Free Speech could get you killed

A blog called slog has been encouraging folks to do this:

The reason. The take-on-all-comers Southpark cartoon has just lampooned Islam by skirting around an ancient Islamic taboo. Borrowed from the Jewish prohibition against worship sacred objects the Koran forbids any ANY artistic representation of anything lest it become an object of worship…….So you could manufacture a lexus but not draw it. It goes without saying that if there was anything short of God that it would be sacrilege to draw it would be the prophet Muhammed.

South Park had a cartoon devoted to this and kept Muhammad out of camera range but placing him out of sight by such sleight of hand as putting him in a bear suit. Extremists have called for the death of the cartoons creators just as they have the Danish cartoonist who some claim to have drawn Mohammed with a bomb in his turban.

Southpark is very funny for those who are young and impossible to offend. I laugh heartily when I watch it but while I my sort of cartoon humor took shape in the Rocky and Bullwinkle Era.

I am however very offended by the threat of assassination for the cause of punishing humorists and thinkers.

A quarter century ago when the newly empowered Ayatollah’s of Iran called for the assassination of Salman Rushdie for writing a book that took liberties with early Islamic stories I was outraged myself. I penned an outraged letter calling for support for Rushdie and sent it to the student senates of about 100 of America’s largest colleges. In the day before the Internet this was a considerable little project and the postage and printing was close to a hundred bucks.

It was the age of Reagan and sleepy politics on college campuses. Everyone wanted to be a Michael Keaton from Family Ties and his soft headed liberal father was a joke. No one responded and I ended up feeling naive. Too bad I didn’t have Southpark’s panache.

As long as Islam is a minority religion in America Ill be reluctant to joke at Mohammed’s expense mostly because I don’t like picking on the powerless.

Go Cartman!

Red Plan haste lays waste

A raft of unfavorable publicity has affixed itself to Woodland Middle School. This is today’s black mark. Its not a healthy sign. And the recent story about the new math curriculum makes it sound as though it must be funded at the expense of other operational spending. We have to rob Peter to pay Paul but Paul may never get reimbursed if we have to pay the Piper.

Note this paragraph:

The money to pay for the books — Math Expressions for K-5 and Big Ideas Math for grades 6-8 — was taken from money budgeted for technology improvements within the district, Superintendent Keith Dixon said.

It would never occur to our Superintendent to rob JCI or the Red Plan to pay for this new curriculum.

If they build it . . .

From the Apr. 15th Timberjay not the Field of Dreams.
It begins:

Enrollment gap raises questions about school plan

School district faces significant enrollment shortfall in the north based on projections developed by JCI

By Marshall Helmberger

If they build it, will they come?

That’s the question that will likely decide the future success or failure of the St. Louis County School District’s restructuring plan. Particularly in the north, the school district’s plan to build a new school five miles north of Cook and to convert the Tower-Soudan School to an elementary only has sparked widespread opposition.

I don’t believe this is the piece I wanted to post but I thank my readers for looking this up for me and bringing it to my attention.

The future of the St. Louis County schools

JCI may end up causing the dissolution of a school district. Due to lost email I can’t find the link to the Timberjay story and the DNT is so busy wearing horse blinders that I don’t expect it to report the story.The upshot is this: JCI’s plan to do to the County Schools what its doing to the Duluth Schools has led to a secession movement up north. Again I’m out of the loop and soaking up the sun in Florida so I’ll report on this at a later date.

(Yeah, I know, Duluth has got sun in spades too but without rain it will probably just lead to major forest fires)

JCI a target of Duluth’s legislative agenda

I’m in Florida for a few days visiting family. My head has been elsewhere so I’ve missed a few chances to harp on my favorite old gripes.

I can’t find the news story on the DNT site that caught my eye a week ago or so. If I found it I’d probably have to pay for it but it includes a reference to this story about a pending settlement on JCI’s ripoff of the City over its retrofitting of the Steam Plant. Now the City has a legislative proposal to curb JCI and others when they promise energy savings that don’t materialize.

My guess is that JCI’s unpopularity gives the City some small leverage over JCI and they got something out of the company over the steam plant which was made possible because JCI doesn’t need any more light shined on it while the Red Plan proceeds.

One week ago to the minute

I’ve posted little again this week. Its not that I haven’t had some zingers to bestow its that this week marks the conclusion of a couple two-year long family crises. Its been hard to focus on anything else while I had to shepherd them to a conclusion.

