. . . now on your website. Please put it in the next paper issue in its entirety.
I’m sure its an accident.
Without the reader is tossed into an ocean without a view to the coast. Normally I don’t publish them to this blog. Instead I link to the Reader’s online site. Today I’ve put the whole column together on the blog. You can read it in the post that proceeds this one.
I’ve asked them to print it whole next week. My eight loyal readers don’t have to wait. Just go back to the previous post.
You Have My Sympathy Ilhan
Ilhan Omar, Minnesota’s new Islamic Congresswoman, has offered her “unequivocal” apology for twitting the fiercely pro-Israel Political Action Committee AIPAC in a tweet. Some of her fellow Congressmen are not satisfied. Full abasement is called for and perhaps Congressional censure. Nevermind that traditional Republican condemnation of “Hollywood” for unraveling our moral fabric echoes similar calls from earlier politicians that paired amoral Hollywood with the slur “Jew controlled.”
Three years ago, I submitted the following column after accompanying a peace studies class to the Holy land. I suggested that it be the first of several to follow covering my two-week tour of Israel and Palestine. I’d grouse about how the reputedly corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu insulted President Obama. I’d gasp about the belligerent drunk who hectored my liberal Jewish
guides. I’d describe how I wept at Yad Vashem as an archival movie showed two small shivering brothers sitting on curb in Warsaw, the little one listless and near death; both boys the age and image of my grandsons. The Reader didn’t get back to me back then so I resubmit the column today to register my own impatience with the one-sided debate allowed in today’s America over an issue almost as important as guns, gays and gynecology.
Harry Welty’s Holy Land Haj, Part 1 – Bookends Continue reading
The Reader didn’t print the Title I’d planned on but a caption I’d suggested for the following picture. I wanted it titled “Debating Society.” I wasn’t very clear when I rushed the column to them late Tuesday night!
Below is the first paragraph. Here it is in the Online Reader.
“For several days I’ve had heated discussions on Facebook over THE issue of the day (many days) President Trump. Passersby at my house know that I hold our President in low regard. And yet in discussing him pro and con I’ve tried to be lawyerly. An old college chum echoed Trump’s call to stop MS 13, drugs, rapists and sex traffickers at the border. A Bernie Sanders supporting shirttail relative lambasted Hillary Clinton for sabotaging Bernie Sanders in her campaign for the Democratic nomination. I begged to disagree with both. Searching for middle ground is an old habit of mine. . .”
After skipping a Not Eudora column for the past two weeks I am pleased to have cranked one out yesterday. It remains to be seen if it will show up in this week’s Reader. I was a little late sending it in last night and it was uncommonly long at about 300 words in excess of my typical 800. If it misses this week they can stuff it in the following week’s publication.
I won’t spill the beans and cut into the Reader’s circulation by giving the contents away just yet but here’s a visual teaser:
(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? . . .
Just in case anyone reading my previous post skipped over the link to my latest column in the Duluth Reader I’m providing another chance to read it here.
I am always annoyed to discover that my proof reading missed something and, especially with something gone to print. In the case of this column I am missing an article……a darned “a.” That was after about seven rereadings sessions to edit it. Pshaw!!
For Thanksgiving, This week’s Not Eudora column in the Reader:
And I didn’t mention my matchbook collection that disappeared shortly after my parents found me in a closet or my photograph collection or bottle cap collection or picture postcards or the agates I began accumulating after moving to Duluth.
Harry Welty’s Suicide
This column is out in the Duluth Reader’s latest volume. I will link to it when it makes it to their website.
Peace sign cuff links made for me by my Uncle Frank, a Korean War Veteran.
“I just read a short biographical story about Robert Mueller III which described how he earned a bronze star and a purple heart in Vietnam. The story briefly contrasted Meuller and the draft dodging Donald Trump. It described how Trump has often joked that avoiding STD’s in the 1980’s was “his Vietnam,” and how his constant pursuit of sex marked him as very brave soldier. Both men are five years my senior and reached draft age before the war turned sour.”
