Category Archives: Crime & Punishment

Ripped (off) from the headlines

I twitted Wrenshall a couple posts ago so this post might be viewed as excessive harassment which I don’t mean to inflict. However, that post jogged the memory of an omniscient friend who sent me this clipping of the small unwitting part Wrenshall played 56 years ago in the promotion of the cinematic treatment of George Orwell’s dystopian novel. I was but ten years old at the time.

BTW – My son was born in 1984. He was a little brother.

Indian ghosts

I just keep adding more books to my reading list. The lastest is Killers of the Flower Moon. I’ve been catching reports on Public Radio for a presentation this week at the Fitzgerald Theater by its author David Grann.

The book is about the murders of Osage Indians which took place south of Kansas in Oklahoma about the time my Dad was born. I’ve never heard of them but I’ve always been fascinated by Oklahoma because of its eccentric ties to the South during the Civil War. When Andrew Jackson removed the Indians from the South in the winter of the Trail of Tears they took their African-American slaves with them. Ironically they had been civilized enough to adopt America’s slave tradition. When the Civil War broke out they looked at it as an opportunity to throw off Union control and sided with the same southerern slave holders that had removed them from the South.

The ex-slave Larry Lapsley, who had a farm next to my Grandfather after escaping from Texas had to travel at night through Oklahoma to avoid being caught by the slave owning Indians of the territory and being sent back.

My eight loyal readers know I’ve devoted a lot of space to Civil Rights in the blog tilted almost exclusively to African-Americans. However, I’ve never been in doubt about the treatment of Native Americans. I always wince on the Fourth of July when PBS reads the full Declaration of Independence and gets to this line about the wrongs of King George:

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Reading about this book opens up another haunting tie to my past. I’ve often written that when I was in sixth grade I was a minority white kid in Mr. Ross’s class although just barely. It was a 15/15 white/black split with one Native American kid added to make minorities of all of us. Sammy was an Osage Indian and new to Loman Hill Elementary so I really never got to know him since I moved to Minnesota at the end of my sixth grade year. He was a quiet kid.

White Kansas had a long history with both black and Indian populations. My Grandmother Ruth Welty’s great-grandparents were saved by a black woman, Black Ann Shatio, when they crossed over into Kansas from Missouri. (I just found this link today while looking for a reference from the Kansas Historical Society. Jerry Engler would be my shirt tail relative). Kansas also contributed a Vice President Charles Curtis to the United State. He was three quarters Native American. And of course my mother’s father, George Robb roamed around on land well traveled by Indians. A month ago I wrote that I had probably lost the arrowheads he collected on his farm in Assaria, Kansas, when I sent them off for a grandson’s show and tell. Hooray, they were rediscovered and returned. Here they are:

Vice President Curtis was one-quarter Osage and I can’t help but wonder if he makes an appearance in the Flower Moon although he was a Kansan not an Oklahoman. The Osage were one of the minor tribes who were moved to Oklahoma and you can see by this map of their reservation they lived adjacent to Kansas.

One of my Mother’s great-grandfather’s, Joseph Freemong McLatchey, lined up to race across the Oklahoma border in 1905 in hopes of claiming a piece of the territory only to find the land already occupied by “sooners.” He ruined his daughter’s prize horse in the attempt and remained in Kansas.

In the map above you can see where I was born – Arkansas City, Kansas. I remember hearing a local tell a “funny” story about the Oklahoma Indians after they struck oil on the once worthless land they imprisoned in. It seems one Osage, bought a car with his unexpected wealth and drove it around until it stopped moving a day or two later. Then he went out and bought another. He didn’t understand that cars needed gas.

According to the Flower Moon book the Osage’s white neighbors didn’t just make jokes about the Indians. They did their best to steal the oil for themselves by poisoning and shooting the unlucky Osage. Exposing these murders was the making of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI which uncovered 24 murders. Grann’s research suggests that this was just the tip of the iceberg. There may have been over a hundred. An Osage historian said that today there is hardly an Osage descendant that didn’t lose a relative to the murders of the 1920’s. I wonder if Sammy was quiet because he was haunted by ghosts.

