And this morning I also interviewed for thirty minutes with the Editorial Board of the Duluth News Tribune. Of five members only two were present to grill me. One stepped down today and the other two were out of town.
My eight loyal readers have often read in my posts a claim that I am more interested in writing a book than getting elected. I still think that’s true. My recent blogging quiescence began with a month of intensive final organizing of materials related background research. I was partly driven by the death of my principal eye witness, Don Boyd. As Don grew weaker I worked, not on writing, but on making sure ever last scrap of information he provided me would be instantly retrievable. I’ve pretty well accomplished that task.
Don’s passing also gave me a new sense of freedom. For the past four of six years I kept telling Don that I wasn’t sure I could finish the book before he died. It turned out to be true. Still as Don grew more infirm over the past year I made some furious attempts to crank out random selections to the book. All the “bookin it” postsin LIncolndemocrat are a reflection of that mania.
Over time it became apparent to me that to do the book justice I had to start at the beginning and move on. In the last two weeks of Don Boyd’s life I figured out what the first chapter had to be and even began it. I also have a pretty well worked out chapter plan for everything that follows. Now I need to do some interviews.
Thursday and Friday I’ll go down to the Twin Cities to do just that. Claudia’s going. She will visit museums. I will research. We have a good reason to want to be out of town. Our house sounds like the internal workings of a factory as workment undo the damage I did thirteen years ago. More on that in the next post.
After I finished putting all of Don Boyd’s information in order (including 500 or so pages of my own hand written notes) I decided to finish organizing my house. I’ve been tidying up nearly forty years worth of debris from my married life for the past ten years beginning shortly before I quit the School Board and met Don Boyd. This clean up was badly sidetracked by my war with the Duluth School Board during the dark days of the Red Plan and other personal family crises but those are past me now.
I do have one corner of my attic crammed with five or six tubs of Red Plan records that I can’t part with yet in case I’d like to write a book about the war. I also have a file cabinet with a lot of paper left over from my school board days. That will be easier to throw away when I get around to it. Even so, I managed to get my entire house put into good order during the recent blog lite hiatus.
I did still have one organizational weak point our second home where my grandson’s live. I maintain a second workshop for house repair. My last week of organizational mania at my house was directed at my workshop. For the past couple years it was the one room I refused to clean. It had become useless as a workshop. If I needed a screwdriver to tighten up the cover of an electic outlet it took me ten minutes to wade through the tiny workshops debris to reach one on the peg board. The workshop was my id. It had become a jungle. It’s confusion made every home improvement task a nightmare and probably doubled the time it took me to do home maintenance. No more. Over a week’s time I cleaned it and organized it and its better than its been at any time for the past ten years. I even gave the work bench a fresh coat of paint.
I was almost ready to begin by book research again until I decided to fix my front steps. The tumult that sprang from that project drove my wife and I over to our daughter’s house where helping her organize her home has proven much more tranquil than staying in our home. Tomorrow will be the third day of our escape from our house. I’ve almost gotten my second workroom as organized as my first. Claudia has worked wonders with my daughter’s closets. Goodwill will get another visit from us this afternoon.
Tomorrow we will escape out house yet again. Now its time to explain the reason we need to escape.
Been up for an hour thinking random thoughts. Time for a little stream of conscience blogging, perhaps to make up for so little blogging for the past few weeks. I’m a potential candidate for Congress for goodness sakes!
Blogging is a bit of an addiction. I’ve had several other episodes of non communication. Maybe they were bouts of cold turkey. Maybe they were bouts of me forcing myself to concentrate on other important tasks at the expense of my addiction. Well, tonight – this morning – I feel like rewarding my eight loyal readers with something fresh. I may not write every day but I usually check my stats just to see if my eight still show up and they always do.
So, for my only Congressional stream of conscience thought here’s my quick reaction to the lopsided DFL endorsement of Rick Nolan. Wow! I had no idea the other candidates were so weak.
