Oh, and one last post for the day

I got a pingback on my recent youtube hit. I have no idea who found it on Youtube because I’ve only posted the actual video to the blog. Apparently one person commented on my video asking: “Yeah, but can you do Al Green?”

Very droll.

When the Prez got a little press tickling over crooning “AAAhhhhhhhmmmmm, Sooo in love with you….” Claudia heard that it had been made into a phone ring tone. She downloaded it and tried to make it the tone that would sound every time I called her cell phone.

Damn phones are too complicated to program. Now it rings for everybody else’s phone calls except mine.

Good luck Jeff

I mean that!

Four hours ago I did something so reprehensible that I would have told you at almost any previous point in my life I would never do such a thing. I outed someone, maybe, sort of. After a good four hours sleep I don’t feel the least twinge of guilt but upon waking I knew I’d cast some dies that won’t easily be broken.

Before I get any further in a fancy rationalization let me say I have no way of knowing if Duluth City Councilor and DFL candidate for the 8th Congressional Seat in Minnesota is gay. I just know that every political junky I run into in Duluth seems to think he is. Apparently that’s because Jeff has not hidden this from anyone in his close personal inner circle.

So, rationalization number one. If this is true then Jeff hasn’t really been outed. I have certainly revealed a rumor that he has no doubt been hoping wouldn’t become a factor in his campaign – one he has probably been spending a couple years trying to figure out how to deal with should it emerge.

If its not true that just makes me an idiot for believing, or reporting, a rumor.

If it is true it just means I’ve hastened a process that would eventually have made headlines anyway. I’ve only accelerated the process.

Rationalization number two: I’ve always believed it better to get potentially unpleasant information out of the way as early as possible. I think that Jeff’s political future is better off letting this bit of news air sooner than later.

This is perhaps even more important for the entire Eighth District DFL. Frankly, if the rumors are true Jeff’s personal openness among friends was putting the entire machinery of the party at jeopardy. It takes a lot of effort to elect a candidate. Its not fair to ask a lot of folks to push ahead for a candidate who has kept something this significant semi cloaked. If Jeff had been utterly closeted, yes. But in this case it would be like telling someone you are partly pregnant. If you’re going to be half way out you might as well be out all the way.

Up until now I’ve only applied this let it all hang out modus operandi to my life story and my reputation. Since I’m the first person that I know of to broach the subject in a public space regarding someone else I feel that I must accept some consequences. Oh, I’ll get some serious flack. Outers always do and in my case I can’t even claim to be a “whistle-blower.” My previous interest in challenging for Congress makes this outing far too selfish an action. Therefore, I am going to suspend posting on Lincoln Democrat for the most part until November has come and gone. I won’t take off my campaign webpage. I might even file for Congress. What I will concentrate on is writing my book. This blog is too addictive and my serious writing can’t even begin to compete for my attention.

If I begin cranking out a book beyond the first few chapters I’ll be quite happy to have an online campaign to tout and advertise the book.

I have utterly purged myself of irritation at Jeff for being a standard issue, no-controversy politician. I may have just pushed him onto very thin ice. I will be fascinated to see how he deals with this. I’ve always been a fan of the old Chinese character for “crisis.” Its symbol is made up of two other characters one for “danger” and the other “opportunity.”

Jeff is a much more relevant sounding speaker than Rick Nolan. He’s a vet and had to live under “don’t ask don’t tell.” Since that godawful rule has been set aside I see no reason for an open politician to enforce it in his personal life even if he has chosen a political one.

The rural Eighth District is one of the more likely parts of the state to vote for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to hetersexual couples but I can also imagine those same voters electing, however narrowly, a good candidate for Congress who just happens to be gay. I can’t see them voting for a candidate who lurks in the shadows and by continuing to hide in the dark Jeff was doing his campaign little good. He was simply sitting on a time bomb. Now I’ve set it off for Jeff.

Good luck Jeff. If you are gay you’ve got some excellent role models out there to emulate. Maybe even my personal favorite political hero who’s name I’ve appended to the blog. I still don’t think Abe was gay but I have to admit its not a settled question.

Midnight in Paris

I’m not a big fan of Woody Allen but he is a witty writer.

We rented the movie tonight and watched it with our daughter. It richly deserved its Oscar nomination.

It was all about rose tinted glasses. It was very wise and had the happiest ending I’ve ever seen in an Allen film. I hope that head’s up doesn’t spoil it for you.

What brought about the last word search was last night’s…

…Duluth Superior Symphony Concert.

