I’m still thinking about my “fantasy campaign”

I mention this because I finally gave a first proof reading to the post where I announced I might run for Congress. I’m in no hurry to make a final decision because I detest our eternal campaigns and as my post explains, I’ve got better things to do for the next six months.

I’ve almost cranked out 25 pages (unedited) of my book since I first wrote the post. I plan on reposting the original “maybe” announcement about every 25 additional pages I write. Keeping my maybe campaign in the public eye, or at least the sixteen eyes of my eight regular readers, will give me some incentive not to fall behind in my writing.

I don’t think I will always post the whole thing. Maybe I’ll just link to the post like I did in this post’s first sentence. I’ll probably repost the original in its entirety every so often like once a month.

Speaking of hyperbolic

A loved one emailed me this poppycock which is falsely attributed to Thomas Sowell concerning President Obama’s and Occupy Wall Street’s America:

It is an America where humans have been degraded to the level of animals: defecating in public, having sex in public, devoid of basic hygiene. It is an America where the basic tenets of a civil society, including faith, family, a free press and individual rights, have been rejected. It is an America where our founding documents have been shredded and, with them, every person’s guaranteed liberties.

And my Buddy thinks I’m hyperbolic

From the New York Times of Germany, Der Spiegel:

“Africa is a country. The Taliban rule in Libya. Muslims are terrorists. Immigrants are mostly criminals, Occupy Wall Street protesters are always dirty. And women who claim to have been sexually molested should kindly keep quiet.”

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Republican Party. Or rather: to the distorted world of its presidential campaign. For months it has coiled through the country like a traveling circus, from debate to debate, from scandal to scandal, contesting the mightiest office in the world, and nothing is ever too unfathomable for them. These eight presidential wannabes are happy enough not only to demolish their own reputations but also that of their party, the once worthy party of Abraham Lincoln. They are also ruining the reputation of the United States.

They lie, deceive, scuffle and speak every manner of idiocy. And they expose a political, economic, geographic and historical ignorance compared to which George W. Bush sounds like a scholar. Even the party’s boosters are horrified by the spectacle.

Platitudes in lieu of programs: in serious times that demand the smartest, these clowns offer blather that is an insult to the intelligence of all Americans. But as with all freak shows, it would be impossible without a stage, the U.S. media, which has been neutered by the demands of political correctness, and a welcoming audience, a party base that seems to have been lobotomized overnight. Notwithstanding the subterranean depths of the primary process, the press and broadcasters proclaim one clown after the next to be the new frontrunner, in predictable news cycles of forty-five days.

Well Buddy, I can be just as hyperbolic as the Germans and I’ll prove it: I agree!

Tell me what’s a happening

I’m always happy to pass on rumors of JCI’s shoddy work so here’s the latest:

Handsome Harry:

I took interest on your post of the Congdon overruns [It wasn’t overruns specifically due to Congdon]. Now I don’t know for a fact, but several people have said the new JCI school in Alborn has had concrete problems due to unstable soils. The gymnasium was not complete this fall, so the district was “forced” to use the formerly inadequate gymnasium built in 1981 at the formerly acceptable Cotton School.

We [St. Louis County Schools] will have a ballot issue to approve a new excess operating levy because the district isn’t realizing savings from their JCI reorganization plan. The trouble is up here, our idiot people are more concerned with sports, sports and more sports. And if their kids make the team, and the team wins, nothing else matters. Many may vote for the levy because the teacher’s union and school board will yodel “it’s about the kids”. Not new textbooks, smart-boards, computers and advanced science, math and industrial arts classes. Sad…isn’t it?

A bite out of Congdon

This story has only one probable solution. The Red Plan is already running far over budget so Congdon Elementary will not be rejiggered with four classrooms per grade. The only cost effective solution to a school designed to be too small for its current population will be an eventual shrinking of its boundary lines sending some of its first graders to other schools.

BTW: The story said Congdon was the last project of the Red Plan and failed to mention that Grant School is also awaiting its facelift. Then again, Grant parents are less likely to let their wheel squeak than Congdon parents.

