Daily Bread for 11.28.16 – 2017

Good morning.

Whitewater’s work week begins with a rainy day, and a high of forty-eight. Sunrise is 7:03 AM, and sunset 4:22 PM, for 9h 18m 41s of daytime. The moon is new today, with just .9% of its visible disk illuminated.

The city’s Urban Forestry Commission meets today at 4:30 PM.

On this day in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition reaches the Pacific. On this day in 1901, UW football has its first undefeated season (9-0), following a win over the University of Chicago (35-0).

Worth reading in full —

The Journal Sentinel‘s Dave Umhoefer writes that For unions in Wisconsin, [it’s been] a fast and hard fall since Act 10: “But the scene in the basement of the MTEA [Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association] complex, five years after the passage of Act 10, was a reminder of the hard and fast fall organized labor has taken in Wisconsin. Even as one of the stronger locals in the state, MTEA membership is down by about 30% since Act 10. Nationally, no state has lost more of its labor union identity than Wisconsin since 2011, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis found. Union members made up 14.2% of workers before Act 10, but just 8.3% in 2015. That was nearly double the drop of Alaska, the runner up. The bottom line: 132,000 fewer union members, mostly teachers and other public workers — enough to fill Lambeau Field and Miller Park, with thousands more tailgating outside. The decline has put Wisconsin, the birthplace of public-employee unions, near the bottom third of states for unionized workforce. Southern and western states make up most of the lowest tier.”

Scott Bauer of the Associated Press writes that politicians can find No easy answers to Wisconsin road funding problem: “Just in case anyone thought solving Wisconsin’s $1 billion transportation budget deficit was going to be as simple as throwing some asphalt over a pothole, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has a reality check: “No Easy Answers.”  That’s the title of a 27-page document Vos distributed to Republican Assembly members in advance of the next legislative session, laying out possible solutions to the funding shortfall. Figuring out what to do about Wisconsin’s crumbling roads, and massive ongoing highway projects in the most populated parts of the state, is expected to be one of the most difficult issues the Legislature faces next year.  The fight is also revealing tensions among Republicans who control state government.”

Daniel Drezner writes that Trump likes to be ‘unpredictable.’ That won’t work so well in diplomacy:  “The search for meaning in Trump’s word salads won’t be easy. Indeed, an adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Reuters that Trump’s aides informed him that “we don’t have to take each word that Mr. Trump said publicly literally.”  Trump’s short fuse could win him some near-term foreign policy accomplishments. And the ambiguity of a president who contradicts himself frequently could sow confusion among rivals of the United States. The problem is that it will also sow confusion among key allies and partners. Ultimately, Trump’s bluster and impulsiveness will hurt our national interest. If allies — or enemies — stop believing what they hear from the White House, Trump is likely to blunder into conflicts that are not of his own choosing.  Part of the problem with trying to identify the meaning of Trump’s words is that Trump himself does not put too much stock in them. From his very first book — which he didn’t write — Trump proclaimed his faith in “truthful hyperbole.” His rise to political prominence came from lying about President Obama’s citizenship status. During his presidential campaign, Trump and his aides gaslighted on a regular basis: In one debate, Trump flatly denied that he had called global warming a Chinese hoax — when he very clearly had . According to every reputable fact-checker, Trump lied far more frequently than Hillary Clinton.”

Amber Phillips explains Why down-ballot Democrats could be in the minority for years to come: “….their efforts may come too late for this next redistricting battle. They have got only two election cycles — 2018, 2020 — to catch up before it is time to redraw the maps for the next 10 years. And Democrats are in such a big hole that it may take even more time to rebuild their majorities in state chambers, which means they could be locked out of the redistricting process in some key states for another decade.”

Some techniques are useful across centuries, in new contexts. Turns out, there are things ancient mariners had techniques in common with NASA scientists:

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