Topeka homecoming

In 2002 I visited my old Topeka home with my Mother just as Alzheimers was beginning to intrude into her life. I asked her to drive me around town to show me the seven houses her family moved to, one each year, for the first seven years her father was the Kansas State Auditor. I took their pictures, where they still stood, except for the house on Clay Street that may have fallen victim to the tornado in 1966. In two weeks I’ll be heading back to Topeka, this time as a guest of the local VFW to participate as they memorialize Mom’s father on November 11th. It will be the 99th anniversary of the battle that made him a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

For the past couple months I have been sorting and organizing documents related to his life. They fill five three-ring binders. I’ll probably come back with even more documentation because I plan to spend a couple days at the Kansas Historical Society where my Mother and her sister took his letters after his death. At the time she was quite irritated with one of the archivists who panned their gift of my Grandfather’s Medal of Honor telling them that the Historical Society had more of that kind of stuff than it knew what to do with. When I visited Topeka with her in 2002 the medal was hanging in an exhibit about my grandfather. Here’s Mom bending down to read the captions:

That helmet in the case used to hang on a wall between the garage and Grandpa’s kitchen. My cousins liked wearing it with the bullet hole next to the temple.

I also took pictures of some Topeka schools. The one on the top is Loman Hill Elementary where newly integrated students were sent to our classrooms when I was in Second grade. The photo in the middle was the segregated Buchanan School whose students were sent to Loman Hill. How appropriate that it was named for the least competent President in the Nation’s history. The bottom school was Monroe Elementary now the site for the Brown V. Board of Education National Historic site.

Thieves in the night

So, funny story. My last post from Friday night about that sign I painted and how I had a good night’s sleep after sticking it up in my front yard late at night……today its in someone else’s front yard or dorm room or down a ravine. It did occur to me that it being a relatively mild Friday night with lots of young folks zipping around on the streets it might get nicked.

I woke up at 4AM and peeked out a window and saw that it was gone. I didn’t mind that much. I thought about making a replacement but decided going back to sleep would be better for me. I did and it was better.

The making of the sign had served a useful purpose Friday night. It kept me awake so I could see a PBS program about the making of the hot new musical “Hamilton.”

I already knew a couple things about it. It was based on the Pulitzer Prize winning bio written by Ron Cherno. Its one of the books I’ve bought in past years circling the airport waiting for me to read it. It also has a heavily minority cast including the figure of Hamilton and his killer Vice President Aaron Burr.

If I hadn’t gotten engaged in laying out the sign and painting it I would have gone to bed. I was dog tired. I have a couple observations from watching the special on Hamilton. The heavy influence of minority actors gives me great hope. That black Americans could take the story of a white founding father and press it to their breast and make it their own tells me that we will survive this crappy election. In doing so we will defy Donald Trump and continue making America the great nation our white founding fathers hoped it would be with their soaring rhetoric that paved a way to a more humane future. We still have work to do.

I shared this personal commentary from a conservative blogger about the abuse being heaped on him by Donald Trump’s fans to a friend. Limbaugh treated Obama as a joke early on. He called him a “halfrican american” back in 2007. Limbaugh keeps pouring it on and now his fans are tweeting venom anonymously with pictures of the children of Trump’s critics photoshopped into Auschwitz ovens. Tonight I watched another superlative PBS offering about Norman Lear the showman who brought us All in the Family. Lear told of being nine and listening to his crystal radio set broadcasting a speech by Father Coughlin explaining how Jews threatened America. Lear was a Jew.

After quitting TV Lear formed People for the American Way to challenge the new New Father Coughlin’s of the Moral Majority. Jerry Falwell’s response was to write to his supporters that Lear was bringing “filth and sexual perversion” into American homes. Good Christians saw to it that Lear got the same treatment that is now being heaped on Mr.French.

Claudia, who’s sign was stolen, and I talked about the Trump army. Her take is a lot like mine. These are people who are hurting. They deserve more sympathy than antipathy. I’ll confess that I can’t muster any for the trolls who photoshop children’s faces into images of the holocaust but I understand that every cause has its fringe – mine included whatever it may be.

1860 redux?

