Daily Bread for 2.2.17 – 2017

Good morning.

Groundhog Day in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of twenty. Sunrise is 7:06 AM and sunset 5:10 PM, for 10h 03m 42s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 31.1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the eighty-sixth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1887, Punxsutawney Phil makes his first groundhog day prediction. On this day in 1905, professional baseball (as the Wisconsin State League) arrives in Wisconsin.

Recommended for reading in full —

Julia Edwards Ainsley, Dustin Volz and Kristina Cooke (of Reuters) report that Trump to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam: “The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters. The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States. Such a change would reflect Trump’s election campaign rhetoric and criticism of former President Barack Obama for being weak in the fight against Islamic State and for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islam” in describing it. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians in several countries. The CVE program aims to deter groups or potential lone attackers through community partnerships and educational programs or counter-messaging campaigns in cooperation with companies such as Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O). Some proponents of the program fear that rebranding it could make it more difficult for the government to work with Muslims already hesitant to trust the new administration, particularly after Trump issued an executive order last Friday temporarily blocking travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries.”

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler, writing in Covering Trump the Reuters Way, says that his global news organization is prepared to cover the Trump Administration the way it would an autocracy: “So what is the Reuters answer? To oppose the administration? To appease it? To boycott its briefings? To use our platform to rally support for the media? All these ideas are out there, and they may be right for some news operations, but they don’t make sense for Reuters. We already know what to do because we do it every day, and we do it all over the world. To state the obvious, Reuters is a global news organization that reports independently and fairly in more than 100 countries, including many in which the media is unwelcome and frequently under attack. I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists. We respond to all of these by doing our best to protect our journalists, by recommitting ourselves to reporting fairly and honestly, by doggedly gathering hard-to-get information – and by remaining impartial. We write very rarely about ourselves and our troubles and very often about the issues that will make a difference in the businesses and lives of our readers and viewers. We don’t know yet how sharp the Trump administration’s attacks will be over time or to what extent those attacks will be accompanied by legal restrictions on our news-gathering. But we do know that we must follow the same rules that govern our work anywhere…”

Rod Nordland reports that the Trump Presidency Could Offer Opportunity to World’s Autocrats: “The bromance between President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Mr. Trump is the most prominent example of a trend that has swept the world, instilling new hope for a strongman-friendly America in countries like the Philippines, Turkey or Egypt, and among nationalists in many other places who hope to follow in Mr. Trump’s footsteps and gain political power. Many appear to see a Trump presidency as an opportunity to engage with a like-minded leader who has stated nationalist aims. Others may hope for respite from criticism over their human rights records or authoritarian tendencies. Some, like Mr. Kim and Mr. Putin, might see an opportunity to further their national aims in a new geopolitical order.”

Greg Miller and Philip Rucker report No ‘G’day, mate’: On call with Australian prime minister, Trump badgers and brags: “But even in conversations marred by hostile exchanges, Trump manages to work in references to his election accomplishments. U.S. officials said that he used his calls with both Turnbull and Peña Nieto to mention his election win or the size of the crowd at his inauguration. One official said that it may be Trump’s way of “speaking about the mandate he has and why he has the backing for decisions he makes.” But Trump is also notoriously thin-skinned and has used platforms including social-media accounts, meetings with lawmakers and even a speech at CIA headquarters to depict his victory as an achievement of historic proportions, rather than a narrow outcome in which his opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote.”

NASA describes What’s Up for February 2017:

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