I am especially fond of the early Charles Schultz Peanuts cartoons.
Here is his first introducing Charlie Brown:
And here is a delightful retrospective wink with a modern twist.
I am especially fond of the early Charles Schultz Peanuts cartoons.
Here is his first introducing Charlie Brown:
And here is a delightful retrospective wink with a modern twist.
There is an asinine level of outrage on the American right over some female Congresswomen who have dared to tweak cherished tropes. For years Republicans have accused anyone of faulting Israel over the abandoned peace talks of being an anti-Semite. Or, to be fair, maybe this began with the cheerleaders of AIPAC. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, following the President down the Twitter hole recently tweeted. “Its all about the Benjamins, baby.” I guess that since Benjamin (like about 40 percent of all American names) has a Jewish origin it was said by her critics that she was using a Jewish trope. Really, Ben Franklin was about as far as you can get from Jewish. Of course, suggesting that Republicans craved Jewish money may have had more resonance and I’ll be the first to admit that Jewish bankers have been pilloried in Europe all the way back to the middle ages as occupations involving usury (charging interest for borrowing money) were shunned by Christians. Often this was a wonderful charge to bring when a King decided he didn’t want to pay the bankers back. But back to Ilhan…
If this was part of her charge the only part that was correct is that politicians fund raise mindlessly. In recent decades the political machines expect them (the non-multimillionaires) to prove their worth by spending 30 hours a week like pimpled high school drop outs grubbing for money on the phone. But if suggesting that the money that funds American politics is driven by the 1 percent of Americans who are Jewish Ilhan was dead wrong. AIPAC, Soros and Bloomberg wield lots of money but not enough to overcome the PACs that fund Congressional campaigns.
The real complaint against AOC and Ilhan is that they are full of piss and vinegar. That line from Ilhan about the ” …Benjamins Baby.” That is so sassy and hip. It could have come from Donald Trump who has gone deeper into the gutter than Ilhan by saying the Nazi imitating torch bearers of Charlottesville were full of “fine people.”
I like a little piss and vinegar in my candidates. Piss and vinegar is a reaction to stuff shirts who often seemed to be above the average person’s travails. As much a I detest Donald Trump you have to give him credit for finding the P and V that a lot of Republican voters were desperately looking for. Of course, the original Republican full of Piss and Vinegar was the man Donald Trump called a loser for getting shot down over Vietnam and getting caught. What Trump was really saying was that McCain was a sucker for being a patriot when he could have claimed to have a bone spur and gotten out of the war.
The problem with Trump is that he is also full of shit which reminds me of the crass joke I thought was really funny when I was 13.
There were three scientists who wanted to see how long a pig could go without pooping. So, they put a cork in the pig’s butt and waited. The pig swelled up and swelled up until he almost didn’t fit in the laboratory any more. Being prudent scientists they trained a monkey to remove corks from various objects and when it was sufficiently adept they stood back as far as they could from the pig and set the monkey loose.
Weeks later the three scientists woke in the hospital and began comparing notes. “The last thing I remember is buckets and buckets of poop,” said the first. The last thing I remember said the second one was oceans and oceans of piss,” said the second. “All I can remember,” said the third, “is that poor monkey trying to put the cork back in.”
I’m no longer in junior high and as proof I’ll note something that I missed when I heard that joke 57 years ago. How the heck did piss get past that particular cork into the punch line?
I just caught a whiff of a challenge to Donald Trump in 2020 that greatly appealed to me. Skimming a couple of news stories and headlines on the Internet it appears that one of my my last remaining Republican heroes, William Weld, will be challenging Donald Trump. I just found a twitterfeed (I think that’s what it was) and donated $100.00 to his campaign. If he ends up running as a third party candidate I’ll wish him well but support a Democrat instead. But as a fellow who recently forced myself back into the GOP as a anti-Putin candidate for Congress I will be happy to help Bill Weld.
He’s been out of circulation for years. He’s a year older than Trump but he’ll have my support and unlike Trump he’s not taking a sub lethal dose of Rosuvastatin. I’ve mentioned Weld a few times on the blog. I’m sure I only had good things to say about him. Look for yourself.
A perfect accompaniment to my recent Reader Column:
Pretty good Nixon impression too: “Well I met your guy…” replay it and listen close
What prompted my upcoming Reader column is a recent spate of Facebook debating I’ve found myself taking part in. On the one hand it got me typing up my thoughts rather than waking up to them in nightmares. For instance, after cranking out 1100 words for the Reader last night I slept seven solid hours. That’s rare for me.