I recently mentioned that one of my grandson’s had some Choctaw blood. They were another of the Native American tribes that were removed to Oklahoma.

“The divorcingest President”

I got an email from “my Buddy” this morning. It contained a fair question and I tried to treat it with a rational analysis:

From: “Your Buddy”
To: “Harry Welty”
Cc:
Sent: 02-Feb-2017 15:28:58 +0000
Subject: 3 AM again | lincolndemocrat.com

Harry:

From http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=19224:
Trump is the divorcingest President in our nation’s history.
So? Divorce is generally legal, and perhaps not even immoral. How many extramarital sexual involvements did William J. Clinton and John F. Kennedy have, although they were never divorced?

“Your Buddy”

To which I replied:

That’s an interesting point Buddy,

Just to set a rational foundation for my reply let me be clear. That last line of mine was a dig and by itself only a superficial sting. Although, to be fair to me I can’t off hand think of any one I know personally who has been married three times. That excess seems to be the prerogative of the rich. But affairs……..that is a fair point. I’ve had family members who cheated or thought about it. Even so, I’d consider them human rather than bad people. But let me stick with Presidential timber here.

A lot of American presidents have been rumored or known to have had affairs, sometimes a great many of them. And yet for reasons that could be labeled hypocrisy or political expediency the first serious presidential candidate I can think of who ran after a divorce was New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. He was widely condemned in his own Republican party and got hammered at the 1964 RNC Convention as an unfaithful libertine.

I do think that there is something admirable to be said for the virtue of loyalty which in marriage is generally referred to as fidelity. It is consonant with the traditional marriage vows of loving, honoring and obeying in sickness and in health. And so, when I was thirteen during the Goldwater boom Rockefeller’s divorce was scandalous. America has loosened up a lot as new generations came to see marriage as wonderful but recognized its imperfections – staying in unhappy relationships because of the kids, or the silent acceptance of spousal abuse. Sixteen years after Goldwater Ronald Reagan was just fine with the Republicans. Besides that, anyone prying into his life understood that it was his ex, Jane Wyman, who left him. Ron was an innocent.

But as to Kennedy, FDR, Harding and LBJ…..How about them? Well, political expediency may be their best excuse. They were fellows who really loved their wives and their families and weren’t willing to break them up or set a bad example for the wider community. So they sneaked around and hid their infidelities often with a compliant press’s help, turning a blind eye. Boys will be boys! Or these guys sort of did. There is little doubt that Ladybird and Jackie knew full well what their husbands were up to. Ladybird bore her betrayal with dignity. Jackie is said to have retaliated in kind.

Hillary put up with it too. Perhaps she was calculating. Perhaps she was simply being pragmatic. And on that score she managed to damage the Democratic party inadvertently in the long run by making her sympathizers defend Bill when the GOP went after his scalp. The Clintonista feminists opened themselves to the charge of hypocrisy for defending a skirt chasing, intern groping, possible rapist. Look what Donald Trump did with that! Of course, in Trump’s case it was a case of the pot calling the poor oven’s kettle black.

So is there anything else in my analysis of Trump that you would like to quibble with me about?

Thank you Dr. Conniff…

…for reading my blog. Thank you also for taking part in an important public conversation……..

I have submitted this piece in its entirety to the Tribune and will withhold it until such time as the Tribune prints it.

