A little of the Much More to Come

Here’s some of the “much more to come” suggested at the end of the previous post.

As I type my printer is cranking out 122 pages of a full screen play for a movie tentatively titled “Hatestorm.” I’ve already printed out a sixteen page “treatment” which I gather explains how the script is meant to convey the contents of Michael Fedo’s book about the infamous 1920 lynching of three black circus workers in Duluth, Minnesota in 1920 and translating it into a theatrical script for a movie.

It turns out that this is a not only a much more ambitious project than I had imagined but one with legs I hadn’t anticipated. It will be fascinating to see if it attracts the fifteen million in production costs that have been projected. A lot of that will ride on the success of the “teaser” I will do my bit part for.

I’ll begin reading the script tomorrow as I travel to Itasca State Park for what may be a soggy camping trip with Claudia, my daughter and my grandsons. I will check out my costuming upon my return, largely a white apron and contemplate getting my hair cut to 1920’s fashion with a part down the middle of my skull. Maybe I’ll wear a chef’s hat.

I haven’t yet memorized my fifty or so words but that shouldn’t be too hard. I will do that as I consume the script and imagine how the makers of the movie go about attracting investors. I’d like to help in more ways than as just an actor for four minutes worth of celluloid or whatever its digital equivalent is these days.

As I wrote before I had breakfast in the locale of the shoot. That’s Mike’s Western Cafe on West Superior Street in the West End. Claudia and I had eggs over easy and corn beef hash. Claudia proclaimed it very good. I looked at the cooler and the juice machine and a Minnesota Twins pennant and wondered if there would be any attempt to camouflage the present to evoke the 1920’s. The prime mover behind the project, screenwriter Dale Botten, most assuredly will. He will also pay the actors. That’s something I had imagined would not happen. I’ll get a paycheck!

Well, the script is finished printing. Its time for me to rest up for tomorrow’s travels. There’s a lot on my mind – packing, the Psalms (I’ve finished the first “book” through the 41st Psalm), The attractions of voting for Hillary aside from the execrations of Don Trump, how one of my School Board colleagues may be taking credit for all the good things happening in our District as she travels the state. Yup. Lots on my mind.

I’ll be back to write about some of it in the not too distant future.

My second stint as a wage earning thespian

And the cast – for Hatestorm’s teaser – is set.

I got paid as an extra many years ago in Iron Will and was lost in the movie’s gripping crowd scene at the end. This time I’ll have a speaking role.

Saturday I took Claudia to have breakfast at the location of the shoot next weekend. I’ll be the cook next week. Corn beef hash anyone?

I also spent a couple hours with the screen writer to find out how this production came about. This will be fun. I hope it is a success and I hope its important. You may already have discovered that the link to the cast takes you to Facebook. You may have to be a friend to check us out.

Much More later.

Achievement Gap stubbornly remains despite four-year trend of higher test scores

As the Trib reported yesterday our District has recently made modest gains in student testing achievement vis a vis the state. According to our Dr. Tawnyea Lake “…in the last four years, we’ve increased our reading scores by 7 percentage points and 11 (percentage points) in math, while the state has remained relatively flat….”

Despite this our infamous “achievement gap” between races which seems to have landed us in court is just as stubborn as ever.

Loren’s latest rap

In his latest column, this one defending Edison from its many recent critics Loren Martell makes this observation: “If you hang around the school district for a while, you quickly learn Duluth is run by a tightly-knit little power clique.”

I am a little sensitive to this myself. One fellow came to a school board meeting during the talk about selling Central High and pointedly said he’d heard some Board members actually had family working at Edison. Then he went on to suggest that such Board members recuse themselves from voting on the sale. Of course, he meant me and, of course, since I have no financial interest in Edison I had no obligation to follow his request.

As Loren notes there are almost as many similar ties on the other side of the Board opposing the sale. Loren mentions that the PTSA chair spoke vehemently against the sale. He failed to note that this PTSA Chair has also been a chair of the Duluth League of Women’s Voters which includes school board member (and ex PTSA chair) Rosie Loeffler-Kemp who has diligently networked throughout the tightly knit little power cliques like the DFL the DFT and AFSCME.