Among the debates have been one with a friend of a half second cousin who dearly loves folks who hate the President she voted for. After corresponding with her extensively I asked if she would mind if I posted part of our conversations without mentioning her name. She demurred. Still, it was good to have someone take over for my now deceased “Buddy” with whom I can no longer fuss.
Then there have been old-time DFLers and newbie Bernie worshipers and Women’s Marcher types arguing over the recent DFL endorsement and primary election going on to Duluth’s south. I sympathize with both sides in a fight that is not mine. But I worry it is a sign that Democrats will go into the election of 2020 divided against each other. I saw what happened last time and tried to remind the DFLer’s of this.
Then an old college buddy began sending out posters of villains who are crossing our borders. He was joined by his Obama hating friends who who are mad at Tump haters. I couldn’t resist tossing in a dollar’s worth of two cent replies. However, all these debates remind me that a society devoted to argument rather than solutions, mutually if reluctantly agreed upon, is heading up merde creek without a paddle.
Its too much work to copy the back and forth down although I’m pleased with my ripostes. I will give you the background of one of many discussions to set up the one reply I sent out.
My old college chum was going on about the mass leaker Edward Snowden who skipped town and settled in Russia. He mentioned a former secret service agent who had guarded both George W Bush and Obama and has been busy pedaling the allegation that Obama chased him away because he had dirt on Obama. This fellow Daniel Boingo Boingo quit the Service to run for the US Senate while imitating Rush Limbaugh as a radio talk show host. Conspiracy buffs can make lots of money this way kinda like get-rich TV Preachers. Boingo’s also been on Fox’s Hannity and Info Wars. My old friend wrote something about Obama laundering millions of dollars through Switzerland to help terrorists in Iran or something like that. I guess Snowden had made this all public and Obama wanted to shut him up. It sounded vaguely familiar and not unlike the Info Wars’ hooey that prompted a young man from one of the Carolina’s to shoot up a Washington DC Pizza Joint said to have been protecting Hillary Clinton’s pedophile friends.
Anywhoo: After explaining I wasn’t a “Deep State kind of guy” I sent this final riposte:
OK. I Googled Snowden. This comes from WAPO so you can be assured it isn’t as trustworthy as Info Wars. Still, you must take into account that deluded people like me invest a great deal of faith in the rag that exposed Nixon’s treachery.
I really have to ration my Facebook debate time. I could spend the next thirty years in a very Deep State rabbit hole.
And by the way. The only reason a person would wear a hat saying “Make America Great Again” is because they don’t think America is great now. I can’t help but wonder if what they really think is that America is crappy.
I also wonder what their crusade has accomplished to make America greater over the last two years. Health care? Economic security? Military security? Good feelings? Political fairness? World confidence?
This will be brief and very incomplete. Its really meant as an introduction to the next two posts.
Among the plethora of Trump related mini-exposes lately have been a couple about Trump’s past working with the “Russian Mafia.” Russians began settling in large numbers in New York at about the time the Berlin Wall fell and were getting acquainted with the dark side of the American economy. Claudia and I stayed near the Brooklyn Bridge the year before 9-11 to see our daughter’s East High School Choir preform in the Big Apple. We were down by the area where sea food is sold and already were wondering if some of the shadowy figures we were seeing were tied in with this new mob. Its been described as more of an extension to Russia’s old KBJ spy network.
Today a whole set of billionaire KBJ offshoots traces back to this Era of gobbling up the old USSR’s most valuable state industries. Putin, himself is reputed to have become one of the richest Russians today based on his connections.
Those connections may have extended to the cash strapped, bankruptcy riddled Trump family. Reportedly he has had Russian Banks shore his lost fortune up by about four billion dollars while also getting him into the business he’s made beau-coup bucks at – licencing the Trump name.
I don’t take any of these charges lightly. Donald Trump bragged when he was running for President about knowing how the swamp works.
I haven’t posted any links to these current stories because anyone can find them with a quick google search. What my eight loyal readers would have more trouble finding are the Minnesota connected stories to the Mafia that I will write about in two cursory posts to follow.
(NOTE- I just fixed the link to my column)
I hurried this column so as to make a Church Properties Meeting. Sadly, I can now see a couple mistakes that might have been fixed had I not rushed it to publication:
It’s coming! The biggest case of overdue Karma in America’s history. The only question will be whether Donald Trump leaves the Oval Office like Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy left his Senate soap box with 36 percent of American’s still approving of him. Or, will President Trump’s lock on 30% of America (80% of Republicans) evaporate? . . .