A_ _ _ _ _ _ s

The hagiographies about Steve Jobs flew fast and thick a month ago when his mortal coil sprung. I resisted the temptation to put my two cents in then because I had no particular opinion about the man.

I’ll confess that back in 1984 when we bought our first Macintosh computer I fell in love with his work. I was so glued to it than when Claudia insisted in about 1990 that we buy a PC that wasn’t an Apple computer I resentfully refused to use it for over a year clinging to my badly outdated Fat Mac.

So my Buddy sent me this article from an Atlantic writer about Jobs and the Bio which everyone will be reading about him.

I agree with the this writer’s premise that Jobs was the seven letter word I wouldn’t fully spell out in the Post title. Be forewarned, you will see it repeated about three dozen times in the story. BTW I hope its prediction that Job’s life will lead to a growth in more jerks is wrong but I suspect its likely to happen.

Where are the Republicans like this today?

Oh, I forgot. They’ve all been crucified for not worshiping Grover Norquist et al.

I love Ex GOP Senator Alan Simpson. He was asked this in a Wall Street Journal Interview:

If you remember the State of the Union, he [Obama] talked about the need for this country to invest in education and infrastructure and high-value-added research to be able to compete in a knowledge-based global economy. And he’s right about that. But he left off a part, that we have to do it in a fiscally responsible way. We live in a world of limited resources, and limited resources mean choices and priorities.

and Simpson replied:

MR. SIMPSON: The terrible irony is the mandatory programs are eating a hole through those programs. They are on automatic pilot. They can’t be stopped. Every day that they get deeper in their train wreck, it takes it out of the things that President Obama’s speaking of. Those things will disappear. They will be squeezed out.

I heard Alan give a speech on National Public Radio recently and nodded my head in agreement till I looked like a bobble head.

Banks (worldwide) caused the sub prime housing bust…

…Not lending to poor Americans in the ghettos. I can believe this:

Indeed, this might be the biggest obstacle to pushing the false narrative. How did U.S. regulations against redlining in inner cities also cause a boom in Spain, Ireland and Australia? How can we explain the boom occurring in countries that do not have a tax deduction for mortgage interest or government-sponsored enterprises? And why, after nearly a century of mortgage interest deduction in the United States, did it suddenly cause a crisis?

“A nuisance dedicated to sanity”

In the last week I’ve been thinking a lot about cartoons. Over the years I’ve wished that I could be a political cartoonist. I’ve bought 15 or 20 cartoon anthologies of cartoonists work that I admired over the years.

What got me on my latest kick was one of the reruns of Charles Schultz’s Peanuts D-Day cartoons (June 6):

Willie and Joe were favorites of American GIs during World War ll. They were battered “dogfaces” who nonchalantly offered wry commentary on every grubby gritty thing they endured. Its said that General Patton loathed them and wanted them removed from the military’s Stars and Stripes publication because they were such slouches. Servicemen who served in combat begged to differ.

Then last week I read something that piqued my interest in the Reader Weekly. It was a glowing review of a republication of one particular artist Donald Duck artist’s, Charles Barks, comic books. This was to be Volume One a series which was a little before my time. Evidently it was beloved and although the artist was anonymous at the time his work was of such merit that in later years others made sure to give him his due.

As a consequence of my reading the article and my enjoyment of reading to my grandsons I looked the book up on Amazon which was running a sale. I got it for only fourteen bucks. Not bad for a full color, 240 page book. The reviews on Amazon were glowing as well.

Then I got thinking I’d kind of like to have the complete set of Willie and Joe cartoons and I found them and ordered them as well.

A couple years ago in New Mexico, I think, I got a used paper back book by the creator of Willie and Joe, Bill Mauldin. I’ve never finished the book although the first chapter was a hoot and very improbable. It began with Mauldin recalling a childhood incident where he stole the cigarettes of an old Mexican woman cook and having to run into a river to escape her wrath when she realized what he had done.

When I located the Willie and Joe anthology on Amazon I took a moment to read some of the background info on Mauldin and discovered that he had a remarkable background growing up in New Mexico as a bit of an outcast. I ordered the book.