I just watched the final 2016 presidential debate. It’s worth noting that the last time a nation didn’t except the results of a presidential election we had a civil war.

That was because of the threat of ending slavery vs. disavowing the preamble to the Declaration of lndependence.

In 2016 not accepting the results of the election would be the result of a narcisist being unhappy about admitting that he was a loser.

Not so piddling

How could I forget this?

On top of the Jack Moon Scholarship switcheroo that has made me peavish I just heard that the counselors at East High have been trying to figure out a novel way publicizing “Zero Hour” courses without listing them in the registration materials. If they did it by word-of-mouth no one could compare Denfeld’s threadbare zero hour Health Class catalog with the more varied selections at East High. Voila. Controversy averted.


PIDDLINGS 10-19-2016

Sometimes I get traditional good night sleeps despite the horror of this dyspeptic election year. Not so yesterday. I crawled back into bed about about 7AM yesterday only to be awakened by a phone call reminding me that I had volunteered to help Habitat for Humanity that day. Last night, after a too generous late meal, I got out of bed and took a midnight walk hoping to see the moon’s occultation of aldebaran. Only after I was out on the Lakewalk did I google on my cell and learn I was about 200 miles too far north to see it.

After my work at Habitat yesterday I came home and spent a couple hours entering events in my Grandfather Robb’s life into a timeline ap I downloaded from the Internet. That’s what I had wanted to spend the day doing and its what I will be doing for most of today until I pick up my grandson’s from school and go to a church potluck dinner. In fact, I’ll be putting timelines on several of my forebears together for the next several months. At the moment I find it far more rewarding than being on the Duluth School Board which occupied my evening yesterday. Here’s the DNT’s take on the meeting. WDIO’s had a smart story on air last night but doesn’t have video up. KBJR only reported our tabling talk of the Superintendent’s contract. The full meeting video “>is here on youtube.

At 13 minutes Alanna Oswald moves to drop a troublesome resolution from the Business Committee discussion. We have an intense but muted discussion about fair play before Chair Harala misremembers our new policy on changing agendas at actual Board meetings. Whether to invite Many Rivers Montesorri to talk to us was the main issue tonight. The Superintendent’s contract will follow in a couple month’s time. I’m sorry KBJR had their eye on the wrong ball but apparently it had announced the contract would be approved last night. If so, I didn’t hear any mea culpas about their prematurity.

I’ve gotten a couple emails to my Board account quibbling about extending the Superintendent’s contract. I think Board members will be talking about this among themselves until March when we will likely consider it again at the Board meeting.

I’ve been quibbling with my Buddy about the Trump/Clinton race. I think Trump is a modern day Aaron Burr-like threat to the best spirit of America. My Buddy may think Hilary is. He also thinks that I’m rationalizing my support of Hillary Clinton. I’d prefer to think I was reasoning rather than rationalizing which strongly suggests I know that the vote I’m about to cast is a bad thing to do…….like a little kid stealing a cookie he/she hasn’t asked permission to eat.

I should thank my ex-pat sister who now lives in Equador for her new home’s taking away Julien Assange’s computers. Naughty boy……helping Vladimir Putin bedevil Hillary’s campaign. tsk, tsk, tsk!

That’s enough to keep my eight loyal readers up to dayte. I’ve got some data entry ahead of me.

Vote Trump and save us from the liberal apocalypse

My Buddy prefers to send me Op Ed pieces that challenge my point of view rather than make his own arguments. That leaves me to argue with his Op Ed experts. Here’s a computer prof begging voters in the Wall Street Journal to vote for Trump with their noses pinched shut. I’m having none of it:

From: [Your Buddy]
Sent: 16-Oct-2016 03:43:39 +0000
Subject: Trump and the Emasculated Voter

Again, I am only the messenger; and what does a professor of computer science at Yale, know?


“Trump voters have noticed that, not just over Mr. Obama’s term but in recent decades, their own opinions have grown increasingly irrelevant. It’s something you feel, like encroaching numbness. Since when has the American public endorsed affirmative action? Yet it’s a major factor in the lives of every student and many workers. Since when did we decide that men and women are interchangeable in hand-to-hand combat on the front lines? Why do we insist on women in combat but not in the NFL? Because we take football seriously. That’s no joke; it’s the sad truth”.