This is what I originally posted except that when I saved it the five or so hyperlinks I placed in it were lost. Frankly I’m too busy to replace them. As you can see there is very little change:


Thank you Dr. Conniff for reading my blog. Thank you also for taking part in an important public conversation. Your contribution begins:
“I had to read to the end of the well-reported Nov. 15 article, “District responds to hate speech in Duluth high schools,” to find School Board Member Harry Welty’s recommendation against ‘having a dire punishment for kids abusing their free-speech rights.’
In disbelief, I turned to Welty’s blog”

When the Tribune’s education reporter, Jana Hollingsworth, called me I kept her on the phone for forty minutes as I expanded on my thoughts on this sensitive subject. Due to the Duluth News Tribune’s understandable limitations of time, newsprint, and ink, only two sentences of mine were included in the article to explain my still evolving thinking on this episode.
In the meantime I must insist on an uncomfortable truth: In the United States free speech does include hate speech however much we may be appalled by it. Fortunately it does not include shouting “fire” in a dark theater nor does it include threats or incitement to riot.

My job as a member of the school board is to think my way through what has been happening over the last year and how to deal with its consequences over the next four and possibly, God forbid, eight years. Making martyrs out of Duluth students for parroting the hateful things they hear on the Internet and no doubt in their homes and on the nightly news is not the best or most thoughtful response. That would be fighting fire with grease which would only make the conflagration more intense.
Duluth has undergone two recent changes which exacerbate the negativity of 2016 election. 1. It divided its school district into rich/poor and black/white schools at the same time as 2. Its African-American community has begun to expand significantly leading to a white flight from our schools of perhaps 15% of the student population. There has been one heartening development over these recent years. Our children have assumed a generous and open attitude toward their superficial differences. The reaction of students in both East High and Denfeld have been remarkable rebukes to the politics that seem to have generated the “hate speech.” I take great comfort in that.

These generous reactions must be supported by the School Board not undermined by meting out “dire punishments” prompted by shock at the outcome of the recent election. We need to follow our better angels. That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. did. His legacy, the “Southern Christian Leadership Conference” has continued for fifty years to keep a watchful eye out for the vestiges of hate and racism that King gave his life to make part of our nation’s past. I do not believe King would have encouraged us to force it underground but would have advised us to keep it in full view where it could be exposed for what it is – a grievous assault on the spirit of justice and equality that our nation was founded upon.

Fear and silencing in 2016?

The initial reactions of many in the wake of Donald Trump’s election have been fearful, ugly, gloating and generally panicky. There is an abundance if not an excess of caution. There has been local Radio talk-show indignation and Facebook hand-wringing over an evidently Anti-Trump message slipped into a school trophy case. It seems proof that political animosity works both ways. The tremors across northern Minnesota Schools yesterday from a vague threat is likely one more manifestation of this sorry situation.

I’m afraid that one more consequence of this election result is a powerful urge to cover our eyes and ears. At Tuesday’s school board meeting Supt. Gronseth expressed unhappiness with the student at Denfeld who took a picture of racist grafitti and posted it to Facebook to show how things were at the school. I’ll bet the police who have just charged a jumpy policeman in the Twin Cities with manslaughter may feel much the same way about Internet Videos. Silence is Golden.

I disagree. Communication is golden.

Yesterday a speech by an African-American historian was given at East High but then canceled for Denfeld when it was deemed inappropriate and perhaps an incitement to bad behavior. That’s a shame because the Denfeld students showed remarkable maturity and creativity in the face of the racist grafitti found on a bathroom wall. They countered it with a student led campaign to retake the school’s walls with positive and uplifting post-it note messages. According to one source this is what they missed when Dr. El-Kati was silenced:

“According to 3 equity minded individuals who all saw El-Kati’s talk yesterday at East, they are in complete and utter shock that Denfeld did not get to hear the awesome messages that El-Kati delivered. His main theme was moral character, and also touched on many topics and historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson, John Lewis, Frederick Douglas, Quakers, MLK, war, Minnesota tops in education, Duluth is wonderful, power and privilege, among others.

“They said Denfeld kids needed that talk more than East kids.”

