Faithless Christians dismantling public education

Two nights ago I half watched a PBS documentary on the Texas School Board which has out sized power in determining what gets put in the nation’s text books. I was busy whittling down what had been a twenty-inch thick stack of untended Duluth News Tribunes dating back to 2010 to clip and file stories mostly related to the Duluth Schools. The central character in “Revisionaries” was the Board’s chairman, a nice fellow and practicing dentist, Don McLeroy.

For ten years Don has been inserting creationism into science textbooks and taking Thomas Jefferson out of History books. Because Texas orders books statewide for all their public schools unlike most states which allow their school districts to purchase textbooks most textbook publishers base their books on the Texas School Board mandates and have done so for several decades. That might help explain why among the western educated nations the US had one of the smallest number of folks who accepted evolution, 28% of the population.

A few years ago when I was running against Roger Reinert for the State Senate I campaigned in part on my proposal to forbid any Minnesota School District from buying books that had been designed to accommodate the Texas standards. Roger, I support the Red Plan, Reinert won that DFL primary.

Enough digression.

McLeroy struck me as a naif. He and his Board majority require the teaching of creationism the latest alternative to evolution saying that science hasn’t decided between the two “theories.”

The thing that no one else comments on is that this silliness not only turns biology on its head but all other sciences. For his part Dr. McLeroy was shown explaining to some grade schoolers how Noah’s ark was plenty big enough to hold two of every animal in the world. McLeroy believes that the universe is only 6,000 years old. He laughs off dinosaurs living tens of millions of years ago.

But If McLeroy is right then the light from distant stars has only been traveling for 6,000 years. Those who keep up with NASA may know that the medium sized galaxy we live in is 120,000 light years across. It takes a photon of light that many years to traverse the distance of the Milky Way if the physicists are right about this. In a 6000 year old universe we could only see stars about 1/20th of the way across the galaxy. All the others would be as good as invisible to us as well as the galaxies beyond our own. The astronomers have been telling us that their new telescopes have given them a peek at regions of our universe where light we now see began its travel toward us almost 13 billion years ago. Don’s creationism can not accept this.

Since light, a major preoccupation of physics, travels at roughly 186,000 miles per second, Don McLeroy’s universe and the universe of astronomy and physics are irreconcilable. I hate to think how much money we’ve wasted NASA.

Likewise, geology is being taught all wrong. The non-Biblical Earth is 4 billion years old having formed slowly by matter’s coalescence in a ring around what was to become our sun. At first the Earthly blob was mostly cool but it warmed up through friction as it was bombarded by comets and asteroids turning molten. Huge reservoirs of radioactive metals at its core kept it warm until a thin crust cooled. So, say the scientists but all of this geology, astronomy and physics get’s tossed out on its head in Don McLeroy’s 6,000 year old world.

I think there is a larger irony for McLeroy than using his position on a state school board to moot and undermine all this science. I think a larger irony involves his misunderstanding of his own religion, Christianity.

Don made it clear that he does not just have faith in his positions. He knows that his religion is fact. The creation of the universe that he feels is backed up by the Bible is a concrete truth. McLeroy is not an arrogant man. He’s more of a Sancho Panza following his Quixotic scientific belief. There is, however, no humility in this knowledge. The ark could hold all ten or twenty million animals that could have been collected by Noah. The world is 6,000 years old.

But it is not certainty that the New Testament offers. Jesus offers his follower’s faith. It is enough to believe through faith that Jesus was sired by God of a virgin. It is enough to believe that he was crucified, dead and buried and that he rose again from the dead and ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of God. The reward for for people who have faith in the message found in the New Testament is eternal life. God bestows his grace on people of faith. This is not good enough for McLeroy who apparently survived his public school years without drinking too heavily of science. No, Mr. McLeroy has to place his science lite creationism along side evolution as a co-equal. Nothing can be left behind to undermine faith.

