Republicans don’t read the polls…..

…they only read tea (party) leaves.

The poll. Check that. The Polls.

A June 9 A June 9 Washington Post/ABC News poll
A June 7 Pew poll
A May 26 Lake Research poll of Colorado voters
A May 13 Bloomberg poll
A May 12 Ipsos/Reuters poll
An April 29 Gallup poll
An April 25 USC/Los Angeles Times poll
An April 22 New York Times/CBS News poll
An April 20 Washington Post/ABC News poll
An April 20 Public Religion Research Institute poll
An April 18 McClatchy-Marist poll
An April 18 Gallup poll
On April 1, Tulchin Research poll s
A March 15 ABC News/Washington Post poll
A March 2 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll
A February 15 CBS News poll
A January 20 CBS News/New York Times poll

All those missing girls

From pro-lifer Andrew Sullivan who at least has open eyes:

Let me address Mr. Douthat’s sentence: “The tragedy of the world’s 160 million missing girls isn’t that they’re “missing.” The tragedy is that they’re dead.” He might not be aware of this, but sex-selective abortion was a big scandal in India about 10-15 years ago. Since the government got involved, started campaigns, and enacted laws to restrict the practice, India has gone back to worrying about the rise in the traditional methods of female population control: female infanticide. The process by which live female children are either drowned or buried alive or poisoned or have their skulls bashed in or otherwise disposed off like so many unwanted puppies and kittens. Very common in America, I’m sure.

Giving Sullivan his due

As Minnesotans ponder whether to vote for against a Constitutional Amendment enshrining heterosexual unions of marriage I think this post of Andrew Sullivan’s is worth considering.

A little background.

Sullivan is gay. He’s a former Brit. He considers himself a “conservative” and regards the new crowd of GOP ideologues as anything but conservative. He wrote a book ten years ago arguing for letting homosexuals get married, Virtually Normal. This post comes from a gay kid who escaped Louisiana at about that time to attend college in a big eastern city. He read Sullivan’s book for a college class and another book by another gay author whose attitude was screw asking for marriage, we gays will never be accepted, lets just do what we want and to hell with the public’s disapproval.

This post is an almost stunned and reverential thank you to Sullivan for setting the bar for gays so much higher. I have to admit that ten years ago when I was running against Dougie Johnson for the State Senate and I advocated “civil unions” I would never have imagined a state legislature anywhere approving gay marriages within a decade. Its rather like the Apollo Program in its heart stopping swiftness.

Beginning of a trend?

This story suggested to me that it could be evidence of the Red Plan’s unintended but pernicious effect on our children’s education:

Duluth ninth-graders are on par with the state average when it comes to writing.

Results of a state writing test that ninth-graders must pass to graduate were released this week. About 89 percent of the Duluth school district’s ninth-graders passed the test.

The District would choose to emphasize that its results are on a par with State results. Reading a little furthur into the articles we find that last year our ninth graders were passing the reading and writing test 3 points higher at 92%.

Year by year changes of a few percentage points aren’t that big a deal. If our rate goes up a bit next year that will be the case. However, a one year three percent change should catch our attention much like the recently announced 4 inch increase in the water level of Lake Superior.

Last year we lost over a 1,000 students. Presumably they were among the students who had the most ambitious parents and were a cut above those who remained. That could account for the drop. The drop might also be accounted for in part by demoralized teachers with more children in their classrooms. Even with a new unknown Superintendent of Schools our teacher’s morale is unlikely to improve any time soon. Their classes are getting bigger and the state is delaying payments to schools and the Red Plan is going further into the Red.

It will be a year before we begin seeing any trend. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this was merely a one year blip.

How to deal with the Republican threat of …

… nuclear economic annihilation.

I have one particular critic who feels that I am bigoted against my former political party. Perhaps. I tried to explain a little light-heartedly, I am like a woman scorned. As people who have followed my tenacious, if failed, attempt to get a referendum on the Red Plan it shouldn’t surprise them that I stayed a Republican for a decade after it became obvious that the Republicans were continuing to ratchet up their purges of moderates. I always found this very ironic because it was Republicans who reveled in accusations that liberals (meaning Democrats) were politically correct or PC. Political Correctness is simply the veneration of an idea over experience.