I was unaware of the speech which the District had contracted until the Superintendent offered this post script to his email to School Board members about the “non specific threat.” This is all I know of why Dr. El-Kati’s Denfeld appearance was canceled:

Oh– and Dr El-Kati’s visit did not go as well as hoped. He did not deliver the planned message. He did not meet the terms of the contract. After things did not go well at East, it was decided that the Denfeld presentation would be canceled.

Judging by the superlative response of the Denfeld students to racist grafitti I have every confidence that they could have handled whatever Dr. El-Kati had to say. I wish my confidence in our students was more widely shared.

A little of the Much More to Come

Here’s some of the “much more to come” suggested at the end of the previous post.

As I type my printer is cranking out 122 pages of a full screen play for a movie tentatively titled “Hatestorm.” I’ve already printed out a sixteen page “treatment” which I gather explains how the script is meant to convey the contents of Michael Fedo’s book about the infamous 1920 lynching of three black circus workers in Duluth, Minnesota in 1920 and translating it into a theatrical script for a movie.

It turns out that this is a not only a much more ambitious project than I had imagined but one with legs I hadn’t anticipated. It will be fascinating to see if it attracts the fifteen million in production costs that have been projected. A lot of that will ride on the success of the “teaser” I will do my bit part for.

I’ll begin reading the script tomorrow as I travel to Itasca State Park for what may be a soggy camping trip with Claudia, my daughter and my grandsons. I will check out my costuming upon my return, largely a white apron and contemplate getting my hair cut to 1920’s fashion with a part down the middle of my skull. Maybe I’ll wear a chef’s hat.

I haven’t yet memorized my fifty or so words but that shouldn’t be too hard. I will do that as I consume the script and imagine how the makers of the movie go about attracting investors. I’d like to help in more ways than as just an actor for four minutes worth of celluloid or whatever its digital equivalent is these days.

As I wrote before I had breakfast in the locale of the shoot. That’s Mike’s Western Cafe on West Superior Street in the West End. Claudia and I had eggs over easy and corn beef hash. Claudia proclaimed it very good. I looked at the cooler and the juice machine and a Minnesota Twins pennant and wondered if there would be any attempt to camouflage the present to evoke the 1920’s. The prime mover behind the project, screenwriter Dale Botten, most assuredly will. He will also pay the actors. That’s something I had imagined would not happen. I’ll get a paycheck!

Well, the script is finished printing. Its time for me to rest up for tomorrow’s travels. There’s a lot on my mind – packing, the Psalms (I’ve finished the first “book” through the 41st Psalm), The attractions of voting for Hillary aside from the execrations of Don Trump, how one of my School Board colleagues may be taking credit for all the good things happening in our District as she travels the state. Yup. Lots on my mind.

I’ll be back to write about some of it in the not too distant future.

On the subject of prohibition of drugs

I admire powerfully argued propositions. My Buddy sent me this and frankly my blog could use a short break from the Duluth Schools. I’ll be busy editing but go ahead and read the whole Slate article if you’d like. I haven’t yet but this passage is potent.

When will we ever learn?

From salon.com

As a dealer, you establish your patch against other dealers by force and terror, and you maintain your patch by force and terror. You don’t just hurt other dealers you hurt cops, and any civilians who get caught in the cross-fire. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman calculated this dynamic causes an extra 10,000 killings every year in the US. Continue reading

Thoughts on the RFRA law

I don’t always know why my Buddy sends me links to stories but this link to a Jonah Goldberg column could have been prompted by my crack about Indiana being to skittish about so many grooms placed on wedding cakes.

But we live in an age where non-compliance with the left’s agenda must be cast as bigotry. Everyone is free to celebrate as instructed. This is what liberals think liberty means today.

Ignore Goldberg’s jab at the left (above) and read the column. Its thoughtful and I agree with it. That doesn’t mean that I’m not enjoying the spectacle of a Rightest schmoozing Governor getting baked in the glare of righteous indignation over Indiana’s law protecting conservative florists from having to supply flowers at gay weddings.