One week ago at 1:30 in the morning I was in a Richfield, Minnesota hotel room with my family unable to sleep. Just like tonight. I snuck out of the hotel room with my laptop intent on doing some posting. When I got down the the hotel lobby I changed my mind. It was a beautiful night and I’d spent too many days cooped up with the computer to want to stay up till all hours hunched over the computer yet again. So I took a walk.

Why it took me a week to write about it I don’t know. I miss writing and its a sort of interesting anecdote. So, I’ll write about it now under the “Harry’s Diary” category. Continue reading

Katyn Forest

Few people reading or hearing about the plane crash that killed 93 leaders of Poland probably know much about the historical event that they flew into Russia to commemorate. I found a number of sites that explained the event. This one is from the CIA, Yup, the Central intelligence Agency. This one is probably not contaminated but the most of the first twenty google hits that showed up all warned of dire Internet infections that could result should I be foolish enough to enter them. Most of the websites advertised pictures of the exhumation of 4,500 Poles.

The Poles in question were the top echelon of Polish society – military and political. They were murdered on Joseph Stalin’s orders after Stalin’s agreement with Adolph Hitler, the Non Aggression Pact, to divide Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. I wonder who would be taking it upon themselves to warn people off looking at these pictures? Possibly its Russian nationalists who don’t want Russia’s dirty secrets made too available.

When Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and invaded he had Stalin’s victims exhumed and the story publicized to embarass Stalin and make it harder for the world to sympathize with the Russians as his Panzers rushed to conquer Stalin’s socialist utopia.

When I was little I found and kept a scrapbook my Father made about the early years of WW II before he himself enlisted in the Navy. He was fascinated with the war in the way a historian was fascinated by current events. On a trip to Poland before the fall of the Berlin Wall he was listening to a Polish, (communist) tour guide talk about the destruction of Warsaw by the Germans when the Russians reinvaded Poland. The Guide made it clear the Germans did the dirty work. When my Father pointed out that the Russians were close enough to save Warsaw and put an end to the destruction but held back to let the Germans finish the destruction the Polish guide grimly agreed.

He was a communist but he was also a Pole.

American communists who were bought and paid for by Staliln’s Russia defended the much reviled Non Aggression Pact.” They never lived their toadying of Stalin’s party line down. Nothing should have more humiliated a good communist than a pact with a fascist devil. But buy into the Pact they did. They didn’t dare second guess the Communist Party’s great leader Joseph Stalin.

The silence of communists at the beginning of World War II is not that surprising. People are afraid to bite the hand that feeds them. Just look how Republicans suffered the bloating of the national budget under President Bush with gritted teeth. Look how they mocked Republican Congressman Ron Paul for warning against getting involved in foreign wars that were none of our business. Hypocrisy runs rampant in the GOP today. Oh, I know Vic, give it a little time and the same thing will true of the Democrats.

Before the fall of the Soviet Union no Russian would have dared admit what happened in Katyn Forest. How ironic that seventy years later it should once again be the site of the decapitation of Poland’s military and political leadership.

Anne Frank and a sense of proportion

Ten years ago I bought the newly published “definitive” unexpurgated version of Anne Frank’s diary. It got lost on my bookshelves with many other books I’ve meant to read but got lost behind other books that jumped on my shelves.

Before publishing the diary after it was given him Anne’s Father prudently edited out his deceased daughter’s impolitic but honest observations that would have offended the polite sensibilities of his age – sensibilities which did not prevent her death in a great mass murder.

A couple weeks ago I stumbled on the original 1960’s Hollywood treatment of Anne on one of the movie channels. By today’s standards it was a little saccharine but not badly so. It was based on the early version of the Diary available to the reading public.

Last night I was dog tired after six hours of yard work and gardening when to my dismay I remembered that the latest PBS telling of Anne’s story was about to be shown. I didn’t think I could stay awake to watch it. Not a problem.

This Anne Frank was less saintly, alarmingly self knowing and far too often a self centered pill. then again she was thirteen/fourteen when she was crammed for two years into an attic with a lot of strangers. I wept at the end for her loss which I did not do when watching the 1960’s Anne Frank.

For the time being this blog is primarily dedicated to exposing the depredations of the clueless do-gooders who stole our right to vote in Duluth. We will get excessively expensive and in some cases unnecessary schools for our troubles. Our bodies won’t be shoved into a crematorium or bulldozed into a pit with thousands of others as a result of our loss.

Sinking Sand

The unpublished post of mine referred to previously was prompted by this story.

Now there’s this story.

Before that there was this story and …………….