“Enter Mr. Trump. People say he became a star because he just happened to mention an issue that just happened to catch on. But immigration is the central issue of our time. Trump voters zeroed in because they saw what most intellectuals didn’t. What is our nation and what will it be? Will America go on being America or turn into something else? That depends on who lives here—especially given our schools, which no longer condescend to teach Americanism.

The liberal theory is that, other things being equal, all human beings have an equal right to settle in America. For liberals this is too obvious to spell out. But it is also too ludicrous to defend. Does all mankind have a right to camp in your backyard, eat in your kitchen, work at your office and borrow your best jogging outfit? We fail in our duty if we don’t think carefully whom we want in this country, who would be best for America.”

My Reply:


Yale? Big deal. W went to Yale and that left us with the War on Terror, Dick Cheney and No Child Left Behind.

Yeah, I’m just saying that as a smart ass but its your question that prompts it and your disclaimer that you are only the messenger. No, the WSJ is the messenger. Frankly tons of profs are full of themselves, liberals and conservatives alike. This guy is no different.

He makes a cunning argument for voters who don’t want to vote for Hillary to move them to the Trump column even if doing so makes their skins crawl. Trump, for all his drawbacks will bring common sense back or risk impeachment and a sane Pence replacement presidency. Is it just me or is this Computer Science expert awfully glib wading into political prognostication?

Obama worthy of impeachment? Shades of Rush Limbaugh.

Clinton a sociopathic liar? Simple minded tosh.

Trump risk of impeachment? Grossly overestimated with Pence as our savior…….the guv who is shutting down voting registration efforts in Indiana…….I know. Its too early to get the big picture on that story but it fits right in with 30 GOP states efforts to suppress minority voters.

I do think the prof has a point about large swaths of the American blue collar public feeling trampled upon and blithely ignored by the elites. I don’t particularly blame them. Republicans, for their part, have been happy to title loan them to financial ruin and dilute measures to mitigate job losses when factories move overseas. Perhaps being from Yale your professor doesn’t notice that kind of minutia

On the other hand, so called “conservative” voices like Rush Limbaugh have been part of the problem. Rush and his ilk have done their best to turn the Republican party into a cartoon by primarying any moderate or “liberal” Republican out of the Party. One of the hallmarks of democracy, compromise, has been made to seem like prostitution. Where was this guy when all this was happening? Fussing with algorithms I guess. Maybe he is my “conservative” alter ego with his penchant for the apocalyptic. We are on the eve of destruction……..Trump’s that is. Not America’s.


Fascism lite?

Donald Trump is not a Jew hating Adolph Hitler and the United states in 2016 is not the desperate post-war Weimar Republic still reeling from the devastation of World War I. That said, I’ll mention the similarities I see with Hitler’s rise to power and the Trump Campaign which has led many Republican Newspapers to endorse Hillary Clinton:

Hitler once wrote a book, Mein Kampf, extolling his struggles. Trump once had an “autobiography” ghost written, The Art of the Deal, extolling his genius.

Mr. Hitler outlasted half a dozen brutal villains to become the top leader of the Nazi Party proving himself to be the most cunning of the lot. Mr. Trump managed to be the last man standing in a crowded field of wannabe Presidents by perfecting the put down and public humiliation.

Hitler was a theatrical master at spewing bombastic and simple-minded messages. Ditto Trump

Hitler lied and lied and lied. The fact checkers have run out of ink correcting Trump.

When Hitler finally “won” an election, later to be appointed Chancellor, it was with a plurality of only about 33% of the vote. As of this moment Donald Trump seems to have a support base of about 35% of likely voters depending on who decides to vote.

Hitler, was a master of pushing when he could and pulling back so as not to overstep himself in his rise to the top of the Nazi Party and Germany. After he became the Furher he exercised the same talent internationally by, for example, promising not to invade Czechoslovakia if England and France permitted Germany to swallow Slovakia. Later he invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia. All through the process of winning the nomination Trump alternately promised to be a loyal Republican then threatened to challenge it as a third party candidate. The Republicans, like the German authorities in Hitler’s time, succumbed to his duplicity. The misloyalty that won Trump the Republican nomination is being repaid with threats to undermine Republican candidates who do not show him the loyalty he feels he deserves -This despite having shown no loyalty to the Party of Lincoln.

