Not a surprise, with the way TV news has stoked fear of the disease. Beth McDonough of KSTP-TV reports, “Some members of the 30,000 plus Liberian population in the northwest metro say they feel stigmatized. Even though there hasn’t been a single case of Ebola in Minnesota, local Liberians believe those outside of their neighborhoods.”
Simultaneously Tom Hauser of KSTP-TV has the latest polling on Ebola preparedness. “In our latest, exclusive KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, we asked Minnesotans if they think we’re prepared for Ebola here at home. The majority said ‘no.’ Only 23 percent of Minnesotans said they think the state and our health care system are prepared to handle an Ebola outbreak here. Fifty-three percent say we’re not prepared, and 23 percent are not sure.”
That, “It’s working” claim keeps getting harder to sell next door. Todd Milewski of Madison’s Capital Times writes, “On Tuesday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the full national numbers in the Current Employment Statistics report, and they show that Wisconsin’s percentage jobs increase in September ranked third in a group of five states made up of Wisconsin and its neighbors. The growth of 8,400 private sector jobs in seasonally adjusted data represents a 0.3 percent increase over August for Wisconsin. Minnesota gained 11,400 jobs, an increase of 0.5 percent. Illinois added 18,400 jobs, or 0.4 percent. Michigan was up by 0.1 percent with 5,300 new jobs, and Iowa lost 200 jobs. The national average was 0.2 percent growth.”
It’s always a contact sport in Wisconsin. Scott Bauer of the AP reports, “Thousands of emails prosecutors collected during the first secret investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s former aides and associates when he was a county executive were released Tuesday, prompting allegations from Walker and other Republicans that the timing two weeks before the election was politically motivated. … The messages, many of which were sent during Walker’s 2010 run for governor, show county staff interacting with those on Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, discussing strategy and seeking advice on how to answer questions from reporters.” In other words, none of the public’s business.
“Far fewer” is the word on the number of deer hunters are expected to bring down this season. Stribber Paul Walsh reports, “‘By design, this year’s deer harvest will be one of the lowest we’ve seen in decades,’ Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said Monday. ‘In fact, our total harvest this year may end up coming in around 120,000,’ McInenly said, far below the 170,000 bagged last year.”
Elsewhere in the woods: Bill Hannah of the Mesabi Daily News says, “The gray wolf population in the Western Great Lakes District — Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — has increased, despite a wolf hunt season in the state the past two years. A report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that the wolf population in the three-state area grew from 3,678 in 2012-2013 to 3,719 in 2013-2014.”
A what shortage? Kari Petrie of the St. Cloud Times informs us, “There’s plenty of salt on hand for another winter of icy roads, but getting it to the cities that need it is another thing. A shortage of trucks to haul the salt has meant cities such as Sartell and Sauk Rapids aren’t able to build up their stockpiles as fast as they would like. Cities channel salt contracts through the state. … While some states have experienced a shortage of salt, that’s not the issue here. Compass Minerals spokeswoman Tara Hart said the company has enough inventory to fill its orders, but finding trucks has been tough.”
Over at WCCO-TV, Pat Kessler wonders if all that TV money focused on the Eighth District is creating a backlash? He says, “The DCCC has already spent $3,037,051 on TV ads targeting [GOP candidate Stewart] Mills. And Republicans, through the Republican National Campaign Committee, have spent $2,304,045 on negative ads against [DFL incumbent Rick] Nolan. In fact, outside groups are outspending the candidates themselves by a margin of more than 2-1. So far, Democrat Nolan and Republican Mills together have spent more than $3.4 million on the campaign. Nolan has spent $1,729,551, and Mills has spent $1,700,704. Outside groups have spent $7,714,227, almost all of it on attack ads.” Largely anonymous outside groups are people, my friend.
You may have heard that 2014 is about to go down as the warmest year on record, despite what right-wing bloggers tell us. Paul Huttner of MPR writes today, “Ironically, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest continues to be the coolest place on earth in 2014 relative to average. … Much of Minnesota is running a good 2 degrees below average this year, while most of the globe is bathed in shades of red and bakes in the hottest year on record. … [University of St. Thomas climate expert John Abraham] points out that if the long awaited El Nino develops this winter, it could carry over well into 2015, raising the chance that 2015 will be even warmer than 2014.”
Finally, with Voter ID back in the local news thanks to the Secretary of State race, you might want to check out John Wihbey’s piece for Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the latest empirical evidence on voter fraud and participation. “Investigative news projects, such as News21’s 2013 report, have found little evidence of in-person voter fraud. But what is the latest evidence? Perhaps the most comprehensive research effort to date comes from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which was asked by Congress to review these laws in light of the 2012 election. … The GAO does note that the Department of Justice has stated in a recent court filing that, after a review of its databases and other records, there were “no apparent cases of in-person voter impersonation charged by DOJ’s Criminal Division or by U.S. Attorney’s offices anywhere in the United States, from 2004 through July 3, 2014.” Not that facts have any meaning in this conversation.