I’ve evolved myself over the years and am reasonably patient with folks who haven’t evolved as fast as me. Here are glimpses of my evolution first outlined in a column thirteen years ago that I wrote for the Duluth Reader titled “Selected Scenes from my Queer Life.”

Let me point out two of the incidents this story outlines:

1971, Age 20 – I become a summer intern for our local Congressman. I move into a seedy townhouse a short walk from the Nation’s Capitol. I borrow a cake pan from neighbors. When I return the pan I am invited over for dinner and a cocktail. I discover that fresh tomatoes with a little salt are really tasty and drink my first martini. My neighbors are the first wave of new residents who are gentrifying the neighborhood. I suspect that they are gay. I am invited back and find myself among five urbane men in their thirties. One is an internationally famous premier danseur, a male ballet dancer. He regales us with stories about how as a young man all the ballerinas tried to bed him for good luck. The men find this story of heterosexual promiscuity very funny. I excuse myself from the gathering after one of the hosts, who had been petting a kitten, begins petting my thigh.

Before I return to school the neighbors ask me if I would like to house-sit for them next summer while they are abroad. I think they have surmised that I’m not gay. I tell them I’d like to. When I mention this to my Dad he strongly discourages me because the homeowners are gay. I drop the idea.

1982, Age 31 – Duluth overwhelmingly defeats a “civil rights” ordinance which would require landlords to rent to gays. I tell my Dad that I’m inclined to oppose the ordinance. I feel bad that conservative Christian property owners could be forced to rent to open homosexuals. My Dad asks me why gays should be denied access to housing. I am ashamed.

That latter incident in 1982 is the one that falls in line with the furor in Indiana. Note first that my Dad and I seemingly changed political positions between 1971 and 1982. In 1982 I was trying to fit in, however uncomfortably, with the Republican Party that had not yet begun purging RINO’s. President Reagan kept talking up the Party’s “big tent.” Here my Father was sticking up for gays. In effect he let me know that my tolerance for refusing to rent to gays wasn’t any different from practices that let white folks deny housing to black Americans.

One of the fellows working on my attic was listening to conservative talk radio yesterday and one of the bloviators was going on about Native American’s using peyote in their religious ceremonies. That’s what gave birth to RFRA the Federal law analogous to Indiana’s law. The Supreme Court ruled that Indian religious practices, involving hallucinogens, were not protected under the law. Liberals of that Era jumped to the defense of Native America and RFRA was born. The bloviator used that history to defend Governor Pence and today’s Conservatives. Bloviators aren’t always wrong.

Bully

Last night I attended the big City sponsored meeting at Clyde Iron in Bullying. I was late but got there in a fierce snow squall before the showing of the movie Bully began. Here’s the trailer:

We evidently were not shown the movie this trailer shows but only a portion of it. The scenes of harassment on the bus got most of the 54 people in the audience worked up as well as the ineptitude of the school administrators in targeting the bad actors. This is on the radar for the nation’s mayors although it seems more under the purview of School Administrators. Supt. Gronseth was there to follow up the Mayor’s introduction. Half the audience was composed of mental health experts or ISD 709 administrators or School Board members. That left precious few civilians to participate.

The movie was followed by forming about six tables with enough people to hold a twenty minute discussion after which one spokesman from each table summarized the twenty minuted discussion. This routine is getting a little stale for me. In the sheet of paper we were given to offer comments on the movie or our meeting I said something to the effect that it would have been helpful to have some plan of action developed to follow the movie.

Then the audience left to go back out into the cold. I gave on stranded participant a ride home and we had a pleasant conversation about politics on college campuses during the Vietnam War.

Oh at our table we had a spirited discussion about expectations of our kids. Another old coot like me said kids needed boundaries and the enforcement of them. He said that where student behavior was concerned it was all black and white and that anybody who said there was any gray was a liberal. I owned up to being a liberal and mentioned that it was hard for me to come down with no mercy on a kid with everything at home going against him. Twenty minutes was not enough to pursue this question.