You get my point. Andrew Sullivan who has been ripping on the ….. his Catholic Church for some months gave perhaps the most cogent defense of the current Pope as the too slavish bad cop for his predecessor. Yup, John Paul II will always be remembered for helping bring Communism to its knees. Apparently he did it by ignoring a lot of priests who were already too familiar with that position.

If you are outraged by this perhaps a little incivility in the form of black humor will help bring some balance back to your psyche. Here’s one aspirin. What ever Catholic parent needs and here’s a second from SouthPark. The latter was part of that unpublished post which was prompted by the letter to the DNT’s editor from Father Partika who pretty regularly lets it be known that people like me are baby killers. If you want to read the unfinished post I referred to you can do so now. Continue reading

How firm a foundation


Sent me a link to the latest MoDo column. Vic has a bit of a love-hate relationship with Dowd. I suspect he sent me this one because he agrees with it as do I.

Not being catholic I’m not a good person to take swings at the new Pope although a couple days ago I wrote a longish post that needed editing and which I’m still sitting on.

This one begins with an observation about women that nicely ties into the observation I made in the previous post about my wife’s role in our family and the larger economy. It starts with women’s loyalty to the sexually stunted Saudi Arabian regime which will never make a first rate nation until such time as women are integrated into the economy instead of being treated as chattel. It then proceeds into the Catholic churches misogynistic paternalism that has pitted sexual predators against children with the latter losing out.

And all this ties into my recent local crusade because in each case supporters of Saudia Arabia’s royal politics, the Catholic Church’s Papcy and the Duluth School District’s School Superintendency are being asked to avert their eyes from dirty little secrets and lies for some greater good.

The Nazarene would have noted that such support is founded on sand.

Unemployment today

From the Daily Beast’s Reihan Salam

[W]ithout trivializing the psychic trauma involved, there’s no getting around the fact that it is in many respects much easier to be unemployed now than it was in the Reagan-Volcker era. And if that’s true, “blaming” President Obama for a high unemployment rate seems faintly absurd. Is it the president’s fault that Americans are better off than they were 30 years ago, and are thus not desperate to take whatever job that comes along? […] This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for society. One can imagine workers using an extended spell of unemployment as an opportunity to gain new skills and to spend time with loved ones.

Having been largely “unemployed” myself for a very long time this rings true. My two Grandfather’s faced bouts of unemployment in the 1930’s and 1940’s that gave them depression, migraine headaches, anxiety attacks and in one case a fatal heart attack.

My most immediate family’s bread winner has been my wife. This has caused me some embarrassment but I’m almost sixty and I still seem to have my good health while leaving me time to fight for some good civic causes.

Im Palin

A good not so tongue-in-cheek assessment of the GOP’s porcine lipsticked one.

One blogger I ran across who has been interviewing young GOP activists noted that lots of them know the nonsense their Party elders are spouting is just that, nonsense, but that they prefer it to responsible but unpopular and politically incorrect rational management of the US in the wake of the near melt down of the world’s economy. Heck, they can even cheer on economic collapse in hopes of picking up all the pieces afterward. They might not get the chance. A lot of the worlds most evil leaders swept aside their milquetoasty opponents during various crisis and instituted horrendous regimes.

Sensible “conservative” American leaders have been afraid of the mob ever since the French Revolution. Today’s GOP “conservatives” are rooting for the mob from the sidelines.

The GOP will kick butt in 2010?????

My old sparring partner Vic sent me this political analysis from the erstwhile GOP strategist, Dick Morris, who helped elect Bill Clinton President: Essentially Morris says that Democrats are toast.

What the hell, Harry. You can switch from being a Lincoln Democrat, to being a Lincoln Republican.

Morris is still angry with Clinton because he was canned by Bill at Hillary’s insistence for something on the order of letting his prostitute girlfriend listen in on private White House phone calls. He’s still smarmy but that doesn’t necessarily mean his analysis is faulty. In this case I think it is and I sent Vic this reply:


If I could just be in the Lincoln party that would be great.

Morris like Rove, Carville, Lee Atwater, Ham Jordon, and others before him has had his day in the sun getting a president elected. Today Morris is just part of the GOP echo chamber. His role today is cheer leading the Republicans out of hiding. Continue reading

JCI ethics award?????

Several allies alerted me to this addition to the ISD 709 website many months ago as the District battled the perception that JCI was ripping Duluth off.

