To bind up our wounds the Prez-Elect bids a Happy New Year …

…to the new deplorables!

Donald J. TrumpVerified account
?@realDonaldTrump
Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!
RETWEETS
81,497
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187,945
Susan StevensMatthew GademskeOGmWesley GoodwinKiana ShannonlibertymomKerry-Lynne FindlayHogy Vanilla
5:17 AM – 31 Dec 2016

This looks like a good book for Denfeld and East students to ring in the New Year courtesy our New National Etiquette Trend Setter.

Perfect Duluth Day – December 30, 2016

https://www.perfectduluthday.com/2016/12/30/selective-focus-harry-welty/

I was asked by Brian Barber of Perfect Duluth Day to pass on some information about my snow “art.” Anyone who has ever visited one of the websites for the Harbin Winter Ice Festival or the many snow sculpting contests sites will immediately recognize that what I do and what professional snow and ice sculptors do are world’s apart. Still, I’ve had my moments.

Because Brian asked me for pictures of 800 to 1000 pixels I decided to overhaul nearly thirty years worth of chaotic scraps from my sculpting career which goes back to 1987. I started putting postage stamp sized photos of my early sculptures on my webpage when it took hours to upload or download ordinary pictures.

The “thumbnails” were too small for Mr. Barber’s needs.

I spread all my old scrapheaps out and rediscovered the many joys of my modest success and their quirky results. I now have a chronological record which, after tomorrow, will encompass a thirty-year career which is just shy of 100 sculptures.

Tonight could be an interesting meeting…

…here is an email the School Board recently received regarding it:

Good Morning Duluth School Board Members!

Thank You all very much for the time, energy and attention you provide our District!
The critical role you each play in our children’s future is extraordinary and challenging.
I’ve had the unique privilege of getting to know many of your teachers, support staff and school leaders in Western Duluth. Being on the hiring committee for principals, a PTA leader and consumed with volunteerism has enriched my knowledge of opportunities within our Western schools. It has also given me a significant sense of hope for those with much less opportunity and resources.
I’m taking my mistakes, learnings and successes into a collaborative multi-million dollar St. Louis River Corridor neighborhood parks initiative with our City of Duluth. It has been extremely rewarding and exhausting.

I wanted to make you all aware of an awesome leader who is proactively working with thought leaders from our Western Community and Schools. Mayor Emily Larson demonstrated authentic leadership during a collaborative meeting at Denfeld High School. At this meeting were Community Activists, Teachers, Elementary School Children, Middle School Students, High School Students and Community Resource Staff. Introduced as the most important people in attendance were the children. The kids selected to participate in this inaugural meeting weren’t the high performing, extreme popular or opportunistic kids. Some in attendance didn’t even know what a Mayor was. It was heartwarming and inspiring to hear them talk about their needs, what they love, who they admire and what’s missing for them to be successful! The post meeting follow up and follow through on the part of the mayors office was and continues to be phenomenal. We set results-based short and long term action steps and we are collaborating as cohesive partners for our Western Community.

We have attempted to collaborate similarly a number of times in the past four years with our Superintendent, to no avail. Think Kids was a brilliant “award winning” idea, but only as impactful as the tangible follow through on important initiatives brought forward through public input.

It has come to my attention that consideration will be given to a renewed contract for ISD#709 Superintendent William Gronseth. As an active leader for our Western Community who has worked with teachers, students, support staff, kids and our superintendent I’d ask you to delay any decision to extend or renew our Superintendent’s term until there is transparency of the specific evaluation tools and methods used.

Is there a standard evaluation process recommended by the Minnesota Dept of Education?
Are teachers and principals included from both ends of town at each level of schooling?
Will there be a public input session for students and community school stakeholders?

Tomorrow there will be public input where each person who’d like can speak for 3 minutes about inequity in the decision making process for our Western schools.
It will take quite a bit longer than 3 minutes to cover the concerns we have and continue to experience under current District leadership. I invite each of you School Board Members to sit down for a discussion on What Went Wrong through the Western Lens.

We have wonderful teachers, support staff and principals in our schools!
We have a school board with an opportunity to move in a different direction!
We have a significant group of community stakeholders and leaders who are rooting for our Superintendent to get one of the jobs he’s applied for outside our District!