Once again it was outstanding. When I first attended the Symphony thirty years ago I would wince regularly. Today it is a very fine symphony indeed and has proven so under the baton of a succession of applicants for the position of maestro.

The last half of the symphony was Shostakovitch’s fifth Symphony. It was superlative.

Here’s the back story. Its composer read a damning review of his work likely written by mass murderer Joseph Stalin in 1936. It was tantamount to a death sentence as Papa Joe was in the midst of another of his purges at the time. Dimitri spent the next year looking over his shoulder waiting for the secret police to haul him off and disappear him. While waiting for the knock on the door he wrote the symphony.

He performed it a year later in 1937 (it was first performed in Duluth in 1953 three years before Stalin’s death) The Russian audience of 1937 applauded for half an hour.

Much of the music is uncomfortable to listen to. It is grand. The interpretation of the music after its performance was that it was about happiness and triumph following despair and sorrow. That accorded with Stalin’s views. Years later the composer ridiculed that interpretation saying in effect that it was about the sort of feigned happiness one could expect from a person with a gun put to his head being told to be happy.

Having read the notes in advance of the work and heard the conductor’s reiteration of them that’s just what I heard. I thought of Joseph Stalin all through the piece. I was one of the first to stand up and applaud at the work’s conclusion. I didn’t stand for half an hour but before long everyone else was standing too.

I can’t help but wonder if the concert goers in 1937 weren’t aware that Shostakovitch was a hair’s breadth from death at the hands of the Secret Police and stood clapping for that half hour willing the state to spare the composer’s life.

the Seventh Senate Dist DFL Convention

This is a belated attempt to finish this post. I was only two sentences into it when the charging system of my computer failed. Let’s see what I can recall:

I went to the DECC (Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center) only to discover that I wasn’t needed. So I hopped in the car and drove over to Duluth’s new East High School where the DFL Senate Convention was being held. I spent an hour and half there. Two things vied for my attention. The new school that many have oohed and ahhed over. As an opponant of the Red Plan I was glad to see the “new” school for myself. Considering the cracker box size of the lot of land I’d have to say that the impression upon entering was pleasing enough. That’s a modest compliment considering the current fate of the school program. I was told that engineers could squeeze it all in to the small space. That was never in doubt. That’s what engineers do. Whether it should have been attempted is quite another question. Since the public never had a chance to weigh in on the decision with a referendum it remains to be seen how the new East High will play in twenty years. Perhaps no better than the short lived Metrodome for the Minnesota Vikings.

As for the convention, I did not seek the DFL nomination. It would not have been given me. I merely wanted to make my presence known.

Ironically, most of the recently endorsed DFL candidates for the Duluth City Council have sided with our popular Mayor Ness and allowed him to circumvent the Duluth Civil Service Commission. As a result the local DFL leaders are having a conniption over their former favorites. So much for the DFL getting what they want from their endorsees. Continue reading

This is one of the Reasons the RINOs were hounded out of the GOP

To prevent them, our Senator David Durenberger and a host of others included, from introducing a law like the one President Obama got passed.

They will pass laws forcing a woman to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan but they’ll let her child die without insurance after it is born. I guess that’s their idea of God’s will.

My missed opportunity

I was elected a delegate to this Saturday’s DFL Senate District Convention. Unfortunately, I did not consult my calendar when Claudia asked me if I would help seat a number of disabled children who have been invited to watch the morning rehearsal of the Duluth Superior Symphony program.

As I’m not an official candidate despite my hot air on the blog and my new website its not all that critical that I show up. Word is getting out there. A friend told me a retired legislator asked if I was really running. After Tarryl Clark’s recent email I figure there is only one serious candidate for the DFL ticket – Rick Nolan. Too bad he sounds like a reprise of William Jennings Bryan. I wonder if he sings?

Speaking of effrontery

Coming from the Chairman of the School Board whose decision to betray Duluth voters and tax them to high heaven leading to the evaporation of our school program at a rate which is certain to accelerate in coming years……. Well. I think her indignation is an affront to our collective intellect:

“The fact that Mr. Johnston and Mr. Glass choose to focus on petty divisiveness instead of the education of Duluth’s young people is, unfortunately, nothing new,” Wasson said. “They are well aware of the meticulous process necessary for MDE to thoroughly review requests from school districts all over Minnesota. So for these gentlemen to interfere in the deliberations, especially since one of them is acting as an elected School Board member, is an affront to MDE and its professionalism.”