Then last night I stayed up till midnight watching an old movie that I thought I’d heard of before called “The life and death of Colonel Blimp.” It was very long but also quite good and it puzzled me thoroughly because at no time during the movie did any Colonel Blimp appear. Neither did he die. There are a lot of sites to be found on it by Googling and you can see at least the beginning of it on You Tube.

It turns out that Blimp was such a well known character that there was no particular need to explain to the movie going audience of its era 1943 what the point of the movie was. It was based on a cartoonist so famous that like a few others he dropped his first name and just went by one name, his last, “Low.”

I expected that a Blimp character would end up looking foolish in the movie and was surprised to see just how sympathetic he was shown to be. Still, apparently the movie makers depiction of a German friend of the Blimpish character so irritated Winston Churchill that he prevented the movie from being seen overseas during the war. Too bad because it was great subtle propaganda for the Allied side without being crudely Anti-German.

I was surprised that like Bill Mauldin Low got his start far away from the main stream having learned cartooning on his own like Mauldin but in New Zealand’s South Island instead of New Mexico. He got his start in Christchurch which we missed last March because of the devastating Earth Quake.

By the way. Even Donald Duck took part in World War II although not in a way that is remembered very fondly. The book I ordered is all post war stories of the Duck and his nephews having great adventures and domestic disputes. His days as a warrior were long over by then.

Oh, I really liked the way that “Low” described himself. Its the quote that head’s this post.

My fantasy campaign for Congress in 2112 – or maybe not – or maybe

Yeah, this year’s Duluth school board elections is one of those flukes. You regular readers know what I mean. Me – not being a candidate. Oh I toyed with the idea but when a candidate emerged in Judy Seliga’s 3rd District my conscience was eased and I played with my Grandchildren instead of campaigning for office. If you had a Tan Man and a Jakie to give you a hug like their lives depended upon it you would have no doubt that I made the right decision.

I haven’t mentioned this almost limbic-like thought to my wife – and poop on any of you readers who dares tell her I’ve broached the subject to the eight of you who read this blog – but I’ve been thinking about running for Congress again. No kidding.

It might work like this.

Rationale and How To:

1. Everybody hates Congress. Latest polling down to 9% approval.
2. No one trusts anyone who belongs to a major political party theoretically giving an “independent” a good chance.
3. Chip Cravaack is toast and should be if for no other reason than he wallows at Grover Norquist’s feet. His moving to New Hampshire is just frosting on the cake.
4. The main reason Democrats kept getting elected has been because voters in Minnesota’s Eighth District go for the candidate (so far always a guy) who can guarantee the greatest federal pork but in this day and age of precious little pork they will look for some other reason.
5. The DFL party candidates so far all look like an early version of today’s GOP presidential candidates. (See the link on previous post)
6. Few candidates could make a better claim for being an independent than me having run for Congress twice – 1992 and 2006 as an Independent. (I was even independent of Minnesota’s Independence Party)
7. Granted I only got 7% and 2% respectively of the overall vote in those years but I was grossly out spent and viewed as a flake largely for not belonging to either party and for many previous campaigns.
8. That wouldn’t likely change except that this year I’d run as a Democrat in the primary. (Possible situation – see point 5)
9. I’d run as though I was unlikely to win and consequently speak candidly which I think would put me in far better stead this year than ever before.
frankly, my non partisan credentials have been premature up until now.
10. In a day when people are tired of politics as usual I’d offer them not only what they wanted but what they needed.
11. Voters don’t need a nice guy Republican afraid of Norquist, Dobson, Limbaugh and Fox News. They don’t need another James, Business as usual, spend like a drunken sailor, Oberstar.
12. What voters need is someone to help lead a short term fix for what really ails American politics – blind gridlock.
13.To that end I’d pledge to serve for only two terms tops. First by running as a Democrat (in 2112) for the first two year term. After that I’d quit the Democratic Party (where I’ve been caucusing for six years) and run as a Republican (in 2114) for a final two-year term.
14. As a Congressman I’d ignore partisan politics. I can make the case that I love and hate both parties because its true. I would only promise to have my staff make a top priority of constituent services while I cajolled and goaded my fellow Congressman to follow my example of encouraging comity between the two party’s – not only for the sake of the nation but for the sake of the world. they say that guilt is the gift that keeps on giving and God knows most of our Congressmen are guilty of sin of wanting to get reelected more than fixing the nation. We’ve got big problems. We’re indenturing our grandchildren financially, We’re risking an irreversable Global Warming, We’re ignoring a world wide financial collapse……and this is just for starters. Who gives a damn what Congressional Committee you become a slave to with this all going on in the background. Hell, that’s what it is to Congress – background events which take hind tit behind organizing a year-round reelection campaign and sucking up to folks whose chief interest is turning politics into a blood sport.