Psalm 10 and Octopus Ink

In the six months since I’ve returned from Jerusalem I’ve managed to get over half way from Genesis to the last of the minor prophets – Malachi. (Those are generally all the books in both the Protestant’s Old Testament and the Hebrew Bible) Last night after the end of the Democrat’s Presidential nominating convention I read Psalm 10: As with Job before it I couldn’t help relate many of the lines to current events, to wit:

Vs. 2: In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor- (Donald Trump ripping off legions of small contractors, college students, renters, investors)

Vs. 3: For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart, those greedy for gain….:(Ditto Trump)

Vs. 5: Their ways prosper at all times: your judgments are on high, out of their sight, as for their foes, they scoff (tweet) at them.

Vs. 7: …..under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.

Vs. 8: …Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless:

The Republican evangelicals really have nominated a fifth grader’s, middle finger of a candidate. I’d say fourth grade as that is one estimate of Donald Trump’s vocabulary usage but my older grandson is going into fourth grade and I just can’t stand the idea of my grandson being in the same class with Donald Trump.

Even my first grade grandson has a superior vocabulary to the Trumpster. Yesterday after our trip to the Duluth Aquarium we were talking about Octopus ink and he said it was an “obstacle illusion.” That’s also a good description of the Big Apple, rip off artist. The fifth grader in me can’t help but think of that stock fifth grade retort, “I know you are but what am I?”, when I hear him call Clinton “Crooked Hillary.”

It turns out that about two-thirds of Americans who call themselves “evangelicals” never or rarely go to church. Consequently, they have nominated a candidate who is disinterested in religion and contemptuous of today’s thin Republican dogma. Now they are faced with a candidate, like her or not, who was locked out of her house by her Mother to face down the neighborhood’s bullies. Too bad the Republicans didn’t have any candidates with Mother’s like Hillary Clinton had.

Pholcus Phalangiodies


Also known, apparently, as the “celler spider.

I am reasonably sure I’ve got this spider correctly identified because it has two attributes I witnessed myself this summer one of which I found so interesting that I came in from painting our garage soffits to tell Claudia about.

As I was standing on my ladder under the garage peak brushing away dust and spider webs before painting I saw two of these spiders on a web an inch away from each other. I tried not to disturb them because I didn’t plan to paint just where they were but as I brushed I contacted one of the webs. One of the spiders began spinning like a gyroscope. I wondered if it thought the other spider might attack it. It dropped from the web and descended to the ground. A few moments later I snapped another web string and the other spider became a whirling dervish too. I didn’t think about these critters until yesterday.

I generally immediately remove insects from my basement with the exception of spiders. I figure they help me thin out the bug population down there although it is thin enough that I suspect starvation is always just around the corner for them. The other day I found a celler spider resting in the web of a tiny short legged spider that took up residence in a corner of our bathroom.

I had been feeding the tiny spider. For the past three years tiny moths have begun appearing one or two a day for a month or so. I’m not sure what their larva live on, perhaps some towels where we keep our linens. At any rate I’ve been smushing them to keep them from breeding. But I decided to try to catch them when the spiderling appeared. They are tiny themselves at a quarter of an inch long. They have a habit of disappearing when I grab them with my thumb and pointing finger. Still I’ve managed to get half a dozen of them into the web without alarming the tiny spider.

But yesterday after catching a moth I discovered a celler spider in the web instead of its owner/builder. I wondered if it had eaten its original occupant but tried to drop the moth into the web anyway. The moth missed the webbing so when I attempted to retrieve it I once again struck a string of web and that celler spider zipped out of the web so fast my head spun around. At that point I began looking nearby and found the spiderling safely secured between a door jamb and a wall. I gave it the moth instead.

This year neither of my grandsons have shown much interest in bugs. I recently found last year’s tattered butterfly net in my daughter’s raspberry patch…..where I also discovered one of the proliferating population of chipmunks nibbling her raspberries atop a four foot cane. “Tech” is now a greater attraction for them.

That’s OK with me. I’m more interested in politics and history. But I always find it interesting to set my passions aside to watch the life around me and sometimes even weigh in give one side a little push even if it has eight eyes and more than enough legs to stand on.

Republicans for Putin

I had heard the last of Robert Reich’s seven points but not the first six. The sixth is interesting because the GOP platform means nothing to Trump. After the conventioneers wrote in a plank wishing gay familial rights they cheered him when he wished them away in his windy convention speech. He was so surprised he thanked them. Their plank was one he had intended to ignore anyway and it turned out not to mean that much to the conventioneers either. However, Trump did weigh in on the platform to back away from defending the Ukraine against Russian military operations. I find it surreal that the GOP – the party of Joe McCarthy – is letting down its guard against a guy straight out of the Manchurian Candidate.