That news is several days old. I seem to recall that 20 % of the delegates at the Saturday convention voted not to endorse anyone. That’s a troubling sign for Nolan. Why didn’t they? These are the hard core DFLers who are anxious to remove Chip Cravaack. What kept them from giving someone their vote? Maybe its a modern day malady like all those Republicans who can’t get on board with Mitt Romney. Call it unenthusiasticitis.
Nolan who I’ve described as a Humphrey-like spectre from the past left Congress after only four terms back in the 1980’s. Its so long ago I can’t recall the details. One of the dozen comments about the DNT news story on the endorsement recalled something vague about Nolan having gotten some bad press for being something of a male swashbuckler. (that’s my dramatic interpretation of the somewhat more vague comment) If there is anything to it I’m sure it will be rehashed during the summer by some superpac.
I paid more attention back in the 1980’s to my old Mankato-area Congressman, tom Hagadorn. He cheated on his wife as I recall. His campaign manager, Vin Weber, took over for him. I knew Vin from my College Republican days. Vin told me he was allergic to marijuana. Today he’s a top level GOP strategist and sometime media talking head.
I’d say the DFL’s non-existant support for other candidates was the most telling. Tarryl Clark got zip and Jeff Anderson got 10%. I don’t see how either of them can expect to pull off a primary win if the folks who saw them up close and personal won’t support them.
If they decide to make it a three-way despite their poor showing I’ll be far more inclined to join them. It would be fun to see if I could pull more votes out of Duluth than Jeff without bothering to campaign.
If my eight loyal readers didn’t anticipate this I’ll make it clear. My book is not going to be finished this year. I concluded over a month ago that to do it justice it would take a minimum of two more years. That’s on top of six off and on years of researching it. That means it won’t be a practical way for me to solicit contributions for my campaign for Congress.
I still haven’t decided for sure whether to file. Goodness knows I have my doubts that Cravaack can be defeated by the three announced DFLers. This ain’t Jim Oberstar’s old District and none of them are Jim Oberstar and even Jim lost the support of the MCCL in his hour of need. If Cravaack’s challenger goes down to defeat and I finish my book in two years I can certainly use it to raise cash to run against Cravaack in 2014.
I recently read this article on the biographer I stand most in awe of, Robert Caro. He and his wife, an archivist, have essentially given their life over to reconstructing Lyndon Johnson’s life and retelling it in what was first supposed to be a three volume set. I’ve been waiting for the fourth and final volume for ten years. In fact, I need it for my own book to put Hubert Humphrey in better context. It turns out that Caro is going to have to turn his life’s work into a five volume set if he lives long enough to complete it. The new volume four may be her this summer or fall. I may be another decade older before the last one is finished.
It reminds me of the time I visited Texas and we paid a call on LBJ’s old home in 2006 as I was beginning to research my own history. Lady Bird was still living there and she was sitting out front as our tour bus drove by. One of the National Park Rangers at the site told me that Caro had almost died after finishing the third volume and the Ranger was afraid he’d not get to read the continuing saga if Caro didn’t take better care of himself.
Lady Bird stopped talking to Caro after he published this Pulitzer winning first volume. I’m afraid that the dozen or so remaining insiders to my story won’t be very eager to talk to me either. If not, the Newspapers and courtroom testimony will have to do.
When I was in high school or college I recall learning that FDR was criticized for causing a second rise of unemployment during the Depression in about 1938 when he began enforcing austerity measures because the GOP was criticizing him for his excessive spending.
You can see that dip clearly in this chart which overlays the 1930’s depression Era economy with today’s recession and an imaginary line which is the average of the 5 worst Post War recessions of First World nations.
We are not eight years into the current recession as FDR was when he stopped spending federal money. If Mitt Romney is elected he is promising to do what Roosevelt did. In other words he is promising to stop spending money which will almost certainly drive up unemployment…..that is if Mitt’s promises are worth the spit he expends on them.
More on the graph here.
I mean that!