Joseph Stalin might have appreciated Mr. McLeroy’s concern. His purges stunted of a generation of horticulturalists and evolutionists who he replaced with Lamarkian “scientists” like Trofim Lysenko whose theories, Stalin was persuaded, fit better with dialectical materialism.

Of the twelve disciples I most identify with Thomas and his famous doubt. He refused to believe the litany of the Apostle’s creed until he was able to place his hands in the wounds of the crucifiction. Jesus then chided him for his flimsy faith thereby honoring the unquestioning faith of the other eleven.

McLeroy doesn’t really have to worry about the teaching of the birth of Jesus in American textbooks. Tens of millions of children in Sunday School classes have accepted this rather than quarrel with their elders or church. But evolution is different. Many mainline churches grew to accept evolution without considering it a threat to their overall faith. This is not true of McLeroy. He is a fundementalist and he can’t have public schools undermine the faith of students who might begin to doubt a seven day creation. Creationism has to be put in textbooks as a legitimate theory much like Lysenko’s theories had to be put in Joseph Stalin’s textbooks. Doubt must be stamped out. Faith can not be trusted. Or perhaps, like me, Don McLeroy would have been a Thomas but unlike me he finds this thought troubling. He can not trust children who are taught mainstream science to ignore it. He must insert nonsense into America’s textbooks because he can not trust mere faith to uphold the Godly world he wishes to enforce. To me this is a demonstration of Dr. MeLeroy’s faithlessness not his faith. I do not see how God can grant grace to a man of so little faith.

Perhaps, it is even a rejection of the Constitution’s expectation that the state will not promote religion.

Increasingly Dr. McLeroy’s Creation science is Republican science. It may, however, not remain Texas science forever. Dr. McLean was defeated in his run for reelection to the State education Board by about 450 votes. Still, the standards he and his fellow Board members approved for Texas, (and consequently America) will be in force until 2020 or another seven years.

In a new Galaxy

I’m getting the hang of my new Samsung Galaxy 3 phone.

I might get to like this.

My wife’s fellow book club members recommended the BBC series “The Hour.” We started watching it livestreamed from It’s very good and worth every bit of two bucks per hour episode. Its about a television news hour in 1950’s England.

Just thought my 8 loyal readers ought to know.

I typed this up last night. I couldn’t post it by way of my phone. It turned out my wifi connection had gone bad. I still can’t figure out how to capitalize the first word in a sentence. I corrected that mistake now.

Reading vs. fund raising

I’m in the midst of a fascinating chapter in the book “Black Sea” which is explaining much to me about the sorry history of Poland-Lithuania.

I’m so pleased that I’m not in Congress and expected by my party handlers to spend five hours on the phone each day selling my soul to rich people begging them for 2014’s political donations.

Because I get to read I get to grow my brain instead of see it atrophy like the brains of Congressmen.

The author writes of one of his historical characters Adam Mickiewicz perhaps the most loved Polish poet:

“He never saw either Warsaw or Krakow, the two capital citys of historic Poland. It is as if Shakespeare had never visited Poland.”

He goes on to say that the poet spent long hours visiting at the home of an admitted spy for Poland’s occupier, Russia: “It was still and age in which a fine fellow was a fine fellow, and his politics came second.”

God forbid that any of our Congressmen would do the same. It would cut into their time at the phone bank or intellectual growth. Since they have no idea what’s going on in the world thank goodness the Party gives them talking points so that their ignorance doesn’t become too apparent when voters ask them questions.

GOP = Ghastly Organized Putrescence – Pt 3

Lincoln long fantasized about joining the pantheon of America’s founding fathers or perhaps lamented the seeming impossibility of joining it. His law partner, Herndon, said his brain was constantly preoccupied with his political calculations. Amazingly Lincoln overcame his obscurity and willed himself to become not only one of them but perhaps the first among equals. It’s a tight race as called by historians between Abe and George but Abe told more jokes and George was burdened by his portraits with the grimace inducing false teeth.