Kindest Regards,

The Golden Gate

Last January I took this photo at dusk of the hillside cemetery facing Jerusalem’s Eastern or “Golden” gate.

I recall hearing it is the resting place of over 100,000 Jews. They have been interred with their feet facing the Eastern Wall so that on the Day when a David returns to resurrect Israel the dead will be able to rise from their graves into a sitting position and be the first to witness the holy miracle as the sun shines on the Golden Gate. Or something of this sort.

I took the picture after stepping outside the walls of Jerusalem which you can see on the immediate left. The wall blocks the view of the road Jesus traveled on Palm Sunday to enter Jerusalem. The Eastern Gate has been sealed up for centuries and Christian believers say it was done so by Saladin to prevent the savior from returning and making ancient prophecies come true. Here’s Wikipedia’s history of the gate.

President Donald Trump is quite likely to bring the rapture about sooner as his Kapo hating proposed ambassador to Israel wants to buck decades of American foreign policy and move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will also be a great triumph for Bibi Netanyahu just as the election of Donald Trump has been a great triumph of Russian espionage and old, white, male, Moral Majoritarian fear mongering.

I just finished reading the Book of Ezekial last night leaving me about 90 densely worded pages of the traditional protestant Old Testament to read. This was where I ran across the prediction about the significance of the Eastern Gate.

To my contemporary ears the preceding prophecy in Ezekial 37 sounds more like the outline of a George Romero movie script.

From the NIV which end-of-timers will turn up their noses to in favor of the KJV.

The Dry Bones

4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breatha enter you, and you will come to life. 6I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’?”

7So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’?” 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’?”

Thinking in terms of movie metaphors is lazy thinking but hard to resist. I expect to see the ancient Jews arising from their graves any minute now and a lot of empty street clothes lying hither and thither on the sidewalks as their apocalyptic owners are called to God.

Kapos and Trump’s new “Ambassador”

Another charming appointment that President Trump plans to make is an Israel-loving hard liner who wants to give Israel carte blanche. His name is David Friedman. He has called peace workers kapos. Kapos were the Jewish prisoners who did the dirty work at Nazi concentration camps.

I’d like to show our likely new ambassador the photograph I unwittingly took while in Palestine this January and which I only discovered after returning home from my pilgrimage. Its a dead Palestinian lying at the foot of an Israeli soldier.

I offered the story of the photograph to the Duluth Reader. I suggested that it could be the first of a series about my January trip to Israel but its publisher didn’t pick it up. The story is a year old now but I’ll post it here for the new Ambassador’s consideration:

Harry Welty’s Holy Land Haj, Part 1 – Bookends

Most everyone could benefit from a spiritual journey even an agnostic like me. So, when Claudia asked me last summer if I’d like to travel with her Seminary to study Israeli peace-making efforts it only took me a day to agree. Our departure in January would necessitate my absence from the organizational meeting of the Duluth School Board. That would leave me with no say in the new leadership of a Board which had censured me the previous Christmas. It took 24 hours for the quest for peace to take precedence over the quest for influence. I would tell my friends that if I could find peace in the most contested landscape on Earth I’d bring some of it back with me.

Friends shared their fears with me before I left. Piffle. Everywhere I passed I found squads of Israeli soldiers with Uzis at their side or slung over their backs. Some of the pony-tailed warriors packing heat looked like the girls I dated in high school except that they wore khaki’s and berets instead of strapless gowns.

My trip was bookended by two remarkable coincidences. They are a fitting introduction to the installments I mean to share in coming weeks.

On our second night in Israel, outside the walls of Old Jerusalem, Claudia and I had a free night to dine by ourselves. We chose the posh Rooftop restaurant atop the Mamilla Hotel. Our DK guide gave it three dollar signs

We had just returned from a Shabbat service at an orthodox synagogue. The stunning views of Jerusalem in the open terrace had to be viewed through a saran wrap shield that protected us from Israel’s winter chill. We were seated by a voluble American who made stinging comments about the naivety of peace advocates like those we had traveled with to Israel.

A sommelier brought us an excellent Israeli cabernet as two more tables were seated. The first was a party of four who took a long table with empty chairs for late arrivals. They were followed by a young couple who were shown to a table by our side. The pair held hands across the table and gazed dreamily into each other’s eyes.