Four hours ago I did something so reprehensible that I would have told you at almost any previous point in my life I would never do such a thing. I outed someone, maybe, sort of. After a good four hours sleep I don’t feel the least twinge of guilt but upon waking I knew I’d cast some dies that won’t easily be broken.
Before I get any further in a fancy rationalization let me say I have no way of knowing if Duluth City Councilor and DFL candidate for the 8th Congressional Seat in Minnesota is gay. I just know that every political junky I run into in Duluth seems to think he is. Apparently that’s because Jeff has not hidden this from anyone in his close personal inner circle.
So, rationalization number one. If this is true then Jeff hasn’t really been outed. I have certainly revealed a rumor that he has no doubt been hoping wouldn’t become a factor in his campaign – one he has probably been spending a couple years trying to figure out how to deal with should it emerge.
If its not true that just makes me an idiot for believing, or reporting, a rumor.
If it is true it just means I’ve hastened a process that would eventually have made headlines anyway. I’ve only accelerated the process.
Rationalization number two: I’ve always believed it better to get potentially unpleasant information out of the way as early as possible. I think that Jeff’s political future is better off letting this bit of news air sooner than later.
This is perhaps even more important for the entire Eighth District DFL. Frankly, if the rumors are true Jeff’s personal openness among friends was putting the entire machinery of the party at jeopardy. It takes a lot of effort to elect a candidate. Its not fair to ask a lot of folks to push ahead for a candidate who has kept something this significant semi cloaked. If Jeff had been utterly closeted, yes. But in this case it would be like telling someone you are partly pregnant. If you’re going to be half way out you might as well be out all the way.
Up until now I’ve only applied this let it all hang out modus operandi to my life story and my reputation. Since I’m the first person that I know of to broach the subject in a public space regarding someone else I feel that I must accept some consequences. Oh, I’ll get some serious flack. Outers always do and in my case I can’t even claim to be a “whistle-blower.” My previous interest in challenging for Congress makes this outing far too selfish an action. Therefore, I am going to suspend posting on Lincoln Democrat for the most part until November has come and gone. I won’t take off my campaign webpage. I might even file for Congress. What I will concentrate on is writing my book. This blog is too addictive and my serious writing can’t even begin to compete for my attention.
If I begin cranking out a book beyond the first few chapters I’ll be quite happy to have an online campaign to tout and advertise the book.
I have utterly purged myself of irritation at Jeff for being a standard issue, no-controversy politician. I may have just pushed him onto very thin ice. I will be fascinated to see how he deals with this. I’ve always been a fan of the old Chinese character for “crisis.” Its symbol is made up of two other characters one for “danger” and the other “opportunity.”
Jeff is a much more relevant sounding speaker than Rick Nolan. He’s a vet and had to live under “don’t ask don’t tell.” Since that godawful rule has been set aside I see no reason for an open politician to enforce it in his personal life even if he has chosen a political one.
The rural Eighth District is one of the more likely parts of the state to vote for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to hetersexual couples but I can also imagine those same voters electing, however narrowly, a good candidate for Congress who just happens to be gay. I can’t see them voting for a candidate who lurks in the shadows and by continuing to hide in the dark Jeff was doing his campaign little good. He was simply sitting on a time bomb. Now I’ve set it off for Jeff.
Good luck Jeff. If you are gay you’ve got some excellent role models out there to emulate. Maybe even my personal favorite political hero who’s name I’ve appended to the blog. I still don’t think Abe was gay but I have to admit its not a settled question.