Democrats engage in it too. In the 1970’s and 80’s Democrats drove out pro lifers in their own purges. Many of their refugees joined the GOP which had the effect of stimulating a similar purge of pro choice Republicans. Among the many ironies of the changes in the make up of our nation’s two parties is the South’s switch to the Republican Party after a century of reviling the “Party of Lincoln.” Indeed the hospitality of the Grand Old Party to southern pols has given it the appearance of the Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun. Popular Sovereignty anyone?

The purges have made the GOP, once hopefully described by Saint Reagan as a “big tent,” into a party which practices purges as mercilessly and frequently as Joseph Stalin. The GOP’s running dogs are pragmatic RINO’s. After helping the deficit skyrocket the GOP is now treating the nation’s debt ceiling as though it was the Cuban Missile Crisis. The same phenomenon is happening in Minnesota, Wisconsin and a few other Republican dominated states.

I was very interested in this post by George Bush’s old speech writer David Frum where he twits Obama for being weak in dealing with the GOP as they flirt with Armegeddon.

Obama is of course being reasonable. I think its time for him to be as unreasonable as the GOP. Frum had a suggestion that I think Obama would be well advised to put it into effect. I would recommend it to Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton over allowing the state to be shut down if, that is, the state constitution gives him the power to exercise this option:

Beyond that why isn’t he [Obama] yelling his head off about the Republican default threat? Why isn’t he being specific about what it could mean? And why isn’t he doing what Lyndon Johnson would do, making it clear that if H-Hour does arrive, he’ll use disbursement power just as politically as Republicans are using the power of the debt ceiling: eg, paying Medicaid bills from Blue states first, Red states later? Paying farmers and other Republican constituencies with IOUs, while hoarding cash for Democratic voters?

If nothing else, Obama could make the threat. It would give a few Republicans an excuse to be pragmatists in the face of their party’s inflexible dogma.

Area Voices

I thought I’d add the first comment to the Trib story on the additional money needed for the Red Plan. Sadly the link does not allow anyone to do so. Sadly, there is no easy way to hunt down the Area Voices master to alert him/her that the page is dysfunctional. Sadly, I’ve already forgotten what tart comment I had in mind. I’m sure it was something clever like “Told you so!”


You can read the extended Trib coverage of the additional monies needed and approved (apparently) for the Red Plan here:

While Dixon would have liked to ask for the money in late fall when the community has seen the five newest schools, he said, he wanted to take responsibility for the project that came to fruition under his tenure.

This just in…….

… courtesy of a friendly email:

SB mtg going on now. Ch 10 says the news is that due to a long list of reasons, the RP will cost another $15m but Dixon doesn’t think it will raise taxes.

The reporter said something about savings at other sites could be used…And he wishes he could address the board later but he only has 3 days left.

Good time to depart with his bonus for good work. I’m sure his loyal board members will laud his vision in his absence. And there’s this follow up email:

“And about 15,000 square feet has been added to most school plans because of requests from special education, community groups and others.”

Its funny how JCI justified the Red Plan by telling us we had to get rid of all our excess space. With ten or more percent of our student population gone and with all this extra space I hope we can afford to heat our new Red Plan buildings.

Evidently we’re being told we can keep building the Red Plan buildings despite being fifteen million short. 100 kids to a classroom should probably do the trick.

Its all the State legislature’s fault.

Here’s WDIO’s story on Dixon’s folly.

ED = Eminent Dysfunction

I rarely contribute to the DNT’s online comment section. Everybody pretty much knows what I think. But I do read them every so often. The latest comment in this particular “discussion” makes me wince.

The Red Plan: It has been nearly three years since we sold our house to the ISD 709. That house still sits empty. We could of lived in that house all that time paying taxes or at the minimum paying rent to the ISD 709 until it would of been bulldozed for a parking lot. We were told it was scheduled for demolition in 4/09, it is now 6/11.We now pay taxes in another state. Eminent Domain took our house & lost tax revenue for the government. Please enjoy your future asphalt parking lot.

George Balach on Dixon

Succinct and pithy:

On Keith Dixon: things to remember. He was offered the job when preferred candidates withdrew. He came from Faribault, Minn., where controversy was apparent.

Recognition of the need for two high schools was evident 20 years ago and had reached a level of grudging acceptance by Dixon’s arrival. The difference being 20 years ago Central would have remained a viable middle school and a focus for the central core.

