Daily Bread for 5.7.17 – 2017

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of sixty. Sunrise is 5:39 AM and sunset 8:03 PM, for 14h 23m 28s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 89% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred eightieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

On this day in 1864, the Battle of the Wilderness ends: “the fighting on May 5-7, 1864, produced nearly 30,000 casualties without giving either side a clear victory. The 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Infantry regiments fought at the Battle of the Wilderness.”

Recommended for reading in full — 

Adam Ozimek, in Sorry Nerds, But Colonizing Other Planets Is Not A Good Plan, contends that whatever benefits of colonizing  other planets, it will always be cheaper to maintain this one properly: “In November, Stephen Hawking warned that humans needed to colonize another planet within 1,000 years. Now, six months later, he’s saying we have to do it within 100 years in order to avoid extinction. There’s a problem with this plan: under almost no circumstances is colonizing another planet the best way to adapt to a problem on earth….We also worry about the level of carbon dioxide we humans are creating. But there’s nothing we could do to earth’s atmosphere to make it as bad as Mars, which is both extremely thin and also 96% carbon dioxide. Not to mention a significantly lower level of gravity. Whatever we’d have to do on Mars to make the atmosphere habitable would be more easily done on a very very ruined earth. Even if an asteroid were to strike earth it would very likely remain more habitable than Mars. For example, consider the asteroid that struck the earth 66 million years ago creating the Chicxulub crater and wiping out 75% of plant and animal species on earth, including the dinosaurs. Well that disaster still left 25% of species that survived, all of whom would die instantly on the surface of Mars.”

Jack Ewing reports Inside VW’s Campaign of Trickery: “Media reports on the scandal have usually focused on Volkswagen’s original sin: the company’s decision in 2006 to equip its diesels with illegal software. But the most costly aspect of the wrongdoing for Volkswagen may have been the cover-up that the company orchestrated after regulators first became suspicious. The following reconstruction, based on interviews with dozens of participants and a review of internal Volkswagen documents and communications, shows that the cover-up spanned years and lasted until days before the company’s lies were exposed. Volkswagen employees manipulated not only the engine software, but also generated reams of false or misleading data to hide the fact that millions of vehicles had been purposely engineered to deceive regulators and spew deadly gases into the air.”

Dan Bice reports that Hacked records show Bradley Foundation taking its conservative Wisconsin model national: ” The records make clear the Bradley Foundation no longer simply favors groups promoting its signature issues: taxpayer-funded school choice and increased work requirements for welfare recipients. It now regularly funds nonprofits that are, among other things, hostile to labor unions, skeptical of climate change or critical of the loosening of sexual mores in American culture. More important, the foundation has found success by changing its fundamental approach to putting policies into reality. The Bradley Foundation is paying less attention to Washington, D.C. Instead, it is methodically building a coalition of outside groups aimed at influencing officials in statehouses from Pennsylvania to Arizona.”

Aria Bendix observes that In France, the Predictable [Release of Hacked Emails] Has Finally Happened: “The parallels to the 2016 U.S. election are striking: Both occurred days before an election. Both were carried out by hacking the personal and professional email accounts of campaign staffers. And both were directed at more establishment-friendly candidates—not their conservative opponents. While the perpetrators of the Macron hack haven’t been identified, numerous intelligence agencies have expressed confidence that Russia was behind the hacking of Clinton’s emails during the 2016 U.S. election. Russia is also said to have targeted the French electoral process, as well as elections in other counties where the leading candidates have been critical of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. Russia denies any such actions. But U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Putin ordered interference in the U.S. election to favor one candidate—though it said there was no evidence to suggest the interference was successful. Arguably the most important insight from the intelligence report was summed up in a single sentence by The New York Times: “This will happen again.” After witnessing the efficacy of its cyberattack on the U.S., the report said, Russia was preparing for future hacks on U.S. allies…”

Saturday Night Live cold open last night teases about the announcement that MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough & Mika Brzezinski are a couple (and, in fact, engaged):

The point of their MSNBC show, of course, is that Scarborough and Brzezinski represent ideologically different (and presumably unconflicted) points of view. Whether that will continue one cannot say.

In my own case, I’m happily married, but even if it were otherwise, I could yet confidently declare that I hold no romantic feelings for any officials of Whitewater’s municipal building (nor they for me).

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