The condition of African Americans in Duluth

Its not great.

First there is this in the Trib today.

On the reading test, black students, who make up 8.5 percent of the district’s enrollment, were 27 percent proficient while white students, making up 80.5 percent of enrollment, were nearly 64 percent proficient.

Then there is this on the opinion page. The “conservative” view. The “liberal” view.

Then there is the still lingering question of whether Duluth police, like so many of their brethern in other US cities, are more prone to pull over African American drivers than European appearing drivers. The Chief of Duluth’s police did not dispute this when he replied to my buddy after my buddy sent him this post from my blog. The chief simply said that there is more to the story. I my find about this “more” soon. My new black friend Tim apparently intends to invite the Chief and me to a sit down over a cup of coffee. I told Tim I’d welcome such a get together. Since we can’t seem to give our black kids a decent education maybe we can at least speed their progress though Duluth’s streets.

Ah, There is so much I’d like to blog about right now but its a sunny day and I don’t have much time left this year to clean out the dry rot under my eves which sprung up after last year’s ice dams.

Pulling our trousers down

Prepare yourself for a little TMI. Not up on your acronyms? TMI = “too much information.” And to start this post at 2AM here’s a little for you in preparation for the next post that can’t let me get back to sleep at 2AM this morning.

I vividly recall my visit to the Mankato State Health Center for a syphilis shot. The Doctor there was the mother of a friend of mine from high school. That would have been about 1971. I say syphilis but frankly I’m not sure what she treated me for. Maybe it was that other disease Gonorrhea. The later was no big deal then but it is today as an incurable strain seems to be busy infecting the careless.

I found out that I had been exposed to one or the other by my first lover, a much older woman. She was hugely embarrassed to tell me this but she did and I was nothing if not incredibly sympathetic with her and I took the information with aplomb assuring her that it was no big deal. I’ll still confessed to being chagrinned to realize that the Doctor about to give me a shot in my tush was the mother of a friend. There are a few things all of us really don’t want the mother’s of our friends to know about us.

Perhaps the reason I could be so chivilrous had to do with my attitude about secrecy and a movie I had seen back in junior high school. I say movie but I could be wrong. It might have been a television production but I rather think it was a 1950’s black and white movie. Just now I tried to google it but was unsuccessful. I found the startling (for 1940) movie Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet. I may have seen this but its not the movie I was looking for. Then there is 1997 made for TV movie I’d not heard of about the infamous study of black Mississippi men who were never told they had syphilis so that they could be studied until they died of the disease. There are also a couple movies about Gonorrhea.

Here’s what I recall about the movie I had watched back in about seventh grade, although I might have seen it in grade school. A doctor was trying to prevent the spread of the disease, S or G, but it wasn’t easy. To do this he had to get victims to tell him who they had had sex with. This was necessary to find them and treat them. Funny, but the folks in the movie didn’t want to cooperate even though the result of non cooperation was possibly fatal to unnamed sex partners. Not surprisingly I took the doctor’s point of view which is what the makers of the movie had in mind for their audience. Consequently I was inclined to take my lover’s revelation quite evenly.

What started me thinking about this was an NPR story on “information aversion” I heard a couple days ago. The story only referenced sex in passing:

VEDANTAM: That’s right. It’s the idea that information can sometimes be scary. And in those cases, people can sometimes avoid that kind of information. I did a story a couple of weeks ago that looked at college students who didn’t want to find out that they had sexually transmitted diseases for example.

The issue in the story was about the surprising finding that women who knew someone who got breast cancer were less likely to have mammograms than those who did not have such acquaintances. I think my biggest problem on the school board is Information Aversion. I have a majority of the school board who don’t want to know how we got from some truly great educational opportunities for our children to piss poor after spending half a billion (or six hundred million) on brand spanking new buildings. How great is this aversion? Cripes, they’d rather frame the most rigorous investigator on the Board of bullshit accusations in order to remove him than peek under the Chairman’s carpet.