NOTE: Yeah I see it now. It should be “a…
very brave soldier.”
My latest Not Eudora column.
Yes, I lost a reader due to too much emphasis on the state of black America. My departed reader assured me that I had obviously been subjected to too much propaganda. Well, true to form the first of the New York Times pieces I will link to is about America’s new holocaust museum in Alabama. Duluth will be sending a delegation to this memorial as our infamous lynching is part of its story. If its mention of the treatment of an angry young wife who railed at her husband’s murderers is propaganda……well, I will continue to subject my readers to it.
The other article was a review of the book written by a reporter who covered Hillary Clinton for ten years right up to her defeat at the hands of Donald Trump.
And this same author separately explains the advice she was given before writing a book. It was: read lots of books. Since I keep putting off authoring my own book/books I found the advice sensible.
And last night I sent in my next column to the Duluth Reader’s Submissions email. The column will be titled: Swallowing Ham’s Sandwich. I can’t link to it yet but it begins:
The story of Noah’s Ark begins in chapter six of Genesis. My grandsons would tell me that Chapter six was afraid of Chapter 7 for good reason. Why? Because 7-8-9.
Whatever Happened to the Magnificent Seven
Thanks to the Reader for the nice graphic.
In 1966, at age 16, I discovered pop music which was then a witch’s brew of pop, country, and rock about to go their separate ways. One of my early favorites was a song by the Statler Brothers “Flowers on the Wall.” It was about a guy who was dumped by his girlfriend. In the lyrics the fellow claims not to mind “playing solitaire alone with a deck of 51.” Seven years later, after the horrors of 1968 and Vietnam, the Statlers – now confirmed red necks – sang a new song that pined for the days of rugged cowboy heroes. I couldn’t stand it. The lyrics and chorus began:
You can read it all here.
I just got my computer out of the Geek Squad’s hands. It had been acting up. Just in time to link it to my latest Not Eudora Column in the Reader – Pardon Mon French which begins:
I am attempting to learn to speak my first foreign language three years short of my “three score and ten.” Why I am, is not as interesting to me as the how. French wouldn’t even have been my first pick. That would have been Spanish. As a kid I knew that more nations close to the U.S. spoke Spanish than any other language after the era of colonization. It also had a reputation of being an easier language to learn.
I spelled “Boche” wrong. I discovered that last night in the subtitles of the 1937 film The Grand Illusion.
As in Casablanca it had a stirring scene of the French singing the Marseilles to Germans who had power over them but it was an anti-war film not one pushing anyone to join a war. It was a sad cry from the French to avoid a war that would break out just two years later.
…from today’s Duluth Reader The Wayning of America.
A recent New York Times story explained how the Arizona Legislature came up with millions to begin teaching what some critics call “dead white man’s history” in the halls of the godless public universities.
…and regarding my previous post – I’ve changed my mind. I won’t add anything else. Hopefully they got my eight loyal readers cogitating without any additional help from me.
It made it to this week’s Reader. It begins:
I stopped in a used bookstore in Bullhead City, Arizona, last week and found about 25,000 mostly paperback books. I asked for the nonfiction section and was directed to four shelves containing perhaps 100 books. If the lion’s share of romances, westerns and thrillers in that store reflect our psyches, perhaps it’s no wonder Donald Trump looked like a sure bet to a lot of voters. I removed 4 percent of the store’s history books at two bucks a pop and read half of one of one book, “Fierce Patriot,” on my overnight flights back to Duluth.
The heading I proposed as the title for my column today in the Duluth Reader was “Not Eudora Redux”. The editors chose another for me: “Poor thinking a tough nut to crack”. Its not what I would have chosen but oh, how true it is.