As we finished our meal an approaching hubbub caught my attention. I calmly told Claudia that the Prime Minister of Israel was headed our way. Claudia told me she didn’t know what he looked like but I recognized him. I’ve been paying close attention to Bibi Netanyahu since the days of the first President Bush. The young man seated next to us turned toward us and explained, “I didn’t vote for him.” His girl friend’s eyes pled with him to please shut up as a guard with a holstered gun under his North Face jacket stood with his back towards the disgruntled voter’s chair. Another guard took position on the far side of the table with the extra chairs. The Prime Minister and his wife had finally arrived. More security fanned out onto the balcony just outside our saran wrap cocoon. I had purchased an identical North Face jacket the night before we flew to Tel Aviv. All I needed was a gun on my hip to join the security detail.

The peace skeptics at the first table scurried over to coo appreciatively for the Prime Minister. They recorded the unexpected meeting with their cell phones. As I reached for mine, Claudia ordered me to stop.

Once seated, Netanyahu engaged in a lively soliloquy his deep bass voice rolling under our table. When I turned around to sneak a peek he had both hands raised above his head much as mine were raised on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune two Decembers ago.

To say that Netanyahu is despised by peace types is putting it mildly. That didn’t stop me from basking in the presence of power. I ordered coffee and desert to linger a little longer. And yet, over the next day I stewed about our close proximity. Claudia had shown me a galling story about Bibi in the Jerusalem Post before we saw him in the flesh. The story had stuck in my craw. The next day I wrote a pointed letter to the Post. It wasn’t published.

Two weeks later, after our return to Duluth, the other bookend jumped out of my computer when I reviewed the thousands of pictures I had taken while in Israel. I’d shot one of them midway through our trip on a drive to the divided city of Hebron.

We had just left a Palestinian family in whose home we had stayed while near Bethlehem. They lived in Beit Sahour where the angels had directed shepherds to visit the manger. We pilgrims had enjoyed an energetic conversation at their breakfast table about war and peace before leaving. The family’s daughter brought it to a close by mentioning that “someone is shot every day.” That may have prompted me to take more pictures than usual of military checkpoints as we drove to the city where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, lay buried under the Ibrahimi Mosque. Like Hebron the Mosque is divided into a Jewish and non Jewish half. No Jews have been admitted to the Muslim side since 1994. That was when an American Jew shot 29 worshipers dead while wounding another 125.

On one side of Hebron live ardent Jewish nationalists. They move into any home left vacant by Palestinians down on their luck on the Palestinian side of the city. Above the souk, or shopping district, wire mesh was strung to catch the garbage poured down on shoppers by Jewish squatters. To discourage mayhem IDF forces command Palestinian rooftops.

We were all delighted by our Palestinian guide. We were to learn near the end of our trip that one of his legs was shorter from an Israeli soldier’s bullet. He was full of mirth and good advice. He encouraged us not to buy goods from the many vendors who pursued us through every shopping district. But on this walk through he had only nice things to say about one such vendor. “He’s a good guy.” He told us. We found out later that the good guy, like our guide, had survived a gunshot during a protest.

At one of the last stalls we passed in the souk a merchant told our group resignedly that another Palestinian had been shot dead that day. We walked soberly under a canopy of trash back to our bus.

What we did not know, and what I would not learn until reviewing a fuzzy picture after my return to Duluth, was that our little band of peacemakers had driven right by that day’s killing. Our bus driver had pulled into a road guarded by Israeli soldiers to turn around. As we paused I snapped a hasty picture of IDF trucks parked by razor wire. In the photo’s lower right corner lay a dead man at the feet of an Israeli soldier. The body was stripped naked and sported angry red welts.

Loving

I thought I was much younger when I read this story in our family’s copy of Life Magazine but it came out when I was 15 years old. Its about the mixed race couple, the Lovings, who successfully challenged the anti-miscegenation laws in the Supreme Court.

One of the bigoted things (my Buddy’s characterization) I wrote recently was that southern racists fled into the once hated “Party of Lincoln” in my lifetime. Evidence of this came out in a notorious 2011 poll showing that 46% of Mississippi Republicans thought “miscegenation” should be made illegal again as opposed to 40% who thought it should be legal. If it had been up to the majority President Obama’s mother would have been put in jail.

