Democrats Seem In Driver’s Seat With Early Voting Numbers—But Is It Enough?

My central question over the weeks has been just how good is the ground game for the Democrats.  

But so far, there have not been enough new Democratic votes to erase the Republicans’ expected turnout advantage. It remains to be seen whether turnout among new voters will continue at these rates.

Democratic efforts to turn out the young and nonwhite voters who sat out the 2010 midterm elections appear to be paying off in several Senate battleground states.

More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election, according to an analysis of early-voting data by The Upshot.

These voters who did not participate in 2010 are far more diverse and Democratic than the voters from four years ago. On average across these states, 39 percent are registered Democrats and 30 percent are registered Republicans. By comparison, registered Republicans outnumbered Democrats in these states by an average of 1 percentage point in 2010.

The turnout among black voters is particularly encouraging for Democrats, who need strong black turnout to compete in racially polarized states like Georgia and North Carolina. In those two states, black voters so far represent 30 percent of the voters who did not participate in 2010. By comparison, 24 percent of all those who voted in those states in 2010 were black.

80,000 Mile Wide Sunspot–Big Enough To Fit All Of Jupiter

This is just so interesting.

oct_26_x2_304-171-1024x1024

By the time the giant spot on the sun rotated into view on October 18, it was already 80,000 miles wide, big enough to fit all of Jupiter, big enough to lay 10 Earths, side by side, across. It is the largest spot the sun has harbored in 24 years.

But while most erupting sunspots lob chunks of plasma outward in events called coronal mass ejections, this one’s keeping its plasma close to the surface.

This latest sunspot is producing lots of flares — really, really, big ones — but hardly any coronal mass ejections. (Though it did produce one single CME before it rotated into our field of view.)

“I can’t remember ever seeing a sunspot producing so many solar flares and so few CME’s,” said Michael Hesse, director of NASA Goddard’s Heliophysics Science Division, the team that stares at the sun 24 hours a day. “It wants to get rid of this energy, but we don’t understand why it does it through a flare and not a CME.”

But it’s produced 10 major solar flares, Hesse said. Six of these were rated X-class, which is equivalent to 100,000 times the amount of energy produced by humans in one year. Also, a billion Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons.

The Mood Of America Last Weekend Before 2014 Mid-Term Elections

This is the national mindset the last weekend before the 2014 mid-term elections.

The lead story of today’s USA Today, on newsstands through the weekend: “Election Day nears and U.S. is rattled: Poll shows anxiety over Islamic State, Ebola, fewer jobs,” by Susan Page: “As Election Day nears, America is the Land of the Fearful.” The Financial Times cover has what looks like a hopeful headline, “Strong US growth beats forecast.” Then you get to the third graf: “But the details portray and economy that is steady, not accelerating.” And turn to Page 4, and the page-topping headline is: “US boom times as distant as ever.”

Madison Alder, Former Trek Executive, Counters GOP Lies About Mary Burke

There is no shortage of backlash over the lies the GOP unleashed this week concerning Mary Burke and her time at Trek Bicycle.

A Madison alder who worked for Trek Bicycle in the 1990s and 2000s says media accounts suggesting Mary Burke was let go from her family’s company don’t jibe with what she knows.

Denise DeMarb, president pro tem of the Madison city council, worked at Trek for nearly 20 years, the last half of which were spent as director of finance. She retired about three years ago.

DeMarb said Thursday that Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor, worked for Trek twice while she was there.

Trek was founded by Burke’s father, Richard, who died in 2008. Burke’s brother, John, now serves as president and CEO.

DeMarb called into question the credibility of Gary Ellerman, the company’s human resources director at the time, who alleged in a Wisconsin Reporter story that Burke was forced out of her job in 1993. 

Ellerman currently serves as chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party and ran in 2012 as a fake Democrat during the recall elections. His Facebook page, since locked down, previously included a number of crude public posts, including one that referred to First Lady Michelle Obama as “a man” and President Barack Obama as “a homo.” Trek has said he was fired from the company in 2004.

Wisconsin Reporter received $190,000 from the Bradley Foundation in 2012. The foundation is led by Michael Grebe, co-chairman of Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

Thomas Albers, who joined the company in 1982 and served as chief operating officer and president from 1993 until 1997, backed up some of Ellerman’s claims. He told the Wisconsin State Journal that Burke “handled herself well,” but said it was his understanding she was fired.

In the same story, Steve Lindenau, head of Trek’s German operations from 1989 to 2001, commended Burke’s leadership.

Both Burke’s campaign and Trek CEO John Burke dismissed the allegations as politically-motivated and untrue.

More News About GOP Sources For Reports Regarding Mary Burke And Trek

How Joe Fadness and other political hucksters were ever used as a source for a news headline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel attacking Mary Burke is one of the most disturbing events in Wisconsin journalism this year.  Simply astounding!