Here are the last two of Reich’s list of Russian/Trump entanglements:

6. The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the Republican Party platform, with one exception: They changed the party platform to eliminate assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine. Not incidentally, this is the single most important issue to Putin.
7. Trump is also suggesting the US and thus NATO might not come to the defense of NATO member states in the Baltics in the case of a Russian invasion — another important issue to Putin.

I presume that the Clintonistas know all this and are sure it will turn voters away from Trump even while Putin (may have)
sicced Russia’s cyber security onto the Democratic Party to reveal the unsurprising information that its insiders were greasing the wheels for Hillary to thwart Bernie. Good thing this may have been Putin’s work. If an American President had authorized such an operation he/she might have been impeached and removed. Its much safer to get the intel from a source like the KGB or whatever Russia now calls it.

Here is the rest of Reich’s list not that it will dissuade Republicans tribally inclined to vote for their party’s candidate even if he has little but contempt for the religious convictions so many of them place above loyalty to nation.

Martell on Martin-Romme

Loren Martell also appreciated the Zenith City Weekly’s column and said so in his spot on the Duluth Reader. Its a nice complement to Jennifer Martin-Romme’s story: Loren begins:

One lesson I’ve learned from my experiences in this town is the importance of having an alternative media, locally owned and free from outside, corporate bosses. I assume Art Johnston understands (and appreciates) just how much the alternative media of Duluth, especially the Reader, saved his reputation. As far as the mainstream media was concerned, Mr. Johnston was a reprobate who had committed dastardly deeds. In their eyes, he was already tried and convicted and suitable as a cellmate for former head shop owner, Jim Carlson.

Survivor’s guilt

https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8106/28395982661_a0489f06cb.jpg

We took some refrigerator items from a friend whose electicity is still out and made space in ours until they get their juice back. We’ve also gotten our AC up and running. The pile of fallen limbs after the blow was small potatoes compared to the damage many suffered night before last.

The old salt revealed – what was behind that beard of mine?

I’ve got ten minutes to blog before I head off to tonight’s school board meeting. I have shed my beard much to the amazement of my grandsons one of whom has never seen me shorn. Here’s my current face:

Oops I haven’t uploaded it to Flikr yet. You will have to wait.

OK I’ve had a storm to pick up after, visiting grandsons and a power outage as well as a Republican convention to sit through slack jawed. Now I have that pic. I’m preparing for a theatrical role so Its a little animated:

And that raised eye of mine reminded me of a picture I took from my sundeck a couple days before. Talk about an evil eye:

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Of more consequence I forgot that Jennifer Martin-Romme editor of the Zenith Weekly would quote me at my most revealing when she called to ask me about our budget. The result is my being quoted talking about “shit creek” and “mealy mouthed crap.” Oh well, Its one of the most enlightening discussions about our fiscal woes and the Red Plan’s impact any Duluth School Board nerd could hope to read. You may have to wait to see what lay under my salt and pepper beard but this column is salty enough to compensate.

Here it is in all my glory.

Some of what’s on my mind and that will stay there for a little while longer

Wendell Anderson RIP, the book I didn’t write. Doing no harm, blog posts I did write. Presidential Politics, Munch’s Scream anyone? Is it really 1968 all over again? I don’t think so. We are just re-terraforming the Earth to handle fewer species. A local tabloid just skunked my school board ally. Shaving my chinny chin chin in what will likely be a vain bid to shine a light on a grim local story. So much to blog about but…….

…….I woke up late, read an accumulation of newspapers until late. Its now almost eleven AM. ALREADY! Gosh, its beautiful outside. I’ve got a lawn to mow and gutters, at my daughter’s house, to clean out and debris to haul to the Materials Recovery Center (the old land fill).

What did I just say? Oh yeah! Its beautiful outside. So that’s where I’m headed. Dirty fingernails, here I come!

Forgetting Orlando……..an antidote……Blackish

Ditto re: the opening of the last post. Damiano comes first.