We’ve got syphilis, folks, and we need to get a shot for it. We better be prepared to pull our trousers down to get it just like I had to forty-five years ago.

Reality

The Republican Party today is the John Wilkes Booth Party. It really frosts my eye glasses. My oft mentioned “Buddy” used to email me repeatedly to tell me that I was a Bigot towards Republicans. Thankfully, after four years of railing against me he stopped reading my blog and sending me dippy emails about my alleged bigotry. He keeps Fox News as his web portal. He hasn’t forgiven Democrats for the Age of Aquarius.

I consider it a remarkable irony that one of the biggest jerks in US History, Lyndon B Johnson liberated blacks while a Republican Quaker Richard Nixon inaugurated a new system that has put millions of black children in prison. It was a change in our jurisprudence calculated to please the southern racists who routinely imprisoned black men and hired them out for peanuts to life destroying industries.

I’ve refrained with great restraint from using foul language to write this post. What has brought this post into existence is tonight’s watching of the 9th episode of Netflix’s Orange is the new Black, followed by watching a PBS program on how routinely America throws black juveniles into jail. It compares our insane system to one found in New Zealand related to their minority Maori citizens.

I dare any Republican who thinks I’m an idiot to a debate. Just be prepare to be proved a fool even if I’ve just written a column about how foolish it is to call another person a fool. I’ll even debate in an audience of only Republicans. Be prepared. I am a firm believer in shame.

I highly recommend that any Republican with the guts to take up my challenge watch the PBS program. I wouldn’t recommend watching Orange is the New Black especially if you are a fan of Michelle Bachmann.

Email glitches – Dammit – and pedophile priests

Before sneaking back to the room I decided, on a whim, to see if the Reader Weekly had acknowledged the receipt of my column. Nope. So, as a precaution I checked out my email “sent” file to make sure it had been sent. Nope. So I checked the “drafts” folder. There it was sans attachments (pictures that the publisher requested I include). Dammit!

Its not safe to take things for granted. I put it all together and pushed “send” last Friday. I do have trouble with my internet connections every so often. Maybe they went glitchy last Friday without bothering to tell me that they couldn’t send my email.

Its too early to say “whew!” I’ll be checking my cell phone for emails today from the Reader to see what they say……if anything.

I also checked the Duluth News Tribune to see if there was anything intersting happening in Duluth……..Didn’t look like it although their story on Wisconsin’s protected pedophile priests was depressingly interesting. Andrew Sullivan had already covered it a couple days ago when he beat up Cardinal Dolan who hid the Church’s money from potential plaintiffs. That was prudent if not penitential of him. What was it that Jesus said? Something about suffer the little children. The Catholic Church seems to have a long tradition of this.

Spitting on the Stripper

I haven’t written anything on the blog for ten days. Its not for want of subject matter. The depredations of Boston certainly call for comment but the last post is all I feel compelled to say on the subject. There’s been another story that has caused me deep reflection and its about a much more common crime. Its the news of a young girl named Audrie Pott who committed suicide after several friends raped her when she got drunk. I should add the perfunctory adjective “allegedly.” The details that have been in the news are still being sorted out but they remind me of people I know and have known. Continue reading

Boston

One of the top women finishers at Boston today used to run by my house every day in high school as she practiced for her cross country team. Kara Goucher came in sixth among the women contestants. Her efforts like those of all of the other competitors were overshadowed by the bombs which blew up killing those rooting the finishers on.

And yet the murderer/s who if caught will gain some long lasting infamy will never be of as much consequence as the many unknown bystanders who rushed to the aid of the victims. Others have put it much more eloquently for instance this person quoted on the Daily Dish.

North Dakota’s blankety blank Republicans

North Dakota’s GOP has taken the lead on fighting abortion having made it illegal from six weeks after conception.

That’s one part of their recent legislative action.