I viewed the website the District linked to with considerable suspicion but was too busy to pursue it. I’m still too busy but another friend sent the link to me again for my reaction. A quick check seems to confirm most of my early skepticism. There are a lot of bogus organizations paid for by special interests that hand out copious awards to Congressmen and Senators for awards meant only to get cheap press attention. Its a great way for a business to ingratiate itself to powerful people. I can find little information about Ethisphere. I’d really like to know who pays for it. My guess is that the companies receiving the awards are generous donors. In return they can trumpet their awards for high ethical standards whenever a Harry Welty type shows up to complain about them.

For most of my hour of “research” I simply typed in the name of the company with the word “complaint.” This usually resulted in pages of uncomplimentary and damning information. Honestly, any big company will have someone after it for something. But most of the companies I googled in this way seem too have a history of pissing a lot of people off.

This is the Ethisphere Council’s list of companies receiving their ethics awards in 2007. It would take a day to google each one but I checked out a six of their 92 award winners. What I found suggests that this is a bullshit award. Oh the Ethishhpere folks hand out awards to companies with some good reputations like Berkshire Hathaway but it had to to give the award some credibility as cover for their less deserving awards. I’m pretty familiar with this kind of scam because lots of pseudo trade organizations are created by US Industries to hand out faux awards to Congressman. It gives the Congressman free publicity and usually the only papers that will print the garbage are the small rural weeklies who are starved for news.

Here’s the Ethisphere’s first awardee a secretive privately held company that is a very curious recipient of such an award because there is so little to base it on as so little has been reported about it:


This is the lease damning page on a company that I’ve included. The other six companies cause some serious eyebrow raising: Continue reading

The District is “above the law”

As you’ve read here before the District is planning to carve a statist quote from the 4th Century slave holder Diogenes to the effect that force feeding our children an education will be good for our national security. Why must the District proceed? Well, if it doesn’t they will have wasted (shudder) $5,000. Its nice to know the District is finally getting serious about chump change.

From Kerry Leider’s “we can’t wait for the City” letter to School Board members

. . . . The District is requesting the City Council reverse the March 23, 2010 decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals in the matter of File Number 10004. It is my understanding there is City action underway to amend the zoning code for signs to possibly allow such inscription on public buildings.

Unfortunately, the production of these carved panels cannot wait Continue reading

Meanwhile at JCI’s other Duluth embarrassment

From the DNT’s Saturday April 4th Front Page Story on the Steam Plan rip off.

Johnson Controls guaranteed to produce actual savings of $6.23 million in energy and operational costs over the 15-year term of the contract, according to the city’s attorney, Donald Erickson of Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick. And if such savings aren’t reached, Johnson Controls is required to guarantee the difference.

Erickson said the city expects its savings will fall $3.75 million short based on the steam plant’s calculation of a $250,000 shortfall the first year multiplied by 15 years.

Meanwhile at JCI’s northern embarrassment

And from the Timberjay: The latest on JCI’s foul ups up North.

A sample:

And that’s if everything goes well, which so far it hasn’t. Representatives of Johnson Controls clearly viewed the conditional use permit application process as a slam-dunk, but they’ve since found out that some members of the planning commission actually listen to local concerns. It’s possible the school district may not be able to move forward at all with its plan for a new school in the north. And that would be a blessing in disguise, because it would give ISD 2142 time to confront some hard realities.

Duluth’s “Mega Project”

I doubt that I would have read today’s pro/con guest editorials about How the US should handle our money if I hadn’t been reading the paper this morning at the Lighthouse for the Blind on their radio station for the visually impaired. I mostly agreed with the “liberal” commentator Paul Martin about how the government, specifically federal government undertakes spending that private enterprise would avoid. But this paragraph made me grin:

Rather than rail against tax burdens on business, consider how private enterprise thrives hand-in-hand with government. Millions of seniors who would otherwise be financially insecure are allowed by Social Security and Medicare to remain active consumers of goods and services. “Entitlement” is not a dirty word. Veterans’ benefits, unemployment payments, Stafford loans and Pell grants, and even funds for the Duluth Mega Project flow directly back into the economy.

OK! The Red Plan is a project that will have the multiplier effect of injecting local money into the economy. Let’s treat the reality that its mostly going to Twin Cities contractors where it will do little for are taxpayers ias being beside the point. The funny thing is Mr. Martin’s ten foot pole description of it. The” Mega Project?”

For crying out loud, Its the Red Plan. Its the school construction plan. Its big, all right, at nearly half a billion dollars but hiding it behind a non description serves only to remind people how unpopular, anti-democratic, and dim witted so much of it is. Trying to defend it while not using its name is frankly Chicken crap.