We went to see the touching movie “Loving” at the Zinema today. Claudia said it was a little long and slow but I suspect it captured the experience lived out by the Lovings. It was a nice antidote to our Birther race baiting President……who, no doubt, never believed a things he said while he was rallying America’s racists. Heck. Now that he’s President he’s making it clear he he didn’t mean anything he said while campaigning to be President of the United States.

a new more singable national anthem

Noah Trevor is astonished that Trump has now made a virtue of his lying and getting his rabid followers to buy into having been fooled – cuz it got him elected:

Its often argued that the National Anthem is too hard for folks to sing. Perhaps it could be replaced with this old Castaway’s song.

Trump is making his supporters complicit in public lies. What a new national ethos – Lincoln and Jesus were losers.

A new Era of paranoia?

This mornings anonymous emailer sent me a gracious if paranoid message to my reply about the District’s Building sales. Let me first mention that what caught my attention about the email was the tag end that said it was encrypted to guarantee anonymity. I had just read a news story in the wake of Yahoo’s announcement that 1 billion of its subscribers had been hacked explaining that since the Trump victory there was a huge wave of people hiding their online identities with a number of encryption systems.

Here’s my anonymous friends second email and my subsequent reply:

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I understand your point, but for at least the next four years, I am in complete stealth mode. I have/will be very critical about the powers that be, and I have muslim friends and family members. It’s VPN’s, Tor and proton mail for me. Elected to oversee administers? Did you mean watch them as they do whatever they want including looking for employment elsewhere? I understand that this isn’t your fault, but I and I’m sure you are more than sick of it by now.
Keep fighting the good fight.

Sent from ProtonMail, encrypted email based in Switzerland.

And my reply:

To: Minkdevil
Subject: RE: School Sales

I don’t blame you one damn bit Minkdevil. Orwell was off by a few decades.

All l can do is fight the good fight locally and nationally.

I have some Muslim friends. I can only imagine how they feel. Hang in there.

Harry

Trump’s new pal

I woke up this morning to find that “My Buddy” had sent me an email with links to bloggers skeptical of the claim that Russia tampered with our recent Presidential election. I haven’t yet read them but I did hear the incredibly reasonable President Obama comment on what a swell guy Vladimir Putin is:

“This is somebody, the former head of the KGB, who is responsible for crushing democracy in Russia, muzzling the press, throwing political dissidents in jail, countering American efforts to expand freedom at every turn; is currently making decisions that’s leading to a slaughter in Syria. And a big chunk of the Republican Party, which prided itself during the Reagan era and for decades that followed as being the bulwark against Russian influence, now suddenly is embracing him.”

And Trump has already suggested that he would be happy to bargain Taiwan’s future away for a better deal with China. Hes my kinda guy.

Bleeding Kansas


This is one of my Mother’s paintings. Its called “Lilly White Town.” She painted it to symbolize the new world we had moved to when we left Kansas and my Dad began teaching business law at Mankato State. It was a different world where some of my new school mates took to calling me “reb” because they thought my Kansas accent was a southern accent.

When I moved from Topeka, Kansas, to Mankato, Minnesota in 1963 to start junior high school I left a classroom in which there were as many black kids as white kids. My new school had never seen a single black child in a hundred years.

The fellow I call “my Buddy” likes to send me emails calling be a “bigot.” He also calls me a “race hustler.” This is a person I once teased when I discovered he wrote a civil rights rule for a municipality back in the day. I don’t think that when he calls me names he means that I am prejudiced against white people although its likely he thinks I’m guilty of “liberal guilt.” This is a term used by “conservatives” who also like to call liberals “bleeding hearts.” Liberals are supposed to be driven by guilt to rectify old wrongs by accepting the blame for them. This is what Jesus did when he “died for our sins.” How dare libs take on a Jesus complex.

Well, of course, this self righteous attitude would rankle. The equally dim “conservative” reaction goes something like this: “Don’t blame me and don’t expect me to apologize. I never owned slaves. The Civil War is over. Move on. And for your information – just because I’m white doesn’t mean I got any privileges handed to me.” I suspect, but can not prove, that all this goes through my Buddy’s head when he calls me names.