This is a belated attempt to finish this post. I was only two sentences into it when the charging system of my computer failed. Let’s see what I can recall:
I went to the DECC (Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center) only to discover that I wasn’t needed. So I hopped in the car and drove over to Duluth’s new East High School where the DFL Senate Convention was being held. I spent an hour and half there. Two things vied for my attention. The new school that many have oohed and ahhed over. As an opponant of the Red Plan I was glad to see the “new” school for myself. Considering the cracker box size of the lot of land I’d have to say that the impression upon entering was pleasing enough. That’s a modest compliment considering the current fate of the school program. I was told that engineers could squeeze it all in to the small space. That was never in doubt. That’s what engineers do. Whether it should have been attempted is quite another question. Since the public never had a chance to weigh in on the decision with a referendum it remains to be seen how the new East High will play in twenty years. Perhaps no better than the short lived Metrodome for the Minnesota Vikings.
As for the convention, I did not seek the DFL nomination. It would not have been given me. I merely wanted to make my presence known.
Ironically, most of the recently endorsed DFL candidates for the Duluth City Council have sided with our popular Mayor Ness and allowed him to circumvent the Duluth Civil Service Commission. As a result the local DFL leaders are having a conniption over their former favorites. So much for the DFL getting what they want from their endorsees. Continue reading
To prevent them, our Senator David Durenberger and a host of others included, from introducing a law like the one President Obama got passed.
They will pass laws forcing a woman to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan but they’ll let her child die without insurance after it is born. I guess that’s their idea of God’s will.
…is going to join the President in destroying the Constitution when they rule on Mitt Romney’s brainchild of mandated health insurance payments:
Wish I had this guy’s professional sound system……of course, it wouldn’t do anything for my voice.
Cringe worthy I know but I’ve lost so many elections I no longer suffer from embarrassment. Hope the Duluth DFL has a good Senate District convention Saturday.
I was elected a delegate to this Saturday’s DFL Senate District Convention. Unfortunately, I did not consult my calendar when Claudia asked me if I would help seat a number of disabled children who have been invited to watch the morning rehearsal of the Duluth Superior Symphony program.
As I’m not an official candidate despite my hot air on the blog and my new website its not all that critical that I show up. Word is getting out there. A friend told me a retired legislator asked if I was really running. After Tarryl Clark’s recent email I figure there is only one serious candidate for the DFL ticket – Rick Nolan. Too bad he sounds like a reprise of William Jennings Bryan. I wonder if he sings?
I keep collecting emails from the DFL candidates who want to challenge Chip Cravaack. I rarely read them. I’ll have time for that later. This one just caught my attention. Tarryl Clark is blaming Congress for shortchanging our local public schools. Other than their unfunded mandates for special education and the No Child Left Behind bureaucracy Congress has very little to do with the fiscal problems of the Duluth Schools. You would think a Minnesota legislator would know better. Evidently Ms. Clark doesn’t have a clue about the financing of public education. Either that or saying she will help save our local schools is a gross pander.
The simple fact is that our School Board in Duluth gambled big time. They decided to spend $5 million of its operational budget every year for bonds to build $315 million worth of new schools. They inked a deal with the banks to do this for the next twenty years. They gambled that the public would rejoice at the prospect of new brick and mortar forgive the theft of a building referendum and approve additional operational levies which would cover this deficit. They gambled and they lost. Our children lost.
Someday the public may dig deep into their pockets for our children’s sake. If so, Congresswoman Tarryl Clark will be able to take no credit for the rescue.
I just wanted to take a moment out from our end of the quarter fundraising push (you can contribute here) to make sure you saw what happened at the Duluth School Board last night.
The Board was forced to cut almost $4 million dollars from its budget, on top of all the previous cuts they’ve had to make! This means kids in Duluth will face larger class sizes, cuts to classroom technology, and fewer special education services.
Drastic cuts like these aren’t just happening here in Duluth, but across the region and around the country. Congress continues to break the promises that it has made to our kids, our schools, and our communities — the result is higher property taxes for you and me and districts struggling to find the resources to make sure all students recieve the educational opportunities to help them succeed.
Just last week I visited Piedmont Elementary in Duluth and saw the great work being done by the teachers and volunteers there. But they’re still facing growing class sizes and dwindling resources.