Our pussy grabbing President is shocked that one of the new Congresswomen has referred to him as a “mother****er” in a call for his impeachment. Considering our President’s previous reputation I suspect the term, as rude as it is for folks like me in their sixties, is probably accurate.
As for the call from the Congresswomen there are two mitigating facts. First – Impeachment is only a process to force a trial. Considering the charges that have been made it to the news so far that seems like a pretty modest statement. The trial, should one happen, will take place in the United States Senate, a body controlled by Republicans. AND…
Second – Donald Trump constantly led cheers of “lock her up” while he ran for President. He has certainly set the standard for inflammatory language and thus has no cause for sympathy when similar words are aimed at him. As for the criticism directed at me for disrespecting our President by depicting him as a cheeto colored New Year’s Baby. Tosh!
Oh, and I remember how appalled the establishment was when an earlier President inadvertently called a now infamous mass murder guilty during a trial to determine his guilt. That was pretty tame compared to Trump’s calling Mexicans refugees rapists.
Before I break into some self defensive confession I must first say I’m delighted by my Baby New Year’s (aka Donald Trump) losing his head. Renee Passal from WDIO joined the Trib’s Brady Slater in giving giving my front yard and its headless snow sculpture some attention and since I’m no shrinking violet I didn’t mind the attention one bit.
Best of all, I was given a very sympathetic treatment by FOX News’s Nikki Davidson. She popped by with a sprained ankle and gamely clambered around my dangerously slippery, snow covered slope with camera and tripod in hand.
I chatted her up as I sawed Baby New Year’s head into manageable pieces and she took plenty of footage to edit down into a story for her station’s 9 PM News broadcast. Its a nice little story and I was charmed by News Anchor Dan Hanger’s banter with Nikki after the segment aired. Here’s the clip:
Admission to follow: Continue reading
I attempted an untested surgical procedure in order to return the New Year’s Baby’s dismembered head to its rightful place. Present to record, for posterity, this unusual procedure was crack Fox 21 News reporter Nicky Davidson. I hope she offers her viewers a warning that they look away during any airing if they were squeamish .
The procedure was a double crainiotomy in order to relieve pressure on the surgeon’s back. First the jaw was cleanly sawed off and replaced on the severed neck with freshly warmed surgical snow. There was some failure at the jawline but enough glue left over for the placement of the middle piece of skull including a recently deviated nasal septum. The scalp will have to wait until tomorrow after more fresh surgical snow is melted to a snowball consistency.
I chatted through the procedure with Nicky and observed that if I had discovered the miscreants who pushed the New Year’s Baby’s head off while living in a good Republican, “Stand your ground,” state and properly armed, I could have gotten away with plugging them for their trespass and damage to property.
This is the current state of the New Year’s Baby while it awaits a final operation followed by some cosmetic repair. It reminds me of the characters on the Simpson’s Itchy and Stratchy Show.
Brady Slater’s piece about my Cheeto-in-Chief sculpture and its temporary decapitation was fine by me. However, as a diarrhetically, self analycal writer I would have written a different version of my work.
Had I noted the drubbing I got at the hands of the Eighth district’s Trump cult I would have emphasized that the extent of my protest campaign was a $300 filing fee, gas to Hibbing and back and a couple hours filling out candidate questionnaires. Under those circumstances getting ten percent of the vote was a triumph and proof that, like the Jews after the holocaust, not all moderate Republicans were dead.
But that’s a quibble.
I thoroughly enjoyed Brady’s description of me as a “political provocateur” even though, when I set out on a political career, that is the last thing I would have imagined I would become. I still regard myself as the most reasonable politician I’ve ever met. I would probably have been reluctant to sign on with the Declaration of Independence in the beginning. I might also have retreated from Abe Lincoln’s resolve to stop secession in its tracks. I would have wished for cooler heads to talk over grievances. In my most notable local crusade demanding a vote on the half billion dollar Duluth school construction plan I was too slow and reasonable for my side’s ultimate success. My Dad was an attorney but I am no eager litigator.
In my college years there were lots of long hairs my age eager to provoke “the establishment.” I had little use for them when their words were middle fingers. I winced when one of them wrote a popular how-to-manual found in bookstores everywhere titled, “Steal this book.” People did.
But while slow to anger and quick to cool my parents held the example of my Grandfather up to me from my toddling years on. He was not just a war hero. He had been awarded his nation’s highest military medal of honor for bravery in the face of the enemy. When the stakes are high I’m all in and will meet fire with water.