I have wondered since elementary school why Lincoln insisted on Union when it required such force of arms to secure. He had precedent to hide behind and democrat party precedent at that. Andy Jackson, President 7, threatened to use the nation’s army to crush South Carolina’s brash secession talk. He was a hard man. He killed a man in a duel and marched the Cherokee nation out of the South on foot in the dead of winter under armed guard and in defiance of the Supreme Court. Long accused of dismissing the court with this tart rebuke of its Chief Justice,” John Marshall has made his decision now let him enforce it?” That’s not quite what he said but it’s an attitude echoed by Joseph Stalin snear, “How may battalions does the Pope have?” In other words, might, not the law, makes right. So why did Lincoln not let the South go in peace with its dirty little peculiar institution? I think it’s because it would have plunged the pantheon back to Earth and placed a bushel basket over the shining City on the Hill that America was to its citizens. Continue reading

Heads of lettuce

Rinky Dink Prius was just reelected to be the Chair of the National Republican Party. Rinky said he’s really intrigued with the political advantages for the GOP of awarding electoral votes on the basis of Congressional Districts in Democratic dominant states. Its perfectly legal. Tiny Maine has been awarding its three electoral votes this way since before I was in high school. All states have been free to do this since day one of the Constitution. I haven’t heard Rinky Dink enthusing about this entirely legal change for Texas, however.

At his reelection he stressed that the GOP just was running out of voters willing to let them stay in charge of the federal government. He acknowledged that the GOP’s tactic of extending a middle finger to gays, immigrants, funny colored people, baby killers, those suffering from vaginas, as well as cripples and people who don’t like Ann Coulter just wasn’t working. I didn’t hear everything he said but presume he did not stress the Party’s desperate measures to jail potential Democratic voters and force others to stand in line for hours on end outdoors before being allowed to vote.

Sharon Day who was reelected his co-chair wittily said she would talk to a head of lettuce if it could get the party more votes. She did not mention her interest in having their buyers casting votes for lettuce heads after having them registered as “heads of household.”

It must be a terrible cross to bear for today’s GOP that some white people still vote for Democrats. Don’t these people realize that by doing so they are every bit the race traitors that the so called “Freedom Riders” were when they tried to impose interracial busses on the Deep South back in the 1960’s? Thank God there are a couple suck up blacks like the wife cheating, pizza guy that the GOP can hide behind for the purposes of establishing plausible deniability.

I’m a little uncomfortable writing like this. My going on ad nauseum about the putrescence of the Party in unproofread blog posts won’t exactly ease my reintegration into the GOP should I really attempt it. I don’t even think they would welcome me as a head of lettuce.

The private lives of Presidents

I shrugged off the fatigue that should have put me in bed at 9:30 and prepared to edit the third installment of Putrescence. I wrote it last night but I was operating on fumes after 1500 words and decided it would be better to read it before posting something incoherent. I crawled into bed and lay wide awake for another four hours until I got up with the sun in my face.

As I started to take a crack at editing it an hour ago I tried to look up a famous quote from Lincoln’s law partner Herndon. Herndon was also one of Lincoln’s early biographers. When I tried to google the quote I ran across this short piece in the Atlantic by a noted Lincoln scholar who wrote about Herndon’s struggle with the biography and his knowledge of the all too human Lincoln.

Like Herndon I’ve been wrestling with just what to tell in a book I’ve been laboring over for six years. I shouldn’t feel bad. Herndon still hadn’t written his Lincoln biography twenty years after commencing his research.

The jist of this Atlantic piece is that Herdon originally believed that Lincoln was so important that posterity required that he be to portrayed warts and all. This was a very un-18th Century attitude because Herndon was a bit of a free spirit. The book he eventually wrote did not rake up much muck. (which makes me wonder at the truth and provenance of a reported Herdon anecdote I’ve waved in front of my loyal readers a couple times).

Although Herdon did not write the tell all book he first contemplated I agree with him and others that learning about Lincoln’s pre Presidential foibles would do little to shake the public’s faith in his genius.