Golly – Point 45 was a long one.

15. The harder campaign might be the second one as a Republican in 2114. There will be a reapportioned district next year but I haven’t seen any proposed maps that would greatly affect the outcome.

16. I’ve just proposed something novel – pledging in advance to run for one party then switch afterward. Plenty of politicans have held their fingers up to the wind to decide when to change parties but none have ever announced they would do what I’m contemplating. It would be a pax on both parties not a pox on them and we could use a little serious pax.
17. I’m just quirky enough to pull off a campaign in which America, not just Northeastern Minnesota, takes notice. For one thing I’m as closed to politically fearless as any other candidates I’ve seen. I’m not sure if that is because as a junior high student I took JFK’s book Profiles in Courage too seriously or if it was because my parents beat it into my head that my grandfather was a superhero for having won a Congressional Medal of Honor and encouraging me to climb up on the pedestal he stood upon. If I did get national attention I might just pull in the kind of money that actually gets a no-name Congressional candidate elected in a volatile election year.
18. This pre-maybe announcement would be the start but I wouldn’t really start campaigning for months. Maybe not until May or June of next year when the filings take place. Heck I’ve got a lot of Grandchild hugging to do between now and then.
19. Finally, unless I amend or add to this post I’d raise money and interest in the same way I attempted to do in 1992. I’d write a book and sell it to raise money for my campaign. That time I began writing the book first. It was a children’s adventure story. It turned out not to be very good but I mostly began writing it to teach myself how to write. I sold several hundred of the books and used the proceeds to campaign. Hey, a couple thousand dollars got me 7% of the vote. This year, as long time readers know, I’m writing another book. This one is about politics. That’s a much more sensible topic for a political candidate. I’m also a much more practiced writer than I was twenty years ago.

Now here’s what to expect. Continue reading

Only the hyperbolic need apply…

…for the Republican Presidential nomination. One man’s theory:

Huntsman’s problem, aside from serving as the administration’s ambassador to China, is that he doesn’t seem to hate Democrats in general and Barack Obama in particular. His rhetoric is of someone who disagrees with the president, but doesn’t doubt his commitment to improving the country. Unfortunately for Huntsman, this runs counter to nearly every bit of conservative rhetoric over the last three years. If the current GOP were a party which didn’t reward personal animus toward the president, then Huntsman would probably be in a much better position.

BTW – This post is personal with me. My Buddy (and I should probably put quotation marks around that) recently sent me another stinging critique which prompted me to break my three-month moratorium on replying to his email.

We had a testy exchange and he said this of me which I’m sure partisans of Dr. Keith Dixon would concur with:

…if you say that Obama can walk on water, and that none of the Republican candidates can walk on water; and even if your hyperbole and bullshit are of lesser magnitude; you might get critical reaction from me. Maybe I should be indifferent about that, too; but maybe I have expected better of you.

In his first post he quoted my litany of criticisms about the political positions of the GOP field and suggested my description of them was “hyperbolic”

My Buddy sent me this as an example of my hyperbole:

…your hyperbole descends to bullshit. How many Republicans want no taxes, and no limit on Defense Spending, and no foreign policy other than the opposite of whatever Barrack Obama is doing?

