Whitewater’s Monday will be partly cloudy with a high of forty-five. (The average December high is thirty-one.) Sunrise is 7:24 AM and sunset 4:27 PM, for 9h 03m 01s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 6.7% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1776, having crossed the Delaware, Washington is victorious at Trenton:
“At 4:00 am, the soldiers began to march towards Trenton. Along the way, several civilians joined as volunteers, and led as guides (see Captain John Mott) because of their knowledge of the terrain. After marching 1.5 miles (2.4 km) through winding roads into the wind, they reached Bear Tavern, where they turned right. The ground was slippery, but it was level, making it easier for the horses and artillery. They began to make better time. They soon reached Jacobs Creek, where, with difficulty, the Americans made it across. The two groups stayed together until they reached Birmingham, where they split apart. Soon after, they reached the house of Benjamin Moore, where the family offered food and drink to Washington. At this point, the first signs of daylight began to appear. Many of the troops did not have boots, so they were forced to wear rags around their feet. Some of the men’s feet bled, turning the snow to a dark red. Two men died on the trip.
As they marched, Washington rode up and down the line, encouraging the men to continue. General Sullivan sent a courier to tell Washington that the weather was wetting his men’s gunpowder. Washington responded, “Tell General Sullivan to use the bayonet. I am resolved to take Trenton.”
Worth reading in full —
It’s December 26th, 2016, after a long but revealing political campaign, yet at the State Journal, ‘Two Minutes with Mitch Henck’ concludes that Donald Trump could really turn on the press. Henck uses the word could the way people with a proper grasp of English use has, is, and will continue. (Admittedly, Henck’s not sucking on his thumb while speaking of Trump’s conduct, but that’s only because Henck couldn’t speak at all if he did so.)
At Cato, Neal McCluskey asks [concerning a report from Sightlines] Do Colleges Have an Edifice Complex, an Amenities Arms Race, or Both?: “Essentially, the report says that colleges have been on a big building binge, but enrollment has been stagnant or declining….The basic math is concerning: Greater capital costs, plus decreasing revenue, equals trouble. Has the building boom been driven by an edifice complex — college presidents and faculty love new buildings all over campus that are imposing, cutting edge, or both — or an amenities arms race to bring in students? The report says that for decades, college construction has focused more on creating non-academic than academic space, and about half of all college space today is for non-academic use. It’s a classic arms race: Colleges frightened of losing tuition dollars feel constant pressure to spend on expensive facilities to compete for students, in the process greatly increasing the danger of becoming even more insecure financially, maybe hopelessly so.”
(One reads all this with concern, not because one doubts university life, but with a love for it, from a family that has always loved it, because that life derives strength primarily from substantive learning, and secondarily in a socialization that has no capital cost.)
Sergei Guriev writes that In Russia, It’s Not the Economy, Stupid: “Thanks partly to its near-complete control of the press, television and the internet, the government has developed a grand narrative about Russia’s role in the world — essentially promoting the view that Russians may need to tighten their belts for the good of the nation. The story has several subplots. Russian speakers in Ukraine need to be defended against neo-Nazis. Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad of Syria because he is a rampart against the Islamic State, and it has helped liberate Aleppo from terrorists. Why would the Kremlin hack the Democratic Party in the United States? And who believes what the C.I.A. says anyway?”
Philip Rucker and Robert Barnes report that Trump to inherit more than 100 court vacancies, plans to reshape judiciary: “The estimated 103 judicial vacancies that President Obama is expected to hand over to Trump in the Jan. 20 transition of power is nearly double the 54 openings Obama found eight years ago following George W. Bush’s presidency. Confirmation of Obama’s judicial nominees slowed to a crawl after Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015. Obama White House officials blame Senate Republicans for what they characterize as an unprecedented level of obstruction in blocking the Democratic president’s court picks. The result is a multitude of openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts that will allow the new Republican president to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments.”