My wife just finished the Kearns-Goodwin history that I have lauded previously befor her book club met this morning. All four of the book clubbers agreed heartily that Lincoln was a great man. The movie Lincoln got him right.

So to did another movie I saw yesterday get its subject right. The subject was Franklin Roosevelt arguably the 20th Century’s most important President. However, Hyde Park on the Hudson was a small picture which explains its low 40% favorable Rotten Tomatoes score. It wasn’t about the FDR that contended with the Depression or battled Adolph Hitler. It was the story, based on a play, about the private Roosevelt who despite his crippled legs managed to pursue several dalliances simultaneously. I’ve agreed with both pro and con reviews of the movie but I did enjoy it. FDR, as portrayed by Bill Murray, was hardly heroic but I agreed with the reviewer who said Murray was spot on.

Even though FDR comes across as a man taking advantage of his presidential aura to work his wiles on women the story within a story of the inexperienced new King of England paying FDR an overnight visit suggested Roosevelt’s importance to the age. One historian noted that while FDR did not have a first class intellect he had a first class temperament. So did Abe Lincoln. If someone was to produce a Lincoln on the Hudson movie it wouldn’t change my mind about where he ranks among our Presidents.

Two workers on staff in my Mom’s wing

I went to sing to my Mother this morning. I took a bunch of new songs including one I just found that she used to sing to me.

Playmate. These are the words:

Say, say, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree

Shout down my rain barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we’ll be jolly friends
Forever more more more more more

Say, say, oh playmate
I cannot play with you
My dolly’s got the flu
Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo

Ain’t got no rain barrel
Ain’t got no cellar door
But we’ll be jolly friends
Forever more

I had a jolly time too. But when I left the staffer who had to prepare Mother to go to lunch looked especially haggard. I asked her why and she explained that there were now only two people working on my Mother’s ward of broken down seniors. I asked her how many there had been and she said three and occasionally four. Budget cuts.

Republicans! Remember with all your life is sacred rhetoric that if its so sacred you ought to be prepared to treat it that way with higher taxes. Democrats! Remember soon we baby boomers will swell senior care facilities and drain every last dollar from the next generation if you are too giving.

Watching Minnesota’s odd but reasonalbe Governor Dayton I’m reassured that some Democrats are picking up on the value of balance. He just cut funding for the wildly superfluous extension of the Northstar Train to Duluth.

Sorry Ken B. but good luck on your competitive dancing.

Another great post from the Daily Dish

Its the readers of the Dish that make it the special blog it is. Here’s a post bouncing off an earlier post on arctic cold.

I too remember when mere extreme cold was no call for a snow day. I recall, I think, that one of the first years I lived in Duluth we had a consecutive week’s worth of days when the temp didn’t rise above 10 degrees below 9 yes that’s BELOW) zero.

Re: putrescence and BS Detection

I’m certainly guilty of hyperbole when I scathingly generalize about Republicans. I’m pretty confident, if not over confident of my insights however because I was there with them for thirty years watching the party evolve and as a student of history looking back on their previous incarnations.

I also believe I have some powers of observation born of being a bit of an outsider. This subject has gotten a lot of attention in the Daily Dish and its begun as a thread called “the Gay Bullshit Detector.” Here’s the latest post from today with comments from others about their powers of insight.

His readers are writing in to say that the idea of a gay bullshit detector totally resonates with them. I’ve always thought this must be the case because there were so many successful although closeted gay actors. Good acting requires close observation and no one is more observant than someone from the outside trying to fit it. There are, of course, many other ways in which one can be an outsider as some of the Dish’s contributors point out – A Catholic in Protestant America or a Jew or an Immigrant or someone of a persecuted race.

In my case I was moved to new locales at important times in my life. I moved to a new school in second grade and just as I was becoming a part of the crowd my folks moved again when I started junior high taking with me the only strong regional accent to a school where every other child had been in school with everyone else since kindergarten. Junior high gave my most miserable three years until I began teaching ten years later. Its also the source of some of my favorite personal tales.

