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Tuesday, April 5, 2016



Tuesday, 8:00 AM.  27 degrees F at the ferry dock, 22 on the back porch.  Wind SW, calm with light gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 79%.  The barometer is falling rapidly, now at 30.36".  It is a beautiful sunny morning but snow is still in the forecast for the next few days.
   Each spring I watch for the staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina, in the cashew family) branches to evidence their velvety, fuzzy appearance. It is a rather subtle nuance, but it is definitely there in early spring and later.  I think I caught it in the photo. In fact, it is the reason for the species name, which is  Latin for the cat-tail, whose velvety fruiting structure the staghorn sumac branches mimic.  We have another, quite similar native sumac, R. glabra, which as its species name indicates, is not velvety, but is glabrous, or smooth, as indicated by its common name, smooth sumac.
   Today it is Wisconsin's turn in the Presidential Primary elections.  Wisconsin has an open primary, any registered voter being able to cast his or her vote for either party's candidates.  There is always some concern that voters of one party will "cross over"and vote for one of the other party's candidates and purposely skew the process, but this is such a contentious election within both parties that it probably will not happen to any great extent.  Wisconsin  Governor Scott Walker has endorsed Cruz, who leads in most recent polls.
   On the Republican side, there are 42 delegates at stake, mostly winner take all.  The contestants are Trump, Cruz an Kasich.
  On the Democratic side, Clinton and Sanders compete for 86 delegates, awarded proportionally according to the vote. 
   Wisconsin is an important factor in both the Republican and Democratic races not only because of the amount of delegates at stake but because the election occurs at a time that can be a turning point in momentum before the large delegate prizes of New York and California.
   This is also the first national election in Wisconsin that voters must present a photo ID at the polls.  That is good, as votes were freely bought in Milwaukee in the last Presidential election and there was also a lot of duplicate voting by persons simply going from one polling place to another and lying about one's name and residence (going rate; a pack of cigarettes, not a high price to pay to steal a close election).
   I was prepared to write a tongue in cheek post, something of a sarcastic or ridiculous nature.  But upon further consideration, it is just too important an election to joke about.  Sorry.

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