Good night

I’ve had a good run on the blog this month. Lots more readers than usual. I’ll keep posting on the Duluth Schools but not nearly as much. There is a fair chance that all the Red Plan school board members on the ballot this fall will be defeated. Trick comment. That’s only one candidate.

A friend at church told me that she got my letter yesterday. It was a fundraising letter for the person who assured that I didn’t have to file. Hooray! Each of the 1200 recipients had already donated financially a couple years ago to the fight for a vote on the Red Plan. It should give my candidate a leg up.

Once again I’ll get back to my long deferred project with only occasional forays into School Board electioneering. I think the Thugs for Better Schools IV and V posts that I had planned will be scrubbed. I’ve got other things to do.

Oh, and the DNT expose of Duluth’s cheesy Doctors…….Where the hell was their expose on the Red Plan? Talk about greed and victims!

“once-in-a-lifetime” emails to Duluth’s school board…

…asking for more Red Plan goodies with suspiciously similar verbiage: There have been about 25 of these in the past two weeks. Its a groundswell:

I support ISD 709 adding additional options to the LRFP. I understand that this is a commitment by the community to get many of the needed upgrades and additions not included in the current plans. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we cannot pass up. Communities across Duluth will benefit from passing this additional funding.” Lets get Duluth schools on par with other schools who have green space and great sports complexes. Thank you for your time.

C. T.

I wanted to add my support for the ISD 709 additional options of the LRFP. I understand that this is a commitment by the community to get many of the needed upgrades and additions not included in the current plans. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we cannot pass up. Communities across Duluth will benefit from passing this additional funding.

Thank you,

J. and L. D_______ (not even “our”)

I support ISD 709 adding additional options to the LRFP. I understand that this is a commitment by the community to get many of the needed upgrades and additions not included in the current plans. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we cannot pass up. Communities across Duluth will benefit from passing this additional funding.” Lets get Duluth schools on par with other schools who have green space and great sports complexes. Thank you for your time. D.Q.O.

Haven’t any of these parents read about the online essay mills that will crank out a student essay for a kid too lazy to research his own assigned topic? Funny how no one asks for money for more teachers.

“Middle class welfare”

It was my corporate executive spouse who first described the “turd on the table” effect to me. Simply put its the really awful thing that is on everybody’s mind in a meeting (and who wouldn’t notice a turd on the meeting room table?) but that no one will bring up as far less pressing subjects on the agenda are ticked off. In the debt ceiling talks the turd is the baby boom. Robert Samuelson points this out. Here’s his column on the turd that my buddy sent me:

The essential budget question is how much we allow federal spending on the elderly to crowd out other national priorities. All else is subordinate. Yet, our “leaders” don’t debate this question with candor or intelligence. We have a generation of politicians cowed and controlled by AARP.

For the GOP, however, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are even more terrifying. Rush and company talked the GOP out of a short term solution that would have given them a lot of what they wanted. Instead they will take us to a budget crisis that will make solving the problems Samuelson outlines just that much harder to accomplish. We civilians, in turn, will get the pleasure of a year’s worth of partisan finger pointing until the 2112 election.

Next year I will only get to point my finger at one Congressman – mine. He can be sure I’ll give it to him.

the latest Republican to…

apologize to “entertainer” Rush Limbaugh:

Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he suggested that he might further the conservative agenda through an occasional compromise. That provoked a tirade from Rush Limbaugh, which then produced a torrent of angry e-mails and phone calls to Issa’s office. Issa quickly and publicly apologized to Limbaugh and promised only opposition to Obama. Multiply that example a thousandfold, and you have the daily dynamic of Congress.

But Rush loves Michelle Bachmann who will vote against Boener’s compromise.

Hell freezes over

No not really. It will take the Democrats and the Republicans working out a sensible federal spending/taxing plan for that to happen.

My buddy sent me this. No sharp elbows here. We both apparently agree with this old Republican war horse.

Would you run for office now?

Oh, hell, no. Now it’s just sharp elbows, and instead of having a caucus where you sit down and say, “What are you going to do for your country?” you sit figuring out how to screw the other side.

Maybe I cut the Trib too much slack…

…for their honeymoon editorial.

Here’s an email a friend sent me regarding it:

So now the DNT believes the focus should be on students, class size and education. I wish they would have gotten on board long ago with everyone else. According to them without mentioning “his” [Dixon’s] name, Foster needs to clean up the mess he left behind.

Do Trib editors ever do the math?

I only ask because their glowing endorsement of Dr. Foster has some intriguing numbers, to wit:

Dr. Foster’s Illinois district had a reported 3,200 students and 415 staff.

The Duluth District has 9,000 students and 2,000 staff.

The math I have in mind is long division, something I had difficulty with in the fifth grade. Thank God for hand calculators.

In Illinois Dr. Foster had 3,200 students divided by 415 staff or 7.7 children per public employees.

In Duluth Dr. Foster has 9,000 students divided by 2,000 staff or 4.5 children per public employee.