So, as I continue spew about putrescence keep in mind I know whereof I speak regardless of the hyperbole.

Know also that I’m the sort of person who will find it easy to bury the hatchet somewhere else other than in an adversary’s head.

GOP = Ghastly Organized Putrescence Pt 2

I’ve felt compelled to think long and hard about Thomas Jefferson through the years because I know that my Grandfather, George Robb, had so little use for him.

I wish I could pick out some specific memory of when I learned this. As an awkward early teen I would visit him a couple times a year at the Presbyterian Manner in Topeka, Kansas when we drove back down to visit my old home town. I probably went largely to please my Mother who felt desperately guilty about having abandoned him by moving to Minnesota as he approached his vulnerable eighties.

I had to make small talk with him as he was not much of a small talker himself. He was however a learned and devoted reader of American history having gotten his start as a kid in endless family political discussions. Both my parents had held him up to me since early childhood as a paragon of virtue his having won the Congressional Medal of Honor. I used to tease my Mom before dementia carried her away about how she had often hushed me up when I was little after a bruising not to cry about such a trifle because my Grandfather had been shot in battle and he hadn’t cried. Its the sort of thing a princess of the Huns might have told a son to steal him for defending the tribe and by the time I was an adult my Mom realized this.

So I spent precious hours growing up asking my Grandfather about history. I vividly recall telling my Grandfather what my favorite teacher Ms. Criss told our class when we were studying the history of the Civil War. She told our class that Ulysses S. Grant had been a butcher throwing his men into battle like logs into a fire to defeat General Lee. Boy, did that annoy George Robb. He proceeded to tell me how vital Grant was to the Union cause.

Among my possessions are both volumes of Grant’s autobiography that once belonged to George Robb’s father, Thomas. Great grandfather Robb arrived in New York from Ireland at age twelve. When his ship pulled into the harbor someone on deck asked an outbound ship for the latest news. “Fort Sumpter has fallen” was the reply. I am only a caretaker for the volumes. I have strict orders from my Mother to pass the books on to my son.

Lincoln was famously handicapped by Generals who suffered from “the slows.” Grant was his salvation and when critics whispered to Abe that Grant was a drunk he shot back, find out what he drinks and give it to my other generals. I wish could recall a similarly vivid recollection of my Grandfather’s disdain for Jefferson.

George Robb has been the subject of numerous posts on this blog. I’m pretty sure my eight loyal readers will have encountered the Grant story previously. But I simply can’t recall the time or a time when my Grandfather made his displeasure with the writer of the Declaration of Independence clear to me. I just have known since my years visiting him he had little use for him.

To fill that void I’ve reflected a great deal on what I do know about my Grandfather and this too is well troden territory for this blog. Growing up dirt poor in Wizard of Oz land, Kansas his family had a next door neighbor Larry Lapsley. Lapsley was a black man, an escaped slave. He must have been in his fifties or older by the time my grandfather knew him. I do know a fair bit about Lapsley from my Grandfather’s own hand. George Robb once wrote a speech about him which I posted years ago on my old website. In that speech he comments that his father had been appointed to attend to Larry’s body at his death and came home in a foul mood afterwards mumbling about the curse of slavery. My grandfather offers his listeners the speculation that Lapsley had been castrated like a steer by his owners. It was a common solution to keep slave men docile and perhaps to guarantee that only the best black studs sired strong field labor.

My Grandfather the historian felt some obligation to give black Americans their due and other type written speeches of his testify to this. As in Lincoln’s time white men were still arguing in my Grandfather’s time that black men could not fight. My Grandfather was witness to the emptiness of this claim. Just as the white soldiers of Cold Harbor witnessed black bravery on the battle field my Grandfather had commanded black American soldiers from Harlem in the trenches of France. If military medals mean anything my Grandfather’s 369th infantry, raised in Harlem, New York, was the most decorated American unit of the First World War.