Hey, I was clearly exaggerating but not by much if you’ve been watching the GOP Presidential candidates. They are all frozen into place by Grover Norquist’s pledges never to raise taxes. Except for Ron Paul they all seem loathe to consider cuts to our bloated Defense Budget. And as one “for instance” they’ve either beaten Obama up on Libya for being too reluctant to intervene or for having intervened too much.

Huntsman is a very engaging and smart presidential contender but his chief liability was having worked for Obama and his second is, as the commentator suggests, refusing to sound hyperbolic like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or most of the Tea Party. I jumped the GOP ship six years ago when it was merely self righteous and closed minded. I know that’s a bit of hyperbole but I use it as a goad just like I do on Duluth’s Red Plan defenders.

I should point out that my Buddy concludes by saying he expects more from me. That is pretty flattering really so I can never fully discount his criticism. Still, I don’t plan to change my commentary much in the future. I’m more likely to ease up on my posts to dig into the damn book I keep mentioning. I got about six pages of it written last night. Only 300 more to go.

Some random thoughts on Rush Limbaugh’s culture wars

Look at the graph below about teen pregnancy in the US.

I have a number of thoughts in reaction to it which I don’t have time to develop into a long blog post. Among them:

A. Teen parents are far more likely to be incompetent parents.
B. Their children are far more likely to do poorly in school and life.
C. As a result they will probably help drive America’s high costs of dealing with dysfunctional members of society while denying us more productive (high tax paying) members of society.
D. The political fight to lay the blame for our high rates of pregnancy has prevented us from adopting a successful preventative.

The liberal answer would be to follow the secular European model of offering frank sex ed., contraception, abortion and the recognition that wherever people have functioning genitals they will have babies.

OR

The conserative answer – a religiously repressive model like in many Islamic nations of strict sex segregation and severe penalties for non approved sex.

I’ll stop with D but I’m sure I could add a lot more alphabet. I’ll simply end with this question. Which political party seems better poised to deal with the fact that 95% of Americans engage in premarital sex – the “liberal” one or the “conservative” one?

Gaming the system

The ever growing likelyhood of losing Casino money is really big and unpleasant news for Duluth taxpayers. According to this story Duluth was only collecting about 14% of the profits from the Fon du Luth Casino but it still amounted to about $5 or $6 million a year. (I didn’t know our take was that small a percentage of the casino we helped birth)

A lot of the new streets we drive on were paid for by gambling money. The tribe withheld payments for the last three years so we’ve hobbled along without it and the good times may come to an end. (This was one of the things my recent caller predicte) If the judge’s ruling sticks we’ll get one last payment of around $14 million but it will be sayonara for the next thirty years worth of gaming money we thought we had coming.

Unless a lot of new Federal money comes out way after the 2112 election we face some hard times. Taxpayers are facing huge jumps in their property taxes that, I suspect, will kill the GOP majority in the Minnesota legislature next year. Duluth was very lucky to get its “parks” referendum passed in the last election. I don’t see taxpayers authorizing any more regressive property tax increases anytime soon.

The news will be just as dire for the School Board. They will simply have to stew in their own juices.

I’m not sure the news will be all that great for the Indian run casinos in the long run. Gaming has given many Minnesota reservations a leg up over the past thirty years. A tax weary public will look hungrily at that revenue just as the founding Father’s did when they authorized numerous state lotteries two hundred years ago. I think the Reservation casinos will be given a run for their money soon by non Indian casinos which will contribute an even larger share of their revenues to the state. Fon du Luth’s changing revenue stream has probably just lost the Indian Nations a few more allies in the legislature.

Limbaugh limbo

So Rush Limbaugh defends NASCAR fans who booed the First Lady.

While condemning Senator Paul Wellstone funeral mourners for booing Republican Senator Trent Lott.

Maybe Rush is a big man because he has his cake and eats it too.

My Grandsons love Lightening McQueen and his best friend good-hearted Mater the Tow Truck. Some NASCAR fans should watch the Disney franchise movies instead of the real thing.

Booing at the funeral was a classless thing to do. But Al Franken recalls it a little differently than Rush portrayed it.