After the Herculean multi-year task of putting 40 years accumulated paperwork in some sort of order in my attic office I’m sitting with a floor completely free from boxes, folders and piles of documents. There are just a handful of items within reach of my clean desk. One of them is the book, Bleeding Kansas, I ordered recently after spotting it in the Kansas City Library.

Its one of the books I plan to consult as I write about my Grandfather, George Robb, next year. His father settled next to a black former slave eighteen years after the passage of the Kansas Nebraska Act.

Long time readers of this blog may remember my past references to my Grandfather’s ties with his neighbor the ex slave and my Grandfather’s service with black soldiers in World War 1 and maybe even the black maid my Mother hired to take care of him when he became infirm.

I think I’m the perfect person to talk about race. I think my Mother suffered from a little guilt where race was concerned. The painting at the beginning is evidence of this. The schools she attended were segregated until she got to junior high school. The Civil Right’s movement was going full bore when she was a young mother. Then she moved to Mankato at its height where there was precisely one black resident among 40,000 locals. He was Dr. Boerboom a veterinarian.

I, on the other-hand got the benefit of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, another frequent topic in this blog. These were my classmates in sixth grade before I left Topeka for lily white Mankato.

In many ways attending school with so many black kids inocculated me from thinking of them as a sterotype. They were individuals and I can understand how and why the 8% of blacks who voted for Donald Trump might have justified voting for man I consider an amoral, race-baiter.

Standing next to me at the top left is the only other Harry I knew growing up, Harry O’Neil. I vividly remember watching him round third base on our elementary playground after he lofted a kickball way into the outfield and looking over his shoulder to make sure he could run to home plate. A split second after he turned his head forward to run into home he smacked into an immovable six-inch-wide tether-ball poll that the Topeka Schools had inconveniently placed on the path from third base to home. He lost his incisors.

On the other end of the top row is Cynthia Robinson. What an annoying girl. She insisted she had another last name that belonged to her real father. There was a divorce or something going on. She was a tattle tale and a religious scold. She once tried to get my favorite teacher Mrs. Criss to kick me off a science club for some infraction. When she overheard me say something she disapproved of she grandly told me that if I ever took the Lord’s name in vain he’d strike me dead on the spot. I took great delight in looking up to the heavens and shouting to God to kill me. Poor Cynthia could only tell me reproachfully that God would oblige me but do it in his own good time when I least expected it. To my delight God has been in no hurry to expedite her prediction.

There’s Sherman a couple rows below me. I remember Mark Knickerbocker telling everyone with great enthusiasm, when Sherman showed up in sixth grade, what a cool kid he was because Mark had known him at a different school years before. My first interaction with Sherman was after school when he snatched my folder of artwork and proceeded to dump the pictures I’d made out to blow around on the playground.

I remember Vicky Bryant who is not in this picture because she was sent to Mrs. Muxlow’s sixth grade class where all the smart kids ended up. (Mr. Ross taught the losers although at the time I thought it was simply the luck of the draw that had separated me from so many of my friends) I invited Vicky to the cool Halloween Party my Dad organized for me in our basement. She was outgoing, smart, friendly and one heck of an athlete.

I passed some of these black kids houses on my way to school next to “Tennessee Town.” Some of them had 12 siblings and lived in tiny rattle trap houses propped up on cement blocks. Leslie Lewis was one of them. She was an Amazon who my Mother thought was becoming quite mature while I only saw her as a goofy giantess. I remember quiet studious black girls from middle class families who were too dignified for me to get to know. Thinking back on it I suspect there was a powerful incentive for them to protect their dignity by having as little to do with dangerous white people than they absolutely had to.

The five years I spent at Loman Hill Elementary School were like an inoculation against white cluelessness. It didn’t make me a champion for civil rights (which I think I am) but it gave me the sense that no one should be stereotyped based on the color of their skin. Heck, only a handful of my black classmates were really dark. A lot of them were much lighter skinned and represented a lot of white genetics. Gotta love the one drop rule.

Among my many finds in the Kansas State Historical Museum Archives was a paper my Grandfather wrote about James H Lane. I have yet to read it and fully expect to learn more about Kansas History as I write a book about my Grandfather. I think America is in the midst of a new Come to Jesus movement where race is concerned. I think that sharing what I know of my Grandfather’s experiences could give us a new perspective and help us move on. If nothing else writing it will help me sleep better at night.