I first heard the verb “provoke” from my Grandmother Welty. “I’m so provoked.” That’s what she would say in her calm, teacherly voice. It was typically small irritations that would provoke her, flies in the house, a missing piece of silver, a leaky pipe. In the face of these “provocations.” I never saw her lose her composure. However, raising my Uncle Frank, might have raised her hackles higher. He once found a pack of his parent’s prophylactics, blew them up like balloons, tied them to his bicycle and rode it and their contraceptives around the block. One time she was so provoked that she ordered her husband to put the whole family in the car and drive to the nearest boy’s juvenile center to scare her son Frank into behaving himself.
As Lincoln, and the Founders he revered would have said, they were not the provocateurs. The real provocateurs were a distant government taxing colonists without consultation and southern politicians subverting the constitution to violate the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. Ditto for me when the Duluth School Board levied a half billion dollar tax without asking voters for their approval in a bonding referendum.
So, who is the true provocateur here? Could it be a Presidential candidate who rallied his supporter to lock up his opponent? or shamelessly lied his way to the White House or who hired legal bullies to enforce this theft from business partners? or who may have colluded with foreign agents to make himself richer and compromise the laws and security of the United States? or who didn’t just avoid taxes but illegally evaded them on a colossal scale? or who so threatened the Republican Party that he resembles the tin pot dictator of Venezuela who destroyed his nation’s once booming economy?
Me, a provocateur? I spent twenty hours building a snowman and painted it cheeto-orange. In the spring it will melt and drain into Lake Superior. In contrast the man who was its model has acted the demagogue, kleptocrat, and put nearly a quarter millennia of fragile democracy in jeopardy.
And as for MAGA. A better acronym would be Make Average a Great America.
We just spent a couple hours watching the latest movie about the Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. I can’t recommend it exactly. It was slow, painterly, anguished. It depicts the famous painter’s last year or so. Years ago I saw the Kirk Douglas treatment Lust for Life but I skipped the movie Vincent and Theo about the painter and his brother Theo which never quite made it to the top of my must-watch list despite generous reviews.
The painting above was one of my Mother’s favorite paintings. She put a magazine reproduction of it on our walls.
A few years ago I read that a recent Van Gogh biography theorized that instead of dying by suicide Van Gogh was shot by a couple of stupid kids. That is how the makers of this movie kill him off.
But that’s sort of besides the point. This movie attempts to portray the greatly underappreciated Van Gogh, the real Van Gogh, whose paintings would a hundred years on sell for millions. I think Willem DeFoe’s portrayal in At Eternity’s Gate is believable and unsentimental. The famous ear episode was probably spot on.
On the other hand, Vincent the man comes across as a bit of a naif and I am not certain that was accurate. I read a snippet of a letter he wrote extolling his joy at sampling the wares at a brothel. The impression that this carnal anecdote offers runs counter to one of my favorite songs, Starry Starry Night by Don McLean. Like Van Gogh’s paintings the real story, no matter what it was, does not diminish my appreciation of McLean’s song.
But art is subjective.
When I was visiting my Mother during her dementia and singing to her I once sang the whole of McLean’s song to her because it was about one of her favorite artists. Afterwards, I asked her if she liked the song. She didn’t.
Pull out of Syria against the advice of the military claiming we beat ISIS.
Border wall or Government shut down. Yes, No, Yes, No……stay tuned..
Federal Reserve turning a deaf ear to pleas for easy money.
SNL had it nailed in its parody of “Its a Wonderful Life.” I happened to watch the movie the night before the SNL Cold Opening.
Trump’s reaction? The Government should censor comics making fun of him.
This Harry’s Diary post didn’t start out with a title drawing attention to my dawdling over posts. But its a good reminder to my eight loyal readers that I don’t always consider my posts finished even at first posting……and here’s a pic of the cookies we decorated for shut ins at Glen Avon Presbyterian last night.
I watched the funeral for President George H W Bush this afternoon. Last night I watched, for the first time, the two-hour American Experience program about George Bush. It is at least ten years old. I learned some new things most of which softened me up toward the man I wouldn’t vote for in 1992.
Although I voted for George and Ron in 1984 George lost my support initially when he joined the Reagan campaign as the VP candidate. In 1980 I couldn’t bring myself to vote for a Democrat so I voted for Independent candidate John Anderson.
My principle grievance is simple. As Reagan’s successors turned their back on Reagan’s “big tent,” George Bush could only succeed by being complicit in the new GOP regime’s marginalization of moderates like me and like George Bush had once been. Where has the party of Lincoln gone?