The Red Plan is almost complete. JCI told us our school district would save two million a year in energy savings. Its about time we did an energy audit. God forbid that these promised savings turn out to be as anemic as their promises for the Duluth Steam Plant.

If the audit comes up negative maybe we could threaten to sue Johnson Controls and get some sort of a settlement just like the City of Duluth did.

I heard a rumor a couple years ago that Ann Wasson’s child got an internship with JCI. Wonder if its true.

Spare me!

I keep collecting emails from the DFL candidates who want to challenge Chip Cravaack. I rarely read them. I’ll have time for that later. This one just caught my attention. Tarryl Clark is blaming Congress for shortchanging our local public schools. Other than their unfunded mandates for special education and the No Child Left Behind bureaucracy Congress has very little to do with the fiscal problems of the Duluth Schools. You would think a Minnesota legislator would know better. Evidently Ms. Clark doesn’t have a clue about the financing of public education. Either that or saying she will help save our local schools is a gross pander.

The simple fact is that our School Board in Duluth gambled big time. They decided to spend $5 million of its operational budget every year for bonds to build $315 million worth of new schools. They inked a deal with the banks to do this for the next twenty years. They gambled that the public would rejoice at the prospect of new brick and mortar forgive the theft of a building referendum and approve additional operational levies which would cover this deficit. They gambled and they lost. Our children lost.

Someday the public may dig deep into their pockets for our children’s sake. If so, Congresswoman Tarryl Clark will be able to take no credit for the rescue.

Friends, 

I just wanted to take a moment out from our end of the quarter fundraising push (you can contribute here) to make sure you saw what happened at the Duluth School Board last night.

The Board was forced to cut almost $4 million dollars from its budget, on top of all the previous cuts they’ve had to make! This means kids in Duluth will face larger class sizes, cuts to classroom technology, and fewer special education services.

Drastic cuts like these aren’t just happening here in Duluth, but across the region and around the country. Congress continues to break the promises that it has made to our kids, our schools, and our communities — the result is higher property taxes for you and me and districts struggling to find the resources to make sure all students recieve the educational opportunities to help them succeed.

Just last week I visited Piedmont Elementary in Duluth and saw the great work being done by the teachers and volunteers there. But they’re still facing growing class sizes and dwindling resources.

In order to secure the economic future of our region, we have to make sure that our schools are preparing all of our kids for success in the future. That means drastically reforming ‘No Child Left Behind’ to put parents and teachers in control of their kids’ education, expanding early childhood education to stop the achievement gap before it starts, and fully funding special education services. 

I will bring my experience as a mom, a community volunteer and as a legislative leader working to strengthen our schools and educational opportunities for our kids – from early childhood through post-secondary education- to Washington.
I hope you’ll join me in this fight!

Sincerely,

Tarryl Clark

I haven’t included all the links in the email to help recipients make an easy online donation to candidate Clark. Sorry Tarryl.

Speaking of idiocy sans my smart mouth – this infuriates me

Be prepared. Next year will be worse than this:

Duluth school district classroom sizes are again set to grow larger with teaching ranks expected to shrink next school year after a Tuesday School Board vote that tentatively approved about $4 million in cuts to its 2013 budget.

That could mean between 25 and 30 jobs, Superintendent Bill Gronseth said.

Reductions include:

Moving from seven class periods to six at Lincoln Park and Ordean East middle schools to save about $1.1 million, while maintaining the time spent at school
Increasing the student/teacher staffing ratio to save nearly $1 million
Cutting middle school music lesson teachers to save $180,000
Reducing special education service expenses to save $634,500
Eliminating courses to save $180,000
Realizing $126,000 in savings from the need for fewer intervention classes for at-risk students
A reduction in English as a second language staff for $45,000
Eliminating the teen parent program for $110,000, and a kindergarten program for $18,000
Limiting freshmen to six courses, with no zero-hour option, to save $90,000
Reduce administrative staff at schools to save $154,000
Cut out $82,000 from the technology budget
Maintain fewer buses to save $180,000 (school start times will remain the same)
Eliminate a business services position to save $64,200 (due to a retirement)
Eliminate legal counsel at board meetings to save $6,300
Revise an intervention program to save $90,000

This story suggests that the School Board has the authority to simply raise money through a levy increase.

Art Johnston asked the board to stop paying $4.5 million each year from the general fund to offset Red Plan debt. The move would raise taxes.

If it was this simple to raise money I’m amazed that Seliga-Punyko and Wasson haven’t gone ahead and bitten the bullet and the taxpayers and just done it.