This morning as I listened to the gruesome details of the rampaging truck in Nice, France on NPR a commentator mentioned its similarity to events in Orlando. For the life of me I couldn’t put my finger on just what tragedy had happened there but I knew there had been one and that it had been bad. Instead I remembered that my grandsons had just returned from Orlando a week before to visit Universal Studios.

Claudia reminded me about the dance club massacre and I decided that we had had so many recent horrors that they had crowded out the Pulse Nightclub. It has been a summer of ugly headlines.

I found an antidote to some of this summer’s ghastly events last night. Claudia and I have been trying out various television series for the past few years. Some have proven sufficiently binge worthy to watch and even to pay for. Last night it occurred to me to watch “Blackish.”

I’d first heard the program mentioned a couple years ago before it was anything more than some short “teasers” which had been put on you-tube to generate investor interest. Somehow after all the black white conflict it seemed I should be watching it. I had heard a few weeks ago that they had set comedy aside to portray how a prosperous black family would explain the events of Ferguson, Missouri to their children. On Netflix this was the latest episode that we could have watched without charge. But I wanted to meet the family first and catch up with it from the beginning of its 2014 season. We watched six in a row and the first three in particular had both Claudia and I roaring with laughter.

Its full of self deprecation by blacks about black life. As a white guy I couldn’t have pulled it off. As my Mother told me years ago as a Kansas girl she loved to make fun of Kansas but she hated it when outsiders did the same. In this case I’m grateful to the creators of “Blackish” for sharing their humor about their situation with me. I don’t know if I’ll watch the rest of the season but I will make a point of watching the recent Ferguson episode.

Bob Mars, a cow, and a change in the sequence of events

I’ll write this sometime after I return from serving lunch at the Damiano Soup Kitchen.

OK. I’m back.

Shortly after finishing my post on the late Bob Mars I realized it likely would leave the wrong impression with readers. It might make them think I didn’t much care for Bob. The word I meant to write was “wary.” I was wary of Bob. He was influential and I took that into consideration.

On Wednesday morning I attended our church’s mens group where our guest was Sherry Rodriguez who works for St. Louis County advising Veterans about their state and federal benefits. Sherry asked the group to go around and describe their past military connections. Of 15 of us I was one of only two who had not been in the military. For a rare moment I felt out of touch. We had a couple of vets from the second world war several from Korea and more from Vietnam. I simply mentioned my father and grandfather’s service and explained that during the Vietnam war I had a 2-S deferment – to attend college.

At 65 I’m a few years younger than most of our group and that made a difference. By the time I graduated from high school the war was something to avoid as it had grown unpopular. The 2-S gave a lot of us cover and by the time I graduated I was no longer needed for call up. The fellows in our men’s group were either from the so called “greatest generation” or its younger siblings. Not me.

Bob Mars was of this Era. In one of our conversations he told me how he’d been assigned to fight in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands which the Japanese had occupied. That alone would have guaranteed a certain level of serious mindedness. And yet Bob must have harbored a sense of humor which he didn’t often display to a pup like me. But I do remember one tale he told me that hints of it.

In his college days, possibly at Carleton, he and some buddies had led a cow up the staircase of their dormitory to the roof. The Bob Mars I knew would have been a tough man to face had I done such a thing. It gave me some comfort to know that Bob hadn’t completely lost touch with his youthful escapades. In my presence he was mostly spit and polish. In fact, Tim Grover once told me with a grin how Bob had told him something to the effect that Bob judged men by whether they had polished their shoes or not. Its no wonder Bob didn’t take me all that seriously.

Now a correction:

I met Bob 40 years ago but I began serving on the school board with him 20 years ago. A lot has happened since then and I realized this morning I’d made a mistake with my chronology. He didn’t step down for health reason in 1999. He did that in 1997 two years after I was elected. I helped talk him into running a write-in campaign when it became apparent that the Teacher’s Union President planned to take over the Board and he damned near did it. In my previous post I wrote that this took place in 2001.

And an addendum:

In 1993, one of the three years I unsuccessfully ran for the school board, I asked Bob to support what was then Duluth’s first attempt to pass a “operating levy referendum.” There is a long story to this which I’ve probably written in the past but maybe not. (I thought I’d written the cow story in the blog but couldn’t find it). Bob was reluctant at first because it wasn’t fashionable to support tax increases in the Ninety’s. Still, Bob did it when he realized our local referendum money would be matched two-state dollars for every one-dollar our voters voted to approve. That was just too tempting for a good businessman to pass on. We campaigned to use all this money to pay off what was then a five million debt and build a $10 million reserve fund. That’s what I wrote in that controversial letter in 2001 when Bob I succeeded in getting Bob elected to the Board again. It was true.