The law that really cranked my chain was the one the forbade the abortion of any fetus because of a disability. Its supposed to be a high minded Godly law, proof that the GOP cares about children. Tosh. The GOP doesn’t give a shit about children or their parents. The story I was sent about the state of Minnesota doing its best not to fund special education proves my point.

North Dakota Women carrying disabled babies must now give birth to them but can expect no help from taxpayers to help them raise or educate their disabled children. That’s the GOP today. Its a party of no-nothings, hypocrites and assholes. They’ll spend tax money like Indiana to give well-heeled parents a way to avoid public schools that are stuck teaching the disabled children that Republicans are unwilling to levy taxes to educate. Or like in Nebraska they will refuse to fund neo-natal care if there is the smallest chance some wet back from Mexico might have her fetus examined at public expense.

Don’t worry I haven’t offended by Buddy. He told me he stopped reading my blog because I was so unfair to Republicans.

If I do go to the next GOP precinct caucuses I’ll have a couple questions.

BTW. If I do run for the School Board I hope someone throws my line about no-nothings, hypocrites and assholes at me. Its just the kind of thing I would expect from an asshole.

Oh, and how can I resist mentioning the efforts of the GOP to protect children from their Gay parents. The GOP may no longer want to be tagged with that public stand but there is little doubt the protesters against gay marriage out in front of the Supreme Court today are all Republicans, Senator Portman be damned.

Speedy justice is less expensive justice

My Church’s men’s group had the St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman drop by and talk to us last week. He spent a fair amount of time talking about the housing of prisoners at the jails and for good reason. The Trib reports that St. Louis County spent one and a half million extra last year paying for prisoner’s upkeep when the courts should have been finished with them. I presume that waste is sprinkled throughout the state in all 87 counties.

The Courts, which have been underfunded by the legislature simply don’t have the manpower. I should know. I had a civil procedure drag out for a couple years due to under staffing despite having some of the best paid and most competent lawyers bird dogging the case.

And this doesn’t even count prisoners who were incarcerated because of police dishonesty.

Could your local police force be as corrupt as this?

Courtesy of the New York Times by way of my Buddy:

“The fact that our legal system has become so tolerant of police lying indicates how corrupted our criminal justice system has become by declarations of war, “get tough” mantras, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for locking up and locking out the poorest and darkest among us.”

This echos the disturbing testimony of NY cop Adrian Schoolcraft who seems allergic to lies. I heard this on This American Life a couple year’s back. Listen to the podcast here its Act 2.

This helps explain the reasons why our prisons are bloated and bankrupting us while condemning many to the dustbin of life.

The pernicious effects of the GOP getting all Dixiecrat on the nation.

After inviting Southern Whites into the Party leading them to take it over and kick out distastful Republicans its worth pondering the results. The last post pointed out the new more war like GOP. This one is about one of the worst domestic mistakes the inflicted on the nation.

I used to call myself a Rockefeller Republican. Certainly in 1964 when he fell to Barry Goldwater I supported the New Yorker. Then 1968 happened and Tricky Dick Nixon ran a campaign to peel southern voters away from George Wallace. He did it by promoting “law and order.” To notherners it was a message to keep the drug addled college kids from rioting in the streets and to Southerners it meant keeping blacks out of sight. Rocky, who never gave up his wish to be President, became a hardliner in 1973 as this NPR story today relates.

It was a good liberal who took us from a nation of 300,000 convicts to a nation with 2 million largely non threatening druggies in costly prisons. He did it because that’s what Nixon and Reagan’s new southern strategy called for. Million of blacks have been put in prison and no longer can vote. It costs us a ton to keep them there. Its more expensive than putting them through public school but it keeps millions of blacks a few steps behind the rest of us law abiding white folks.

How Ironic that Rocky would have left the nation this inheritance. Experts saw its uselessness early on. Political operatives (especially GOP operatives) saw its political usefulness early on too. Guess which set of folks prevailed?