In order to secure the economic future of our region, we have to make sure that our schools are preparing all of our kids for success in the future. That means drastically reforming ‘No Child Left Behind’ to put parents and teachers in control of their kids’ education, expanding early childhood education to stop the achievement gap before it starts, and fully funding special education services.Â
I will bring my experience as a mom, a community volunteer and as a legislative leader working to strengthen our schools and educational opportunities for our kids – from early childhood through post-secondary education- to Washington.
I hope you’ll join me in this fight!
I haven’t included all the links in the email to help recipients make an easy online donation to candidate Clark. Sorry Tarryl.
…good morning welty4congress.
Yes, I know I joke around about using a congressional campaign to sell books. Its also meant to light a fire under me (to write – not campaign). Oh, and a viral campaign could upend all expectations with four dreary conventional candidates to choose from. It only costs a few dollars to file – cheap book advertising if you ask me.
And if any of the other candidates dared to allow me up on a stage with them they would be the moon to my sun.
Heck, I may even sing in future videos. Anything to keep my eight loyal readers coming back.
That’s my music folder on the left hand side between the two baritones in the Duluth Superior Symphony Chorus.
In the middle of the day I found a quick succession of items I didn’t want to forget to post. So I typed them up and sat on them for tonight’s posting. I’ll try to hold off till ten pm in future. I really do need my days for the serious work of writing and research.
For the past four days (nights) I’ve refrained from uploading posts until ten at night. As I expected its lowered the number of daily visitors but it has freed up my time which was the point of the experiment. I’m far too pooped out by this hour of the day to crank out a lot of new posts.
I’m reevaluating this tack at the moment. I’m not quite sure what the point of my running for Congress is. I am far more intent on getting a book written. The main issue for me is that I want it to be a book worthy of my skills as a story teller and the story being told. It seems highly unlikely that gutting it out in three months will allow me to accomplish this.
Maybe I could finish it unhurried over the course of two years and still sell it in a run against Chip Cravaack in two years time. That would require that he survive what will be a very tough campaign. I certainly want the GOP to lose the seat. I want that much more than I want Cravaack defeated.
Or maybe I could keep working on it and run for Congress but make no promises when it will be completed. Certainly a fluke election by me would set my book’s completion date back.
While I’m thinking about this I’ll just point new readers to my hastily constructed and written website welty4congress.com.
I regretted my promise even as I was making it. I stewed about it and came up with a compromise with myself. I’ll post after 10pm if I’ve been good. I have been attending to the book despite its having been a weekend with my grandchildren. I put three pages together on Saturday and 2 pages together today thereby finishing a rough draft for Chapter 1. I’m very pleased with it. I hope to have Chapter two whipped into good shape by Wednesday since I don’t have any planned tasks to work on. I begin it with six pages already completed and all my notes on the subject matter fully organized for quick review.
I’m debating posting bookin it posts with samples of text. Let me know what you think with an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just wrote that I’d gotten so distracted that I’d forgotten how I started my book three weeks ago. At the time, I was hell bent for leather to crank the whole first chapter out but life got in the way. Yesterday I finally had a chance to resume but I was suffering from fear of getting started again because the thread had broken off after I set the book aside. Well, late in the day I read what I’d left off with and was very pleased.
As a last post until I’ve got at least 75 more pages done I’ll show you what I cranked out three weeks ago. It will get better. Here’s the usual caveat.
Chapter 1 October, 19, 1977
“I never had so much as a freaking speeding ticket.” Don Boyd
On Thursday Don Boyd would be one million dollars richer. He would ink the deal with his old employer Reserve Mining to sell them the rock and gravel they would require to put an end to a long running environmental controversy. Continue reading
I went to bed wide awake and that never works. As I lay too caffeinated to sleep it occurred to me what I had to do. I had to stop blogging for a bit to work exclusively on my book. I regard writing it as far more important than blogging or running for Congress. Readers will recall that I joked some weeks ago that my running for Congress might only be a means of hawking my book. The truth is it is a means to hawk my book. However it is not “only” a means to hawk my book.