A source who was quoted this morning in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cover story claiming that Democrat Mary Burke was fired from Trek Bicycle has posted bizarre and offensive rants on his Facebook page, including accusations that Barack Obama is a “homo” and First Lady Michelle Obama is a man.

MJS, which has endorsed Gov. Scott Walker in the past, ran the story in which former Trek employees blasted Burke’s alleged incompetence under the headline “Conservative ex-execs say Burke forced out at Trek.” The story appeared in a prominent position under the masthead and above the newspaper fold.

The three accusers are not only die-hard Republicans but also former Trek employees. The article did not state whether they were disgruntled with Trek, but one of them apparently was fired by Trek and another, Tom Albers, now works for a major Trek competitor and has donated to Republican campaigns.

Joe Fadness, the third Burke accuser, is also a Wisconsin GOP operative.

Gary Elllerman, who posted the Facebook rants, is a known Republican dirty trickster who compared Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” slogan to a swastika. The chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, Ellerman ran as a fake Democrat in the 2012 recall elections.

“It’s disgusting that the state’s largest newspaper would run a sleazy tabloid hit piece based on blatant lies, but it’s even more reprehensible that their ‘source,’ a Republican Party insider who was fired from Trek for poor performance, is publicly espousing his racist, homophobic beliefs,” said a Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokewoman. “Unless they agree with him, Scott Walker and his Republican Party should immediately denounce Gary Ellerman and call for him to resign his Party leadership post.”

Journal Sentinel blogger Daniel Bice was one of three bylined writers of the story. He posted a blog this afternoon claiming that the writers tried without success to reach Ellerman before publishing the story, which was based on an article that previously appeared in the right-wing publication Wisconsin Reporter. According to Bice, that newspaper is funded by the conservative Bradley Foundation, which is headed by Walker campaign chairman Michael Grebe.

Will Republicans Pick Up North Korean Idea Over Ebola?

Those of us who consider science more the route to follow than politicians who are promoting their own cause are 100% behind Kaci Hickox.    What is happening in Maine is simply ridiculous as health officials have asked a court to limit the movements of nurse Hickox, who has rightly defied a voluntary quarantine for medical workers who have treated Ebola patients.   I like safety and precautions as much as everyone else, but I also want science and medial knowledge to guide my actions.

But too many politicians who are playing to the grandstands have allowed themselves to stray from what they know to be the way forward when dealing with this medical matter–especially in a campaign season.  With that in mind comes the news from how North Korea is preparing to handle the matter of Ebola.

One has to wonder if Chris Christie and Paul LePage are taking notes.

North Korean officials plan to quarantine every single foreigner for 21 days over fears of Ebola – even though not a single case of the disease has been reported in the country.

The drastic announcement distributed to foreign diplomatic missions in Pyongyang said that, regardless of country or region of origin, all foreigners would be quarantined under medical observation for three weeks.

It said foreigners from affected areas would be quarantined at one set of locations, while those from unaffected areas would be sent to other locations, including hotels.

It said the staff of diplomatic missions and international organizations in North Korea would be allowed to stay in their residences.

Milwaukee Journal Cuts To The Core Over Mary Burke Trek Issue

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cuts to the core in a piece state voters need to read.

You were not alone if thinking about the drunk driving charge against George Bush that popped up in the last days of the 200o presidential campaign.  Rough and tumble politics often delivers unexpected events and misleading stories of the kind that Mary Burke now finds making state headlines.    But there also needs to be a place for facts and therefore I was pleased to see the Milwaukee paper that is read from one end of Wisconsin to the other making an attempt to level the playing field for voters who are questioning what they are hearing.

The entire article should be read and pondered, but I offer a short segment below.

My last thought on this matter is rather straightforward.  If those who make the claims were so interested in having this ‘news’ resonate with the voters why did they wait until the last days of the campaign to come forward?  Therein lies the answer for the voters who wish to know the truth.

Mary Burke has made her business acumen a central selling point of her campaign for governor — she brags about growing Trek Bicycle Corp.’s European sales from $3 million to $50 million while she ran those operations during the early 1990s — so it’s hardly a surprise that conservatives fighting to keep Gov. Scott Walker on the job have challenged her claims.

But as of today, we know no more about Burke’s time at Trek than we did earlier this week.

What we do know is that two reports, one in a conservative publication, the other in the Journal Sentinel, have given voice to critics of Burke’s time with Trek — criticism larded with hearsay, innuendo and sexist overtones.

No voter should base his or her decision on 20-year-old twaddle from a fired Trek employee who now is a Republican county chairman — all dredged up a week before the election. There are plenty of good issues to vote on, including Burke’s record as a businesswoman. After all, she brought it up. But these reports prove nothing and say more about the attackers than they do about her.

First Snow Of Year On Madison Isthmus!

There is still a kid quality to the smile on my face this morning when I looked outside and saw the first snow of the year had graced everything with a touch of white.  Gentle and perfect.

pic1 pic2 pic3As I snapped the photos a song came to mind and I started humming it.