Bent Elbows

Claudia and I decided to have lunch together this afternoon. We called our daughter to invite her. As a teacher she has her summer off. She thanked us but she had just baked a quiche which she was about to take to our son-in-law for his lunch. Our son-in-law has recently become addicted to Pokemon Go. This is a new phenomenon which I only discovered on Sunday when he took our grandsons on a walk to capture Pokemons.

Today, Claudia, who has read more stories about it than me, told me that it is an overnight $9 billion Internet wunderkind. No kidding!

We drove over to the new Canal Park restaurant the Cider House in the old Endion Station. We ordered a salad a pizza and beer. I got a Bent Paddle Lollygagger. We parked ourselves at a counter that gave us a perfect view of the Lake Walk. All through lunch we saw ample evidence of the impact of this flash in the pan – bent elbows.

We figured that about half of the folks walking, bicycling, surf boarding or even walking the dog must be looking for pokemons along their path. Just before we left I took a couple minutes to record this phenomenon with my cell. So, if you start noticing folks looking down at their cell phones instead of holding them to their ear you will have a pretty good idea what they are up to. Evidently there are a lot of Pokemons in Duluth. Our son-in-law even found one in our church’s sactuary.

While just walking:

In pairs:

While surf boarding:

While avoiding traffic:

While walking the dog:

Bob Mars Jr.

Bob Mars Jr. died yesterday.

I served with Bob for six years on the Duluth School Board. I first met him forty years ago when it was suggested I introduce myself to him for my first legislative campaign in 1976. I left that meeting at his offices in W. P. & R.S. Mars Co with a one hundred dollar check for my campaign. Bob surely knew I couldn’t beat Mike Jaros but for him it was almost certainly an investment. Who knew what the bright, political naif might become in the future. For a man like Bob, who had his fingers in every political corner of Duluth, it was a pittance. For me that hundred dollar check was an eye opener. I don’t recall getting any other check that size from an individual in that campaign.

I was on my best behavior back then. I had just lost my teaching job in Proctor and that campaign, lost though it was from the beginning, revived my spirits. I would come to understand that Bob Mars Jr. was the leading fixer in Duluth but more in terms of civic than political fixing. Oh he was a businessman and that inclined him towards the Republicans of that era than Democrats but he was a pragmatist and party affiliation for him was only nominal.

I doubt that Bob gave me much thought until I began running for the school board in the early 1990’s. By my third defeat (fifth counting legislative runs) he no doubt had lost all interest in me. When I finally won on my fourth attempt he was sitting on the Board of Directors of Minnesota Power where my wife Claudia was employed. And Bob Mars was also sitting on the Duluth School Board when I finally got elected. By that time I was well aware that Claudia was as vulnerable as me to any political missteps I might make. An influential and no nonsense Bob Mars might suggest that the wife of a troublesome School Board member might be given the heave ho should an annoying colleague on the school board with him begin misbehaving. Bob told me that a troublesome member of the Duluth School board was removed twenty years earlier when the School Board offered the troublemaker’s precinct, holding Duluth’s Bayview Elementary School, to the Proctor Schools. I don’t think Bob was hinting but then again.

Desperate to prove I was more than just a lucky perennial candidate for office I set out to redeem my reputation by being a sober-minded school board member. That worked for me for two years and four months. Then it didn’t.

In 1999 Bob decided not to run for the School Board for medical reasons. It was in this election that DFT President Frank Wanner intended to have me defeated. My old pal and ally Tim Grover made a decision not to run without telling anyone about it leaving no time to recruit a sympathizer. It was apparent that Frank Wanner would take control over the School Board so I kicked myself into high gear and talked Bob into letting me run a write-in campaign for him. He assented and folks came out of the woodwork to put up his lawnsigns. But it was a write in campaign. He did well but not well enough to win.

Two years later I turned things around. Bob ran again and I copied the campaign that first got him elected in the sixties. I put up lawnsigns echoing the campaign that first got him and two other candidates elected whose names began with the letter M. “Mars, Mundt and McKeon.” This 1999 campaign supported two incumbent School Board members whose names began with Mary and I put up lawnsigns that read: Mary, Mary Mars. It caught flak for a tough but honest letter I had sent out spelling out what was at stake.