Hitler avoided alcoholic beverages preferring to imbibe swooning audiences mesmerized with his theatrics and stage presence. Ditto Trump.

Hitler had some of his rivals killed. Trump hinted to gun right’s extremists that one of them might take out his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Once Chancellor, Hitler was able to censor all critics. Trump wants to change the libel laws as President so that he can more easily win defamation suits against his critics.

Hitler made much of his enthusiasm for Dictator, Benito Mussolini. Trump makes much of his enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin.

Adolph Hitler used apocalyptic language to blame all of Germany’s ills on Jews suggesting that their removal was the only solution to Germany’s problems. Trump has done the same pointing to illegal aliens and refugees from war. But apparently there is an even more dangerous threat. Faced with allegations of sexual misdeeds Trump is now blaming the establishment and the media in the most apocalyptic terms accusing them of rigging the system and conspiring against him and the United States.

In Germany, the large sensible middle class and intelligentsia consoled themselves that such a refined nation as Germany might have to endure Adolph Hitler for a spell but that everything would sort itself out eventually. In America………………………..

Loren Martell explains all…..thank goodness!

I told you Loren was having a hard time giving up his watch of the Duluth School Board. He’s back this week with a review of Monday’s two school board meetings. I linked to the video in this post and the views are up to 125. That’s 120 more people than sat in the audience.

Its gratifying to me to read what I said extemporaneously at that meeting. I outlined some pretty complicated shenanigans that I hope can be followed in print and Loren dutifully captured a portion of my much longer discourse with some additions to make references of mine more clear. It will test your comprehension to see if you can follow my run on and on sentences. BTW – I italicize Loren’s clarifications and put three examples I mentioned behind parentheses with numerals (1), (2), (3):

Member Welty’s public speech during the HR meeting outlined the concerns the minority have about the heavy-handedness of the majority Board members and administration:

“I told the Superintendent a year ago about how my first two years (on the Board) were just awful. And while this year has been an improvement, I still get lots of surprises. And perhaps this is not the Superintendent’s fault, but for instance, (1) today, after abiding by the policy that we, as a Board, passed earlier in the year–that three Board members could add something to the agenda– (Policy 203.5, which states: “Upon written request of three Board members, delivered to the Chair no later than the Friday before an agenda-setting session, an item will be placed on the agenda…) I find that there is a resolution that defies all logic. (A resolution) that apparently gives the four-person majority the chance to prevent us from putting something on the agenda. Now, it would be my observation that something like that would be a red flag, and somebody who is good at working with people…might be able to talk somebody–like our Chair–out of that kind of foolishness. (2) Getting a contract, without any heads-up; that is eight months premature; is foolishness. (3) Having four–million dollar and multi-million dollar offers for the sale of buildings causing us all kinds of difficulties–and having (those offers) hidden from the minority, and in fact, as the Chair said: (hidden from) all six of the rest of us on the Board, is not the kind of transparency that I think a Superintendent would want to encourage if he wanted to have a school board that was a unified group of people.”

There is, of course, much more.

The latest on the Timberjay

A friend from Northern Minnesota sent me a link to the Timberjay Newspaper’s story about the court decision likely to be handed down on the lawsuit brought against it by its competitors and minority owners. The plaintiff’s lawyers sounds inept.

That reminded me that I’ve been waiting to link to the Zenith City New’s account of the suit that does justice to the primary issues in a pretty short space. I recommend it.

I am voting for Dylan

No, I’m not talking about local Duluth Boy, Bob, now of Nobel Prize fame. I’m talking about Dylan Raddant the Republican candidate challenging DFL Representative Jen Schultz.

I met Dylan for a cup of coffee and a talk in June after I read about her. (I just corrected that from “him” to “her.”) I read about Dylan’s candidacy in May. The DNT story made clear that Dylan was “transitioning from male to female.” That story had some predictable sentences that went along with the surprising candidacy. Dylan explained that “she would bring a new and valuable point of view the the Legislature.” Furthermore, “Raddant aims to dispel the notion that the Republican party is somewhow exclusionary” and that “I want to bring this party into the 21st century in terms of social progress.”