Former state Rep. Mike Jaros’s referendum legislation bypassing a citizen vote was never intended for this type of project; Jaros said so himself and was duly ignored.

Johnson Controls has a mixed record for predicting results (see Duluth Steam Plant, city of Ely and St. Louis County). Though not a construction company, it was placed in charge of the projects, only to add construction managers to the cost and shovel local money to metro contractors.

Duluth taxpayers spent millions on Duluth schools over the years. Maintenance wasn’t ignored; in fact, it was planned for.

Duluth taxpayers support referendums. The district continues to have budget problems but Dixon’s leadership with board cooperation has created an atmosphere where operational levies will be difficult, if not impossible, to pass.

If Dixon leaves the area, he’ll avoid the continuing increase in property taxes he leaves as his legacy to Duluth.

Finally, a question to ponder: Did Dixon’s tenure result in a noticeably positive result in Duluth’s educational performance?

George Balach


The writer was a Duluth School Board member from 1988 to 2000.

70 teachers kaput

Impressive. Plus 13 teachers with reduced hours. Is there anybody left to reelect Frank Wanner President of the teacher’s union? Dr. Dixon will leave unmourned except for the mortar holding his new schools together.

Some rueful thoughts on:

The board voted to approve the layoffs 5-2 with members Gary Glass and Art Johnston opposing the measure. Glass and Johnston maintain that the district could put money saved from consolidating schools into classrooms, but the district has long budgeted that money to help buy down the debt of the long-range facilities plan.

Oh, So the Red Plan allowed us tremendous “savings” so that we could pay for the buildings not maintain decent student teacher ratios?

“This is a devastating blow,” Duluth Federation of Teachers President Frank Wanner told the News Tribune. “These are real people who can’t pay mortgages. Real people with families. Some of these teachers have been here for 14, 16 years. You work hard and you get the rug pulled out from under you.”

A little late to wake up to Dr. Dixon’s priorities Frank.

In a phone interview Wanner said teacher morale is “terrible” and that some are upset with lawmakers aiming to take money away from education. Class sizes are too big, he said. At Central High School this year, he said, there were classes with 40 or more students.

I’ve been waiting for years for a single teacher to speak up and describe the true state of teacher morale.

The board also approved its 2012 budget, which accounts for $6 million in reductions and allows for about a one-student increase in the student-to-teacher staffing ratio. Next year’s general fund is about $94.5 million

The student teacher ratio will continue to deteriorate.

Its going to get worse.

I’ve downplayed the role of state government in the Red Plan calamity for a year or two now but there is no question we picked a really crumby time to put all our eggs in the building basket. We can expect no favors from the state any time soon.

We may soon learn what Chip is worth…

…as a long time reader of Lincolndemocrat sent the Congressman a link to my post on the subject. The reader simply put the link in the feedback portion of the Congressman’s website and sent me a picture of the Congressman’s website thanking the constituent for the input with a promise to get back with the answer.

I know that several DNT employees read my website regularly to see how badly I mock their poor old periodical. Since their paper endorsed Chip I’m sure they will be sure to let the editors know what the answer is. I’m sure the paper will want full disclosure from their endorsee. I know I do.

The arrogance and ignorance of JCI

In a well thought out analysis of the disaster brought about by JCI and its kept school board in the St. Louis County Schools a Minneapolis Attorney describes 8 failures of the JCI plan. This is the last of them:

#8. If ISD 2142 does not get students from both Tower and Orr/Nett Lake into the new school, property taxes are going up – for the entire district. This will mean Orr-area residents who do not live on the reservation, and Tower residents whose children and neighbors will be going to Ely, will be looking at increased property taxes. Those taxes will be going to pay for a school that will be enrolling mostly Cook children. This is not going to go over very well.

How much is Chip worth?

Darned if I know.

I read a piece that said that 30% of the Tea Party Congressman owed a lot of money, credit card debt etc. I went to the Congressional website where you are supposed to be able to find out how much Congressman are worth. This information is required in order to find out what conflicts of interest they might have. Nada on Cravaack.

I read Jim Oberstar’s financial reports when I ran against him in 2006. He was worth something like seven million. I had to file my own reports to run. They were a major headache and my wife was not happy having to reveal her finances. Did Chip skip disclosure? If so, poop on him. He has the help of the whole Republican establishment to file the damn reports. I had to figure mine out by myself. It was worse than doing my income taxes.