My reply to an anonymous email

From: “Minkdevil”
To: “Harry Welty”
Cc:
Sent: 16-Dec-2016 02:37:28 +0000
Subject: School Sales

At least someone can sell a damn school!
http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/4174343-two-sherman-properties-sold

Sent from ProtonMail, encrypted email based in Switzerland.

To which I replied:

Howdy Minkdevil,

I prefer to correspond with folks by name rather than pseudonym. My name is out there and I wish more people were confident enough to step out from anonymity. At least your email is pretty straight forward and I’m happy to comment on this story you sent me.

The implication in your lone sentence is that we need people with business acumen to sell schools. Your comment implies that School Boards are lousy business people. Yup. Yup. Yup. I’m an ex-history teacher not a salesman. I tried selling insurance years ago and hated it. I remember persuading people that they needed insurance only to have them buy it from [my competitors]. I ain’t no Donny Trump.

The fact is schools are built to be schools. When you refuse to let buyers keep them as schools they have to dig deep to re-purpose the buildings. That’s risky. Old Schools are white elephants and spending millions to demolish the buildings is the quickest way to get rid of them. As it is we are spending a quarter million a year to heat our remaining schools in the winter and monitor them for vandalism for the rest of the year.

Selling them on the cheap to a real wheeler-deeler like Sherman makes the most sense. The problem is that when our Board designed the financing for the Red Plan they built an unreasonable expectation that they could sell a half dozen old buildings for $20 plus million dollars. It will never happen and because of it we are transferring money from our classrooms to pay off the bonds we used to pay for the Red Plan construction.

I think Sherman still owns the old Lincoln School which he bought for one dollar. In the meantime he has sold a couple of old schools some of which he did not buy from the School District. For instance Jefferson School was sold long before the School Board put a covenant on the sale forbidding the building to be used as a school. Guess who uses Jefferson’s first floor? Its Many Rivers Montessori.

You sent this story to one of the three school board members who is willing to sell Central to the Edison Schools. Ditto a sale to Many Rivers.

But even Sherman has his limits. He toyed with buying the Nettleton School for a couple years that we had to pay $35,000 a year to heat the building while he considered his options. He recently backed out of the sale. As the story notes he has a much bigger fish to fry in Duluth the fixing up of the Northshore Theater. I don’t fault him. He’s a businessmen and we have a firesale he didn’t want to get burned in.

The part time School Board isn’t designed to make money. Its elected to oversee the administrators of the local schools. About the best we can do is try not to let empty schools end up being a drain on the system. We are handicapped by the decisions of previous Boards which spent too much and gambled that leaving a half dozen old schools on the market during a period of financial straights [would pay off]. Those Boards left future Boards holding the bag.

Please send the story to the Board members who want to hang on to the old schools.

All the best
Harry Welty

Today’s Trump News

China concurs with me that our President elect is a lot like the Jerry Lewis character in the movie Visit to a Small Planet. The Chinese said of Trump that Trump is “as ignornant as a child.” The name of the Lewis character turns out to have been “Kreton” which is a play on the word cretin.

I have no intention of letting up on our new soon-to-be President. My Buddy thinks my rants against him are little more than pissing into the wind but I have to do it to sleep through the night. I’m as uncertain as everybody else how a Trump administration will turn out be it a disaster, a success or a wash. At the moment there is little in the news that is very encouraging. But I’ll start by noting that however unorthodox his cabinet picks so far he has selected people who look to be the sort who would stand up to him, real self-made billionaires and no nonsense military men if they thought he was being a chowder head.

Perhaps he’ll follow LBJ’s example. To the great surprise of the Civil Right’s movement LBJ became their champion. After years of fawning over the racists in the US Senate President Johnson pushed through the Civil Right’s laws that transformed the Nation and drove the southern racists into the Republican Party. Why did LBJ do this? He didn’t read books either but he had a great desire to win a place in History’s pantheon of greats. He knew he could be a modern Abraham Lincoln instead of one of a great body of mediocre Presidents and he succeeded. Perhaps Trump’s ego will push him to a similar greatness……..if he can control his inner Kreton.