There’s a bit of a discrepancy here. I wonder at the implications. Did the Trib editorial Board notice?

I think this discrepency takes on even more significance since Dr. Foster has previously expressed concern about Duluth’s very large class sizes.

“Foster said one concern he sees already is the high numbers of class sizes in the district and their effect on student’s learning.”

Considering we have a lot fewer children per staff member this must indeed be very puzzling to him. I’m puzzled by it too.

No mea culpa from the Trib yet…

…for its six year effort to turn a blind eye toward Red Plan related worms.

But, at least they are giving the new guy who replaced Dixon an early honeymoon. I V’s going to have to live with Dixon’s folly.

Duluth’s new school superintendent, I.V. Foster, set a refreshing and encouraging tone this month at his very first School Board meeting. He emphasized improving student academic performance and he talked about directing resources toward narrowing the achievement gap, increasing graduation rates and reducing dropouts.

In other words, after years of angst and controversy over buildings, let’s return our focus to classrooms and to the success of all students.

Those “resources” will not include the $5 million annually that the Red Plan requires from school operations to pay for the Red Plan building bonds. If the voters haven’t recovered their good humor by a November referendum he won’t have any additional operational levy money either. We’ll see whether the Trib ends up tar and feathering Dr. Foster over Dixon’s legacy. God forbid they take any responsibility for it.

One Anti Red Planner that seems to like kids

Allan Wilman has written often to the Trib raking the Red Plan over the coals. Therefore, I enjoyed reading the Trib’s story about how Al regularly reads to the little kids in the daycare Ecumuen has brought into Al’s Senior Center. Anti Red Planners are often characterized as children hating seniors by the Red Plan’s sycophants.

I moved my Mother to an Ecumen facility in Duluth. This story assures me that there is some intelligent humanity behind Ecumen’s Corporate enterprise.

Why doesn’t WaPo pay me instead of George Will?

Probably because I never set out to be a pundit. I wanted to be a real life legislator. Writing has only become an avenue for my creativity after moving to a provincial locale that the Washington Post doesn’t much pay attention to. In my own defense I’ll mention that the Budgeteer’s Editor, Tom West, once invited me to jump from my non paid every-other-week column at the Reader Weekly to his publication. I never inquired whether that involved being paid. Money wasn’t an object to me. I declined out of a mixture of loyalty to the Reader for giving me a forum in the first place and the sense that my preferred topics might be a little too unsettling for Budgeteer readers. What would they have thought, for instance, of my self titled piece “My Queer Life“? Today the column seems timid but that was almost ten years ago. We’ve come along way baby but the Budgeteer hasn’t. Its still studiously bland.

Anyway, I’ve never wanted to be a pundit if that meant I owed my livelihood to someone else’s political interests. I imagine that Will and Bill Kristol earn most of their earnings giving speeches at “Conservative” gatherings. If they should stray from the increasingly partisan line they would get poor in one quick hurry. After their partisans stopped reading them they would then lose their columnist gigs and they would be cast into the void. Some of these guys are political suck ups or intellectual prostitutes or simple hacks. Some of them. like Will, are reasonably erudite, yes, but its usually erudition compromised. On Fox News which my buddy defends but doesn’t watch (helping explain his ability to defend Rupert Murdoch) there isn’t even much erudition.

When I ran for political offices I had no desire to be a suck up or a prosititute. I knew I couldn’t wantonly offend the new powers in the GOP but that didn’t mean I had to surrender my brain to them. I think my buddy could appreciate that because he has a fair bit of contempt for political parties. This is his riposte in reply to my Gorbachev/Obama post: Continue reading

Obama is today’s Gorbachev

My buddy who complains regularly that he reads “Welty” and then insists that this means Welty should read whichever pundit’s rant he points to has sent me one from the creaky typewriter of George Will. Will, who probably ignored all the hints of racism at various Tea Party gatherings describes the Party as the best thing for the Republican Party since Goldwater. That was 1964 just before the 1965 Voting Rights law forced Southern states to let black citizens vote when the Dixiecrat belt gave its unflinching support to a Republican for the first time. Yup, Will has got that right. The Dixiecrats began taking over the GOP in 64 and the Tea Party is the next best thing.

If you’d like to read Will’s prolix call to rid the nation of the liberal beast be my guest.

I’d probably be better off if my my buddy just stopped reading my blog because my bigotry annoys him so. I must admit that I was intrigued at Will’s drawing a parallel between Gorbachev and Obama. I think Will must have thought himself clever to equate Obama with the last of the Commies. He ignored a couple other possible equations, for instance:

Gorbachev, the unlikely non-Russian (he was a Georgian) who took the reins of his nation = Obama……
Gorbachev, the man who freed totalitarian Russia from 75 years of oppression = Obama…….
Gorbachev, the man who met with his fiercest opponent, Reagan, and found common cause to make the world a safer place = Obama….(actually this one doesn’t work very well. Reagan was a hell of a lot more accommodating at working with the old commie than any current Republicans are dealing with Obama)