The fact of the matter is that I’ve wanted to be in Congress for most of my adult lifetime. That ambition has paled in recent years. I’m 61. I’ve planned a writing career for myself late in life. My grandsons and children are close by. Congress is a snake-pit of vanity and money raising. Who needs that?……. Apparently I do. Or at least I need the chase.
But the chase and the blogging are interfering with my book writing at the moment. Three weeks ago I had an epiphany. After a dozen false starts I realized just how to begin my book. I dashed out the first two and a half pages and then got mired in distractions. Ten days with the grandsons I love. First a mini vacation followed by a week of sick days followed by a Leap Day blizzard and snowdays off of daycare with them. That was followed by my rushing around for another five days shoveling snow and building the one shot I would have this winter at a snow sculpture. I’ve done at least one every year for a quarter century thanks to my daughter getting me started when she was starting first grade. Besides, the sculpture would be a fun ironic statement about my lot in life. Don Quixote the man who tilts at windmills was me – Harry Welty perennial candidate.
Then I needed a week to figure out my website software and time to buy a domain name and set up an at least rudimentary website. As I did all this the epiphany grew dim. I even forgot what I’d written.
To top it off I felt a pang of guilt about not attending to the writing. I mentioned a few days ago that I finally had that conversation with my wife and suggested it would be worthy of a post. I’ll make it very brief. Claudia is not impressed with my stab at a Congressional run. As she told me I’ve never heeded her advice before to resist running for office. That’s true. I guess its my one vice and I’m too selfish not to run no matter how much it disrupts our life. I was cursed with a spouse who hates politics but blessed with one who has made the best of my obsession.
It was her comment to me about my betraying a friends trust that was harder to take. The friend, Don Boyd, is the subject of my book. He’s had a tough bout of illness recently. He’s in his eighties. I’ve told him several times in recent years that I couldn’t guarantee that I’d finish the book about him before he moved on to his great reward. He’s seen me plunge into several politial forays over the six years I’ve fussed with his book and each foray distracted me from the book. I don’t owe him anything. But the story about him is just damn interesting. He was screwed royally by a lot of powerful people and I don’t want to be the last one to let him down.
I’m going to abandon the blog for a while to get the book written or at least started but not just for my friend. I really think his story is so fascinating that I can used it to pay for a serious congressional campaign. As this page in my campaign website points out I first conceived the idea of using the proceeds from selling a book for political purposes twenty years ago. Book sales seem clean and the idea of grubbing for donations really sticks in my craw. I’m not quite ready to become a political prostitute.
There is no reason that I have to keep blogging to keep interest in my campaign going. There are only a couple thousand folks visiting every month. If I start selling a completed book or one that is close to completion I’ll be able to build a campaign around it. By itself my blog isn’t that compelling. As I lay in bed the old phrase from our Revolutionary War kept drumming in my head, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.” Well the whites of the other congressional candidate’s eyes won’t really be visible until about a month out from the primary election in September. That gives me March through July to crank out 300 pages. Hopefully it will be even less although I’m sure I could fill twice that many pages easily.
I sort of expect that I may find out tomorrow that I just set a record for the number of people who visited my site in a day. I really hate going on vacation when sales are up but I need that book. My friend needs that book. My campaign needs that book.
Some readers may have noticed that I’ve been choosing words or phrases for the word search that relate to some thought or post for the day. This will be no exception but it was hard finding a word that fit the circumstances. I plan on taking a short leave from the blog to concentrate on my damned book. The word retreat came to mind but it is more often used to suggest running away from enemies. I checked seclusion and solitude but there were no previous usages of them in the blog and they didn’t quite fit. “leave of absence” comes closer, vacation is all wrong. Sabbatical is closer.
I’ve chosen meditation as my last word search for the next month or two. I won’t be meditating so much as writing. I do need to end some distractions and the blog is the biggest distraction of all. I’m afraid I’m addicted to it and it makes tackling my book difficult.