I know one person who won’t be wishing him well on that front as a strong America is not in his interest. I put up an oblique lawnsign about him before the election.

And to whom am I referring? – NBC reports that the CIA has concluded that not only did the Russians interfere in the recent presidential election but that Vladimir Putin personally directed it to help Trump get elected.

Children can’t handle philosophy?

I was delighted with today’s rebuttal of this ill thought out think piece published in the Trib on December 4th.

I was strongly tempted to write my own critism. Its the second time I’ve been tempted to argue with this retired Iron Range teacher but I’m a busy fellow and, as a school board member, I don’t want to wear out my welcome writing op-eds to the Tribune. This “educator” opined that it was a waste of time to teach kids philosophy because their brains weren’t ready to handle it and more prone to taking stupid risks. Hell, why do we bother to teach them anything other than readin and writin and rithmatic before they are old enough for post-graduate studies?

Here’s is a sensible reply I second.

A short sample:

Heck, I’m a middle-aged man; we are famous for making bad life choices despite our well-developed brains. Just this summer, against my better judgment, I followed a couple of friends over a dangerous waterfall crossing at Tettegouche State Park. (And I’m still gunning for a sports car.) My fully developed prefrontal cortex may mitigate bad judgments, but it doesn’t immunize me against them.

More importantly, my bad choices do not make me a bad philosopher; they just make me human.

All for one and One for All

One of the nicest things I’ve seen recently came from a group of East parents who are determined to make sure the CITS course offerings at Denfeld measure up with those at East High. They have started an online petition among East students and parents in support of fair treatment. Alanna Oswald who seems to catch every bit of important intelligence in this District forward this to me.

CITS is College in the Schools. The petition is apparently only meant for East parents and students so I won’t make the link to it generally available. I hope the Greyhounds are good at getting it out to their folks because I’d like to see a lot of names on it.

Duluth East Parents and Students Support CITS Opportunities at Denfeld

A few notes about this petition……….This came out of multiple discussions with my own East HS kids about how they are benefiting from CITS classes and that not everyone in the school district has the same opportunity. I feel strongly that we have a responsibility to speak up and voice support for equal opportunity, particularly if we are benefiting from classes currently. So, we talked about this for many weeks and wrote this petition together. This is strictly coming from us and not from the school directly. We also talked about how this issue is complicated and that we know the district has been tackling it, however, we felt support from the East parent/student community could be stronger. We hope you see the positive intentions behind this.

We, parents and students from Duluth’s East High School, want to express our support for finding a solution to providing the college in the schools courses that are needed and desired at Denfeld High School. We feel it is not fair that the decision to have one school larger than the other would limit the opportunities for students in the district (Duluth News Tribune article, November 13, 2016). As we know, these classes benefit the students who want to take them not only because they provide more in-depth learning on a topic of interest but they reduce the overall cost of higher education after students graduate. It is unfair to not provide equal access to these classes for all Duluth students. To clarify, the same classes are offered but it appears as if they are offered as single section courses and therefore difficult to fit into a course schedule. Therefore, the issue is “access” not what is offered.

We understand that the Duluth School District is very aware of this situation and is also interested in finding a solution but we suggest that this become a priority. It also seems to make sense that other entities that might benefit from more highly educated and trained students, like the health systems, be brought in to help solve this issue.

So, as East High School students and parents we want to express our appreciation for the classes offered at our school but strongly support a solution that offers the same opportunities to all students in the Duluth Public Schools. Results of the petition will be shared at an upcoming school board meeting. Thank you!

Ezekiel 28: 4-8

My latest Bible reading: I skipped some of the more violent parts of Ezekiel on the off chance that somebody might mistake this as a call to shoot up a pizza joint. Ezekiel reports that God isn’t very impressed with folks who use their smarts solely to make a bundle.

4 By your wisdom and understanding
you have gained wealth for yourself
and amassed gold and silver
in your treasuries.
5 By your great skill in trading
you have increased your wealth,
and because of your wealth
your heart has grown proud.
6 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘Because you think you are wise,
as wise as a god,
7 I am going to bring foreigners against you,
the most ruthless of nations;
they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom
and pierce your shining splendor.
8 They will bring you down to the pit,