Only Mary Glass got reelected. Bob would run again in 2001 along with Mary Cameron and both would find vindication for their losses in 99.

Bob fell afoul of East Hockey fraternity in 2003 and told me he planned to run a campaign against me but changes his mind when the hockey crowd fielded a candidate to run against me. It was a pretty stark vote of no confidence in me and put me in a short lived mood of defiance. I hadn’t planned to run for a third term until then but that put me into a month long jag to prevent the Hockey crowd from forcing me out. A few weeks after it was too late for me to pull out of the race I thought better of it and told the Trib and others that my opponent, Tom Hustad, was a good guy and because I only disagreed with him about the East High Hockey program I would end my campaign. I stopped campaigning although still on the ballot. Both Bob and I lost.

Bob had shot himself in the foot twice before that election. First he let a tiff with the East High coach over whether to play the Marshall School Hockey team get out of hand when he was later asked to uphold the decision not to rehire the coach. Second he was too candid when he told Denfeld high school supporters that he might very well vote to close their school in west Duluth if he was asked to reduce our facilites from three high schools to two. The furor this caused out west helps explain Bob’s plan to run against me in my eastern district where Denfeld parents could not weigh in.

I have only mentioned Bob a few times in my blog. We were mostly allies but not birds of a feather. I bumped into Bob a few times since getting reelected. One of the last times was not long after my ridiculous, but intense, attempt to expose the Kangaroo Court convened to remove Art Johnston. Bob smiled at me and shook his head not quite able to believe that I was still practicing my own special brand of voodoo.

Making out tedious SB meetings available to all

There have been a few news articles about public education over the past couple of weeks in the Trib that I’ve not been inclined to remark on while focused on painting. This is not new news. It was reported on MPR last March.

This was one of the reasons a teacher who had fallen afoul of the Administration found themselves outside of our schools last year. I will remain oblique on this point lest I get another complaint from the Teacher’s Union but I should note the teacher’s union only saw fit to complain about me and not challenge the state’s mishandling of the aggrieved teacher. Talk about looking through a backwards binocular.

Ah, but yesterday we finally had a committee meeting again. I couldn’t paint. My garden rain gauge filled up with just shy of three inches of precipitation and I spent a dreary day doing laundry and reading science news stories on my cell phone. The meeting (meetings) were a three hour marathon. Our Human Resources and Business meetings were back to back. HR is always scheduled to conclude in fifteen minutes. That’s about how long they lasted years ago when I was on the School Board but since I returned they have often been longer, much longer. This one took over an hour with a long discussions having to do with our imminent superintendent evaluation. (This is the annual evaluation by the School Board) We also had a long chat about compensation for our lowly paid hourly workers. There was some feeling that these workers deserved more than the minimum wage.

The Business Committee meeting took closer to two hours. We heard about the small savings we will get if we renegotiate our insurance packages at next week’s board meeting. That will be a slam dunk. We also met our “new” Transporation Director, Mike Johnson, who has been on the job for a year. He has an impressive resume. I had commented last month that I’d like to have the managers of our various departments come and talk with us and this was the fruit of that request.

The last long discussion concerned a long standing request by Art and me to video record our committee meetings. The previous school board was not disposed to permit this but Alanna Oswald brought this up at our last meeting and at her request the Administration did a little research an concluded doing this would cost us only about $1,800.00 annually. Cost had been held up before this as the prohibitive factor but the discussion yesterday centered around transparency and logistics (which side of the room could our stationary cameras video) No one could come up with any deal breaker arguments against spending this nominal amount but its safe to say the only enthusiasm for the change came from Alanna, Art and me. None of us think many people will watch the meetings but that’s probably not the point. Making our actions viewable for public inspection if and when the need arises is the point.

My Chum’s chum

It’s been a sobering week in the news. During our church service today our old pastor read St. Francis of Assisi’s famous prayer.

Like many others I watched the Facebook video of the aftermath of four bullets pumped into a St. Paul man because of a frightened Minnesota policeman. I feel as helpless as the little girl in the back seat of that car trying to comfort her Mother. And yet this was not Memphis in 1968. This was not Detroit in 67. It wasn’t even Rodney King. Not even close. Not even in Dallas. Racial progress might be as Malcolm X described it: the slow pulling of a knife out of the back of black America, but it is coming out.