I’ve been talking to Bob Boone off and on since after I took a photograph of a dead Palestinian during my Peace Studies Class in the Holy Land. I thought my post in Lincolndemocrat.com on this lesson in Peace might make a good column – maybe several. But Mr. Boone is a man with too many distractions, so nothing came of it although he did let on that it wasn’t a bad idea. Continue reading
I’ve been talking to Bob Boone off and on since after I took a photograph of a dead Palestinian …… Wait a minute. This would make a pretty good column. Sorry. You will have to wait to see if the Reader will print if first. If not. I’ll publish it here.
My Reader Column Published January 4, 2018
Word has it that the Duluth News Tribune will no longer have an education reporter starting this January. Jana Hollingsworth is to be retired because her aunt, Jill Lofald, is about to be seated on the School Board. The conflict of interest supposedly justifies the stepped-back coverage but I think it’s more a matter of economy. I remember the 20-page News section from 43 years ago densely packed as though white space was a crime. The Trib in the days of Watergate was where locals got their news. Today an entire Trib from sections A to D rarely exceeds 15 of their much smaller pages.
It was still that way when I was elected in 1995. The News Tribune had three education reporters and their editors gave them lots of scope to poke sticks at our board and superintendent. During Julio Almanza’s time at the helm, two of them sat in the superintendent’s office glowering for an hour until he grudgingly handed over a proposal to close five elementary schools.
For the past four years Jana has had to shoulder that responsibility alone. If a big story does pop up, someone is sure to attend a few meetings. I suspect that big story will be the district falling into bankruptcy or Statutory Operating Debt. I offered my condolences to the newly elected board members at my final meeting and suggested that they begin researching that law. It’s happened before.
I ran for the school board in 1989, 1991 and 1993, losing each time. During this period the district fell into SOD, which may help explain my winning in a fourth attempt. I came on board during Superintendent Mark Myles’ era when he was forced to make a great many unpopular budget cuts. That alone did not get us out of the frying pan.
In 1993 Minnesota passed a law to avoid being taken to court by poor school districts desperate for funding. The poor districts were angry that the Legislature was backing away from 1971’s “Minnesota Miracle.” I was in college when that school funding law was passed and wrote a paper on it for my State and Local Government class. It was passed by a long-extinct bipartisan legislature and poured state money into property-poor school districts. The miracle did not last.
Freed from raising local taxes, school boards were quick to raise their spending. Two fiercely competitive teachers’ unions, the AFT and the NEA, competed to see which of them could bring about the most local teachers’ strikes in a bid to gain new locals. I witnessed this in the mid ‘70s as a teacher in the Proctor Schools.
And the fiscal brakes had come off school boards. In the old days, local school boards were mostly composed of tax-averse businessmen and farmers. Once the state could be counted on to finance 70 percent of public education, school boards lost the appetite to fight off strikes. They knew that state taxpayers would pay the lion’s share of their costs.
There were other reasons for farmers and businessmen to avoid local office. Board member Dr. George Balach’s dental practice was boycotted (unofficially) by angry teachers and took a huge hit emotionally and financially. Who needs that?
Although I lost the 1993 election, I pulled off one success. I talked candidate Bob Mars into supporting an “excess levy.” The legislature had sweetened the pot and was willing to give Duluth $3 for every $1 Duluth voters approved. It was an easy sell, especially when Bob got all the other candidates to promise to spend all the new state dollars on building a reserve equal to 10 percent of our annual operating costs. It took about three years to go from a deficit to a $10 million reserve.
Anyone looking for a similar easy fix in 2018 will be disappointed. The state no longer matches our increased local taxes. Where did all those reserves go?
Starting in 2006, new Superintendent Keith Dixon charmed the pants off flinty, tight-fisted, Chamber of Commerce types to build schools we could be proud of. His astonishingly inexperienced school board caught the spirit of those heady days before the 2008 housing crash. Even as that crisis unfolded, Dixon’s school board increased the cost of the building plan by 25 percent against the loud protests of my organization, Let Duluth Vote.