Of course, when we spoke, I brought my very much excluded self to the table as a RINO kicked out because I wouldn’t shuck off my social liberalism. I don’t think I pledged my vote to Dylan at that first meeting but I gave him a contribution. I pointed out that he is very much at odds with his new party on an issue of particular interest to her – transgender bathrooms. I noted that it was Democrats supporting this and Dylan was painfully aware of just how much needs to be done to drag the GOP into the social mainstream of the 21st Century.

PLEASE NOTE, my use of the pronoun “him” in the last sentence with “her” following it. I’m in transition too. Dylan is taller than me and her name is sufficiently masculine and her transition sufficiently neutral enough that I too am caught between pronouns.

Dylan is only about 21 and comes from a less political background than I did at the same age. She’s also about five years younger than I was when I first ran for the state legislature in 1976. Her district has had Republican representatives in the past. I once challenged Jen’s predecessor Thomas Huntly for the position back in 2002 in my last campaign as a Republican. It was after that that I hung up my Republican spurs and began attending DFL conventions through four elections. Now I’m a man without a party.

If Trump sufficiently pummels the Party I might go back to it and wander around it like my Dad wandered around Hiroshima a month or two after the atom bomb was dropped on it. Its the “Party of Lincoln” damn it and its a sorry day that its leaders for the past couple decades have paid their founder so little heed. Hell, they crapped all over Reagan too and his “big tent.” With old RINO’s like me and a couple gender fluid representatives maybe we could turn it back to the center and take it away from Teddy Roosevelt’s buggaboo, the “lunitic fringe.” TR put that much better than Hillary did with her “basket of deplorables.” Although lumping Rush, Limbaugh and David Duke together in that category is OK by me.

The DNT, not surprisingly, endorsed Jen Schultz for reelection. She’s not a bad egg but I’m not impressed with the parade of benign and interchangeable letters to the editor sent in to the Editorial pages in her behalf. She will win and win handily. I bear her no ill will although she didn’t bend over as far backwards as Rep. Simonson did when Art Johnston and I brought her a proposal to kill the dumbass state law that gives a school board (and only a school board) the right to kick off a duly elected Board member they don’t want to put up with.

I’m afraid that Jen is the conformist candidate. Dylan, on the other hand, is about as much of a nonconformist as any of us tired with the status quo could hope to see elected to the legislature…… matter how green behind the ears he may be. Oh, and his religiously conservative family is not keen on his particular brand of nonconformism. Oh, and some of Duluth’s conservative Republican poobahs have been supportive of Dylan’s political exertions. Maybe the GOP will let ole Honest Abe back in the party after a good thrashing. Abe had a funny eye that is attributed to his having a mule kick him in the head. It didn’t stop him and the party could only benefit from one now. I hope its good and hard.

Where my Grandfather shed his blood in the fight to save Democracy

I set this painting easle up to display the 1938 US Battle Monuments Commission map of the sector where my Grandfather earned his Congressional Medal of Honor. Its one of the many pieces of documentation I’ve collected over the years that attach to my Grandfather Robb’s life. This year I’ve collected a lot more courtesy of Dr. Jeffry Sammons who reasearched that history for a speech earlier this year at the Kansas City WW 1 Museum.

I am having a hard time not paying waaay too much attention to the Presidential Campaign so that I “bark at the moon” as my Buddy would describe it in the blog. Its not to change anyone else’s mind but to leave a little record of how I feel about this election. Doing so is interferring with my attention to the material on my Grandfatehr which I finally have put together in a single location resting on the floor behind me in my office.

I’ve also directed my attention this week to a couple of school board meetings. At yesterday’s Education Committee meeting I could barely croak out my questions as I was overcome with a nasty chest cold. Chapperoning my Grandson’s trip to a first grade field trip to a farm probably didn’t help. No church choir practice for me tonight…….croak.