Yesterday I got a call back from the folks putting a teaser together in hopes of getting some interest in Hollywood to produce the screenplay about the infamous 1920 lynching in Duluth. One of its heroes is going to be a cop just as it was in fact. In my audition I read for the part of a cook behind a cafe counter. I’ll go back for another follow up audition. If the movie is ever made I won’t be in it. The teaser will be filmed but anyone producing the film will want real actors if the screenplay is actually optioned. Call this my small answer to bringing about racial concord. I’m not a fan of rose tinted glasses.

Lots of tongues have been clicking since recent events. My Buddy sent me a blog post suggesting that Obama failed to heal America’s racial divide. I think his Presidency has actually vastly improved race relations. For one thing large numbers of black Americans are feeling like they are seeing some success in the economy. Many of them don’t give Obama credit for this but he is seen as having been a “credit to the race” to use an old fashioned turn of phrase. I was actually more annoyed with the many comments snearing at Obama that followed this post. Enough so that I sent in my own comment:

A friend sent me this Althouse Post. Its nitpicking of an NY Times writer for failing to knock Obama for bringing racial healing to America thus leaving it to an incompetent Trump and HC to do what he failed to to annoys me because it puts all the blame on Obama for the failure. He should have walked on water because his critics, like Herod in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, all sneered that he was the new Messiah. Well, If the old Messiah, son of God, couldn’t make us play nicely, it seems unfair to demand that the black son of a white Kansas mother put an end to a 300-year history of race problems without any help from the other side of the political aisle.

That other side?

At his first address to Congress he was interrupted with a cry of “liar.” The Senate’s GOP leader said his party’s first job would be to unseat Obama in 2008 after a honeymoon that ended with Obama’s taking the oath of office. To that end the blue states all enacted identification requirements assuring that poor and minority voters would have a harder time casting future ballots. But racial disharmony is all the President’s fault.

My Mother always told me it takes two to have a fight. The readers of this blog remind me of the circle of kids you always find at a fight in a playground and they are pretty much on the same side. They are big on catcalls but not so big on reflection. Althouse, What are you doing to help fix America’s sorry racial history besides tossing out chum?

I sort of thought about going to a worship service at Duluth’s St. Mark’s AME church this afternoon to pray for the fallen. Instead I wrote this post and will now climb my scaffolding to scrape and paint my house. I have rented the scaffolding for another five days. You can only make progress when you have something to stand on. The Republicans used to have Lincoln to stand on. As I wrote when I first started this blog: I took Lincoln with me.

Loren Martell’s Time Machine

Watching our June 21st school board meeting in full on youtube will take you three hours and 18 minutes. That’s a big reason to be grateful to Loren Martell who continues to sit through our meetings to capture our escapades in his Duluth Reader column. It only took me three or four paragraphs into his latest contribution for me to find a good chuckle. That had to do with the unwillingness of our current leadership to speed up one item for consideration thus forcing an eager group of parents to endure three hours of drudgery till we got to the consideration of rubber tire mulch. Poor Jana Hollingsworth, our intrepid DNT Education reporter, had to leave the meeting before we got to it in order to meet her deadline. (She must have stayed tune from afar because she got that tidbit in her story the next day)

I also appreciated the Duluth Reader’s editors capturing one of my questions of our financial advisers for special attention by placing it at the top of the story. No where else in Duluth, other than this blog, can a casual school board observer get a gander at what our school board is up to. This particular Martell column might challenge readers with elderly eyes. I noticed some of the smallest type I’ve ever seen in the Reader to put the entire column on just two pages. Yes, the Red Plan’s impact on the school gets yet another mention. Still, I found it an agreeable column.

I’ve got another couple of wonderful weather days to paint so I’m sitting on the many unwritten posts keeping me awake at night. When they keep me awake I turn on the light and continue reading the Old Testament. I’m almost though Second Chronicles. Each chapter is like a rerun of today’s headlines. Like today the freighted word “Israel” suggests a lost cause. I’ve been surprised how the Bible’s historians used it as almost as a word of opprobrium. This was not because it wasn’t a holy place. It certainly was. It is because after Solomon’s rule it became a place of such disappointment for God. But I only have so much energy. I’ll leave it to Loren Martell to get my readers past the holiday weekend.