My Grandfather, however emphatically he attested to black bravery, was still a creature of his time. He was a conservative who had no desire to push the limits his nation where the majority did not want to go. He may very well have agreed with President Eisenhower that Supreme Court Chief Justice, Earl Warren, was one of Ike’s worst appointments for letting civil rights out of the judicial bag.

Be that as it may my Grandfather the historian would have been familiar with Thomas Jefferson’s example. Quoted ad nauseum by Democrats who used to hold Jefferson-Jackson dinners they way Republicans used to put on Lincoln Day Dinners Jefferson’s rhetoric became the heartbeat of the American Revolution with the young man’s ideals about the equality of man. Yet the idealistic Jefferson was a slave master who stubbornly clung to his slaves when other more genuine idealists like George Washington set his free in his will. Not only that but he was believed by many to have cohabited with his slave and owned his own children by her as slaves.

In my grandfather’s pre-DNA lifetime this was not a fact that could be ascertained. Nonetheless, my Grandfather who wondered at the possible castration of his neighbor would have found Jefferson a disgraceful hypocrite for declaring all men to be equal except those he put in slavery’s shackles. I can imagine that my Grandfather found it easy to pile other criticisms of Jefferson on that rank betrayal of his own American ideal. That he was a coward having fled the British as Governor of Virginia; that he founded the Democratic Party; that he championed the French revolution and dismissed its mass murders by asserting “Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants.” Above all my Grandfather would have thought Jefferson’s disloyalty to President Washington by secretly and constantly urging allies to ridicule the first President in print.

I don’t hold the same grudge against the third President that I recall my Grandfather holding. I do hold a grudge against Jefferson’s successors who have perverted the Grand Old Party by soiling Abraham Lincoln’s gift and legacy to the nation – the promise of living up to the Declaration of Independence.

The sixteenth President of the United States is my hero and, ironically, the man who helped bring Thomas Jefferson’s grim prophecy about the blood of tyrants and patriots by spilling more of it than all other American President before and after put together. And it is yet another irony that all of my life I have felt Lincoln was walking on thin legal ice by preventing the South from Seceding.

GOP = Ghastly Organized Putrescence Pt 1

Even listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings on Pandora can’t take the foul turn of the GOP out of my mind. If that putrescence didn’t wake me up just now at 2AM the mistake of thinking about it won’t let me go back to sleep.

If I don’t watch out it will do to me what the damned Red Plan did and pull me into a vortex of indignation that will cost me another four years or more. Hell, I guess I’ve already spent a lifetime stewing about the turn the party has taken. Leaving it for six years helped. It just makes me feel more impotent. While I attended its Minnesota caucuses even after retiring as one of its party organizers I still felt my barbs and criticisms against it acted in some small way as a tug at its larger conscience.

As I was stewing about the attempt by Republicans who took over their legislatures in Blue States on the Tea Party’s – because the Supreme Courts unleashed of the pampered rich to spend unlimited money on political campaigns – to give Blue electoral votes to the next Republican candidate for President I wanted justice. Hell, threatening to rejoin the damn party is too feeble a gesture. If they paid no attention to me when I had remained fairly constant what would be the point after six years worth of “God’s Own Party” posts? (BTW its at 677 and counting as of this date)

I thought about setting up a new website: That Idea still appeals to me. I’d solicit entries for new words to fit the acronym. This post’s title was my first thought at an alternative. It doesn’t have the ring of God’s Own Party or the historical accuracy but it more aptly reflects my current disgust with the party.

What to do? Then I thought about Thomas Jefferson and I got out of bed.

My threat to rejoin the GOP ctd.

Oh yeah, As I drove off to run my errand I remembered what else set me off on the last post – Illinois pension benefit crisis.

I’m sure I was reading about it more than a decade ago when it was only a looming disaster. Nothing was done of course, I guess the GOP was too busy warring over abortion, guns and God! Oh they probably wrung their hands over it like they currently are doing over our deficits but they have gotten into the habit of not fixing problems so they can moan over them at election time.