Oh, and yesterday a reader sent me instructions on how to embed a youtube video at a particular location: Here is where I began to croak:

More Fox balance

My Brother looks at Fox News just to monitor how unbalanced it is. He tells me it is overloaded with anti-Hillary news while anti-Trump news is often missing. I don’t watch it to know if this is true.

A couple days ago a Chinese American professional we depend upon railed about this video that lampooned Fox News’s treatment of Chinese residents of a “Chinatown.” He was so offended he sent it to dozens of his clients and I asked him to send it to me. WARNING. It contains some rude expletives of derision aimed at Fox’s racism.

A couple posts ago I embedded links to two stories about black cops that I recently heard on NPR. Republicans in Congress often target NPR to deny it federal funding. They prefer Fox News. Its pure private sector you know.

Just because some Trump critics may be hypocrites…

… isn’t a good reason to deny Hillary Clinton my vote.

Lest anyone think I live by a double standard my Buddy sent me this curt dismissal of the outrage over Trump’s randy sex talk expressed by Hillary Clinton’s supporters.

If you don’t read it suffice it to say that the author points out a lot of crude rap lyrics by musicians who are clearly on the Clinton bandwagon. She asks why does the left lionize the rap artists rather than condemn them? That’s a fair question.

But as I wrote back to my Buddy the piece does not defend Trump. Rather it lumps him in with some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters who, thankfully, are not running for President. Then it lashes society in general for hiding behind Victorian values while living hypocritically by the same kind of values found oozing out of the Trump tapes.

Trump’s self defense reminds me of children who whine to their parents that other kids get away with stuff and aren’t punished. It fits in with his 4th grade word usage.

So we are left to ponder if Trump’s real complaint is that Hillary was a lax parent or, worse yet, someone who took vengeance on her husband’s targets. My recollection going back thirty years is that her role has been greatly overblown by Trump. This short CNN piece seems to confirm my recollection: Reality Check: Did Hillary Clinton attack her husband’s accusers?

And by the way. I personally have nothing but contempt for Donald Trump. His recordings with Billy Bush merely confirmed what I suspected. I had a lot of contempt for the actions of friends of mine toward women when I was in college 50 years ago. If they were running for President now and I thought they hadn’t changed I’d likely be outing them.

There are plenty of other reasons not to vote for Trump besides his misogny. Perhaps the biggest is what Donald Trump probably thinks about the poor schmoes who lost their jobs when he and his ilk moved factories out of the United States – that they are “losers.”

There are plenty of reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton that vastly outweigh her crime of sticking by her husband despite his dalliances. One of them is this: That she represents a political party that attempted compromise to manage the nation while the other Party did its best to prevent President Obama from having any successes.

I think it is possible that if the Republican party reaps what it has sown and loses both houses of Congress as well as the Presidency in 2016 the American public will fall in love for a generation with a functioning government and the party that runs it.

Black police – then and now

These two recent NPR stories on the experiences of black police are worth noting. Here’s Today’s story about a black police woman in Nashua New Hampshire. She thinks of her two year old black son getting shot by a cop while her white step daughter asks how she can to out to work after Dallas when she could be shot by a fellow black for being a police officer.

Then there was this interview in the 1970’s by Chicago’s Studs Turkel of one of Chicago’s few black policemen and what he dealt with in a hostile white police force. I am not sure it in this segment but afterward he was interviewed in 2016 and described finding human feces in his police locker.

“All animals are equal”

Today’s DNT story about our discussion of extending the Superintendent’s contract during the Human Resource Committee is not inaccurate. On the other hand it fails to convey the full mood at the meeting and/or the comments made in our long discussion. The Discussion – absent two of the Board members who were very much on my mind, Chair Harala and Clerk Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, went so long that the representative of Many Rivers Montessori who waited patiently for an hour and a half had to leave before we had a chance to invite him to speak to us or to give him the cold shoulder.

I’m sure he got an earful. Art Johnston told me the head of the Montessori, Mr. Niedermier, has a background as a mediator.