The district was like a small child whose mouth was too big for its stomach. It spent down $30 million of reserves. It laid off teachers in the hundreds. It eliminated its vital Curriculum Department. It ended its generous busing. This would not have been necessary if the board had honestly raised the taxes to pay for the Red Plan’s full costs. However, in the face of criticism the board, perhaps cluelessly, chose instead to cannibalize its operating budget. Today only $2.5 million of the local levy goes into the classroom while $28.5 million pays for the Red Plan.
When the editors of the News Tribune interviewed me for a possible endorsement, I honestly acknowledged that I played a part in the resulting disaster. I’m not sure I made it clear to the editors that my only role was in frightening the school board away from raising taxes. Of course, the editors have never acknowledged that they failed to grasp, let alone report, the looming deficits. As we head, once again, into Statutory Operating Debt the reporterless News Tribune will be flying blind. It won’t be the first time.
By the way. My successors on the school board chose a new set of captains at tonight’s organizational meeting. Sadly, their most education savvy colleague, Alanna Oswald, was frozen out despite a lot of talk a lot about economizing.
Harry Welty is a local eccentric who also pontificates at www.lincolndemocrat.com.
Tonight I decided to look through old scribblings of mine thinking that I might be able to cobble a book together for use in a possibly nefarious activity in the near future. I discovered a 2002 column I had written for the Duluth Reader during my four-year stint as a columnist. The column presaged the email I’ve been receiving for the past couple weeks from students and parents trying to save the zero hour.
In 2001 I labored long and hard to pass an operational levy. It was an uphill fight. I remember PTA President Judy Seliga-Punyko telling me that she wouldn’t vote for it. She was mad that the school board hadn’t acted on my idea to slim down from three high schools to two high schools. I thought her reasoning was nuts. The following year after the failure of the levy we put an end to the seven period day. Years later Judy’s memory of the loss of the seven periods involved my being on the School Board when it happened so that I could take the blame. She had no memory of voting against the referendum that would have allowed us to keep it.
Well, I’ve pasted the last half of the column below which deals with the Union’s crocodile tears about having lost the extra period. The column begins with my mulling over another run for the legislature in the 2002 election. I eventually did run and lost – one of my thirteen electoral defeats. I think its 13. Its hard to remember them all.
Here’s what I wrote about the “seven period day.” Or, if you’d like, you can read the whole original column:
Last week I bumped into my old nemesis Frank Wanner, the teachers’ union president, a fellow who helped put me in the minority. While my feud with Frank was put to bed two years ago my feud with the folks he helped elect lives on. Well, it’s true that one of them was defeated last year, but the three-high school supporters still have more votes. Frank was very cordial and suggested that we get together. I promised to call.
The next day I had to leave a message with him because he was holding a press conference about saving the seven-period day. I sure wish he’d done this before we finished registering students for a six-period day! When my wife saw him on the news she said, “No wonder Frank was so friendly!” The next day I left another message for Frank.
The weekend was blissfully free of politics (except for some email) until we joined friends for an Easter Dinner. Our friend’s son is interested in political science. He told me that Frank likes to bad mouth SUVs in class. Apparently my website gets discussed too. That explains some of my email.
Frank called me back on Monday and we agreed to meet at Bixby’s. I told Frank that I’d heard that he hated SUV’s. He smiled and asked where I’d heard this. I told him that I had my sources.
We talked about his seven-period day proposal which he assured me was not a negotiations ploy. I prefer to take him at his word. The DFT wants high school students to be able to take up to seven classes a day. Many students, teachers and parents are convinced that this is a key to getting into their preferred colleges. Whether it is or not the six-period day is our response to financial hard times. I told Frank what I keep telling the Board – if we had two high schools we could keep seven periods. Frank didn’t disagree. Ah! But I’m in the minority!
If I could just get elected to the legislature maybe I could do something about school finance. I’m sure not having much luck on the school board.