And just in case my old Buddy still holds his nose to open my blog to see what balderdash I’m currently writing – yup. Democrats can be just as bad.

But in the old days Republicans like Bob Dole could be counted on to fix problems. Remember Social Security once threatened to end up like Illinois Public employee pensions. Then Republicans began working with Democratic President Bill Clinton and they largely fixed the problem. Future tweaks will be necessary but a couple years ago when the GOP had Obama on the ropes he was desperate to work with them and give them about 90% of what they wanted. Ah, but Senate majority leader McConnell was quite blunt about what the top priority of the GOP was – to insure that Obama was a one term President. And we all know how well that worked out don’t we?

I’m a strong believer in two major political parties fighting for the center and working actively to solve problems instead of giving into the hyperbolic. I used to be scolded by Democrats who saw I shared many of their beliefs for sticking with the GOP. The GOP still needs folks like me for the good of the nation. We need Republicans who are Americans first and partisans second or even third.

I wonder how well a leper will be received if he hobbles back to the big tent?

Oh and PS. My Dad was a president of a public employee union. I think he’d second of my analysis.

My threat to rejoin the GOP

I’m quite serious about it. I just filed for social security yesterday so I’m not exactly an existential threat to the Grand Old Party. I’ve said so many disparaging things about the current occupants of the party that I can’t exactly expect to be met with open arms but what the heck. I seem to enjoy making a target of myself.

I suppose returning to it would be a little like a gay child returning to the family that made it clear they didn’t like queers but as they say, blood is thicker than water especially after it coagulates. Hey, scabs precede healing right?

I’ve never had a visceral distaste for Democrats. To any new readers of the blog I’ve made that comment before with the metaphor of that great old movie Best of Enemies. If I had my druthers I’d prefer to remain the best of enemies with Democrats rather than a refugee among them.

One of the things I read in the paper recently reinforced that. It was the startling figure that Minnesota had 750,000 active or retired public employees. That’s a fifth of the working population. They live on tax revenues and that includes retirement pay. Is it any wonder that the health plan alone, never mind pensions, almost brought the City of Duluth to its knees.

As much as I detest Wisconsin Governor Walker’s method of cutting off public employee unions at the knees I can understand his drive to do this. Public Employee unions with the right to strike they won fifty years ago or so are powerful. I knew it going into the Duluth School Board and endured it while there. Even now I seem to be the object of considerable antipathy by a lot of Duluth’s teachers.

I find it ironic that our teacher’s current woes in Duluth are largely of their own making. They could have had the rival Edison public schools as part of their domain, at least in part, had they not decided to destroy it. They wouldn’t be suffering in nice new schools with 35 kids in a class had they not thrown in their lot with construction unions and the Duluth Chamber of Commerce to support the Red Plan. The bond payments for that are coming out of Duluth classrooms even now. Frank Wanner, the guy who told me Senator Bob Dole was a fascist, remains the President for Life of the DFT or whatever its called now that its part of Education Minnesota. Heck, Bob Dole looks like a saint by the standards of today’s GOP, an acerbic saint to be sure but a saint none-the-less.

I think there was more that I was going to write but I have to run an emergency errand. That will have to do.

A second helping of a friend’s and my email exchange

Following up on the previous email exchange:

On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:13 AM, (a friend) wrote:

And that is what they are counting on. They probably took that bet from the beginning. Just like Ford weighed the profits/liabilities of the Pinto yet went forward.

I have heard many people say they will never give them another dime. RP + 12% levy increase is just too much for people to stomach.

To which I replied:

They lost that gamble, (Friend). And they are still losing it.

The South is still fighting the Civil War. Somebody ought to beat the damn sword into a ploughshare.


This does not in any way mean that I intend to stop taking an unflinching look at what is happening in our Post Red Plan Schools or making honest (and sometimes caustic) evaluations of what I’m seeing.