So far only 35 folks have bothered to peek at our 2 and a half hour video. Scanning through the meeting to report the point at which I gave my ten minute peroration I could see the camera looking down on me captured a long period a deep reflection. I tuned out everything but the Board conversation and tried to think about what I could add to a conversation that didn’t really reflect what I was thinking. There are times when the elephant in the room can no longer be ignored and it took me ten minutes to give birth to the darned pachyderm. If you don’t have the patience to listen I can sum it up now simply.

In the Orwell novel I read for a ninth grade class, Animal Farm, there is a famous quote. “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
Art, Alanna and I are unequal animals in our farm. Information seems to be shared by the majority that the three of us have to find out through the grapevine often much later. The Three River’s offer to buy one of our empty buildings is just the latest example. The response by the majority to our complaints is to circumvent our inquiries. Today’s meeting was an example of the circumvention – Chair Harala directed Administration to create a resolution that would violate the policy which allows three Board members to place a topic on our agenda – in this case a presentation by Many Rivers.

Unlike the other animals on Orwell’s farm three of us are not willing to sit by and be rolled over by a majority. That has been the source of much conflict since I rejoined the Board almost three years ago. The question I can not answer is what is the role of our Superintendent in this process. Mr. Gronseth has suggested to me that he has no power or authority to countermand or influence our chairperson and the majority that elected them to be more open or fairminded. None of that contemplation of mine makes it into Jana Hollingsworth’s story.

You may not have to endure watching the video to capture the sense of the meeting. Loren Martell sat through the entire two and a half hours. He can’t seem to give the doggonned school board a rest despite an attempt earlier to divorce himself from his uncompensated labors to tell our sorry saga. If he writes another Duluth Reader column it probably won’t show up this Friday but the the following. I’m sure it will be gloomily entertaining.

When I was elected chair of the Board over George Balach in January of 1998 Dr. Balach told someone that I was no different than any other Board member. He explained that I only had one vote. The same could be said for the more recent generation of Board Chairs…….or at least it ought to be said of them.

ISD 709’s youtube presence

Since Art, Alanna and I succeeded in getting the School Board to record and livestream the committee meeting of the School Board they are appearing live on youtube. At least that is my understanding.

Board members often tell the public after the fact at our School Board meetings the following week that this is where we hash out all of our School Board agenda items.

This afternoon’s Human Resources and Business Committee may be particularly full. Alanna, Art and I asked to have the proposal of Many Rivers Academy added to our agenda and to be discussed with Many River’s representatives tonight. Instead a resolution was offered that would allow a majority of the School Board to prevent the visit or discussion from taking place. Somehow not following our school policy doesn’t seem entirely sporting.

Also we have been sent a contract with the Superintendent that has apparently been negotiated (by someone) and is being presented to us eight months ahead of schedule. It could be an interesting coupla meetings. Watch them at 4:15 here:

If you watch any of it let me know………I was under the impression we broadcast this on television’s channel 187.

Its tough to be a minorty kid in ISD 709

Today’s unexpected DNT story about the disparity in our treatment of white and black kids was very important. The graph showed that we have made considerable strides in bringing down out of school suspensions of black students but we’ve just had an uptick in this year of Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.

I’m reminded of a black resident who once said he was deeply appreciative of a town like Duluth that set up the memorial to our three innocent lynching victims in 1920. In recent months he’s been coming to the Board to tell us we are failing to rescue minority children from harm. This story makes it clear he has good reason to have lost heart.

That’s enough posting for tonight. I want to get another page of Isaiah read before eleven.


I’ve got half a dozen emails regarding the School Board and from my Buddy. Having just watched the second Presidential debate of 2016 I’m too tired to look at them. I did want to comment on the debate, however.

Donald Trump having thrown a bomb into the Republican Party probably stopped the damage to his campaign tonight. He said nothing to win new voters tonight but said enough of the same old, same old, to reassure his true believers. He’ll get at least 45 percent of the vote and maybe more but he’ll get very few of the 2 to 4 percent of the vote that has been truly undecided. He has thirty days to hope more open mike moments don’t bubble up. Meanwhile this episode has unleashed a torrent of Facebook accounts by women who have suffered from their own insufferable Donald Trump types. I expect that will have lasting positive results.

Otherwise my thoughts about Donald Trump haven’t changed much. I still hold by this impression from the first debate.

The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."