I was reminded of this during my ongoing process of reorganizing my office files today. In a folder labeled “Crazy Republicans” was this newspaper clipping: Reuter’s story. 30 percent of Republicans considered Obama a worse threat than Russia. Holy S’moley!!!!!!!
It has been reported that the Clintons and Trump did not shake hands when Donald made his sulky appearance at George Bush’s funeral. I don’t blame them. He led cheers of “Lock her up.” at his rallies. That’s close to the equivalent of saying “F*** America” considering that over half of the votes went for Hilary Clinton in 2016. Think of that – Trump’s “Republicans” wanted to jail the American that half of America voted for for President. Is it any wonder that Hillary’s supporters are licking their lips at the prospect that the President who led that cheer might himself face a life behind bars? Would Pence pardon him? I wonder. It cost Jerry Ford the Presidency in 1976.
Although winnowing my voluminous files has been my primary activity for the past few weeks I managed to crank out a new column for tomorrow’s Reader. Its called 100 pints of blood. I also applied to renew my substitute teaching license. Returning to the classroom, even as a sub, has intrigued me for the past twenty years. I chatted with 709’s Human Resource Director for a summary of how to go about doing it. It turned out to be pretty simple.
Among the items I reorganized yesterday were the documents from my legal challenge to the District in 2009 “Welty et al” vs. the Duluth School District and Johnson Controls. I rediscovered one of our attorney’s discoveries which greatly amused me.
The current School Board’s attorney, Kevin Rupp, had a hand in that case defending the Board against me and four other plaintiffs. In the Trib he claimed that a school district could not be sued for violating its own policies. Here’s what the plaintiffs attorney, Craig Hunter, discovered:
This only amplifies my frustration at not having been successful in severing our School board’s ties with Rupp’s firm when I served on the School Board. NOTE: Readers of this blog will find ample examples of my jaundiced view of Mr. Rupp’s legacy in this blog.
And while our lawsuit fell apart for reasons pinned to Mr. Hunter he had the District scared witless while single-handedly fighting off dozens of attorneys for three top legal firms. I found Craig a sensible and honorable man. I’d hire him in a flash if I needed legal help again.
It’s the least I can do with him hanging on to my tail:
“As the old timers used to say in my day “Son, when you have a tiger (Harry Welty) by the tail, don’t let go. Harry refuses to expose his heroes and soul mates race-baiters Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson Jr. & III, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin of the federal racketeering charges against them. Harry is probably too young in age and/or mind to remember that Martin Luther King fought for EQUALITY, not black supremacy. He preached that he looked forward to the day that our children will be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Which made sense to me then and it still does today. Stacy Abrams (Aunt Jemima) lacks character, a strong moral compass and refuses to accept defeat by playing the race card that suits Harry just fine and has been labeled a “gadfly” for his immoral character. There is a big difference between upstanding, respectable African-Americans and rabble-rousing race baiting niggers. Harry prefers the latter, I prefer the foregoing.”
A couple times a year I notice that two cartoons on the Trib’s comics page share a similar theme. Today was such a day. From Non Sequitur:
And from Pearls before Swine:
I don’t enjoy being the optimist preoccupied with the empty half of the glass or (in this case) with the forty percent empty. The 40% is made up of Americans who still think Donald Trump is doing a good job while shrugging off his hourly lies and treating them as some sort of veiled truth. Yes, the 60% full side is the recently elected Democratic House of Representatives, but I also remember that all it took to elect Hitler in 1933 was just short of 40%. That feeble percentage is the kind of number that keeps deep-state Republicans in control after all their messing about with election laws and gerrymandering.
Its often asked what Trump supporters would have done had Obama done the sort of things Trump does daily. Unlike Trump Obama told only one truly epic lie when he insisted that Americans could keep their doctors if the Affordable Health Care Act was enacted. It was worse than just a white lie, but compared to Trump, its notable, even laudable in its singularity.
Abraham Lincoln famously asked Americans to remember their “better angles.” Trump only encourages our better demons.
My old ally turned critic sent me a couple more emails with no text but simply links to commentaries suggesting that black americans were attempting to make white Trump supporters paranoid by making our elections fraudulent. Then he sent me this Wikipedia entry on “Aunt Jemima” to school me on what he thought of Stacey Abrams who is at the forefront of calling out Republican electioneering scams.
I replied to Jim:
I guess you were being ironic calling Abrams a name that suggested she was obsequious when you seem to resent her for being just the opposite of obsequious.
If anything she has the stones you had when you rallied for Bob Short. You’re giving her short shrift….no pun intended.