h 39m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 84.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1973, the last United States combat soldiers leave South Vietnam.


The Party expresses its gratitude for the efforts of ‘tacit’ fellow travelers everywhere.

There is now a second recall effort underway against Comrade Speaker Robin Vos. Rich Kremer reports Second recall effort launched against Robin Vos (‘Campaign driven by same organizers behind first Vos recall attempt, which appears to have fallen short of required signatures’)

A second recall attempt has been launched against Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the effort driven by the same organizers who appear to have fallen short of signatures in their first attempt to remove the powerful Republican from office. 

Burlington resident Matthew Snorek filed paperwork with the Wisconsin Elections Commission Wednesday. It states Vos “should be recalled for his tacit support of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a “lack of election integrity” and “flagrant disrespect for his own constituents by calling them ‘whack-jobs, morons and idiots.’”

The insults from Vos were directed at Snorek and others behind their first recall attempt, which started in January.

According to the WEC, signed petitions for the new recall effort would be due no later than May 28.

May 28th? Plenty of time! 


Against the Odds, the US Economy is Thriving:

Daily Bread for 3.28.24: Vos Catches on Years Too Late

Good morning.

 

Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered afternoon showers with a high of 52. Sunrise is 6:41 and sunset 7:17 for 12h 36m 31s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 90.7 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1979, a coolant leak at the Three Mile Island‘s Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania leads to the core overheating and a partial meltdown.


One could say better late than never, but Speaker Robin Vos’s better-late-than-never recognition of Michael Gableman’s misconduct comes only after years of conspiracy-mongering. Anya van Wagtendonk report Vos: Gableman, leader of failed 2020 election probe, should be ‘disbarred’ (‘Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, and fired him 14 months later’): 

Michael Gableman — the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who led a pricey probe into the 2020 presidential election that turned up no evidence of wrongdoing — should be “disbarred,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in an interview that aired over the weekend.

Vos, who initiated that investigation, told WISN-TV’s “UpFront” program that hiring Gableman “is probably the single biggest embarrassment that I have ever had.”

“I hope eventually he gets disbarred,” Vos, R-Rochester, said. “He should not be an attorney. Anybody who thinks about hiring him, call me, because I will tell you what an awful decision that I made to hire him.”

Well, yes. Gableman should be disbarred. Vos did make an awful decision. 

The two deserve only each other. 

         


Runaway ostrich chased by South Korean police: