All posts by harrywelty

I had 43,421 pageviews in 5 months in 2006. . .

. . . when my blog was new. That was from August through December. In the first ten days of June 2019 I’ve had 48,005 pageviews.

Actually, for my blog’s first five months, March 7th through July, no statistic engine was keeping track of my hits. That didn’t start until August of 2006.

If you’re curious here is my very first post on March 7th where I declare my departure from the Grand Old Party. Donald Trump has brought me back with a vengeance.

In the Absence of Humility

In the absence of humility sexual predation is rampant. We expect it in secular quarters like politics but its true in the church as well. Catholics are and will continue to reel from recent expose’s. Ditto the Boy Scouts. Pedophiles flocked to the schools where Indian children were taken from their parents and shipped away to forget their Indian languages and learn of the greatness of the United States. It has made its way into Christian evangelism where, as was the case with Leroy Moore of Alabama, the true believers refuse to take the scales off their eyes.

What I didn’t know is that in a lot of the new evangelical churches the decks are stacked against victims by a contract kind of like Donald Trump’s non disclosure agreements. The Times’ story today about pedophiles in the evangelical world explains it thusly:

“It was the kind of community that Ms. Bragg, who was not raised in the church, wanted for her children. They signed the church’s Membership Covenant, an agreement stating they would submit to the Bible and to the authority and spiritual discipline of church leaders. Members promise to “practice complete chastity” unless in a heterosexual marriage, to “refrain from illegal drug use, drunkenness, gossip,” and to “diligently strive for unity and peace within the church.” Leaders promise “to lovingly exercise discipline when necessary.”

“Ms. Bragg could feel her faith growing. She embraced evangelical tenets, like trusting God, not one’s own feelings. She learned the importance of being slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Mrs. Bragg would learn the hard way that bowing to this church was like putting on a pair of handcuffs. Like the first eruptions of scandal in the Catholic Church these evangelical churches have no room for apology or confession. In this they are just like their hero Donald Trump and the new Republicans and Bill Clinton too for that matter.

half a ton of sand

I occasionally get a little anal retentive about clean up. Ten years ago I noticed a lot of cigarette filters along the thin boulevard along my retaining wall along 21st Ave East in Duluth. I collected 132 of them from street to alley. That’s bad. I was tempted to write about them in the Duluth Reader but never got around to it.

For about ten years the City of Duluth has been sweeping up the winter sand it strews on the avenue to keep cars from sliding off the road or into the intersection. This year I waited a long time to see the little sweeper that brushes off the sand. It drove up the hill one day but never returned to sweep my sand. A week ago I sent emails to a couple of City departments asking which was responsible for clean up. One supervisor told me it was street maintenance’s department but I’ve never heard back from them not even when I sent them this picture after I picked out the leaves which I took to the yard compost facility on 27th Ave West.

Over the week-end of nothing more than cold shoulder from street maintenance I began cleaning off the sidewalk. Today I called and left a message to the manager explaining that I had swept up the sand myself but telling him I hoped they would pick up the piles which I placed around a construction sign they behind. The sign was held down by a couple of 40 pound sand bags to keep it from blowing over. Comparing the bags with the two mounds of sand behind them I estimate that I swept up a thousand to 14 hundred pounds of sand. Imagine them along every half block of street artery in Duluth after the winter. The sand would probably do a good job plugging up our sewers. At least they aren’t cigarette filters.

What does 10,538 pageviews yesterday mean?

For those new readers joining my “eight loyal readers”……

I’m no Mark Twain. I’m no David Brooks. I’m not Sam Cook. (Duluth News Trib readers will know who he is…..although we’ve been confused for each other on occasion and we were both born in Kansas)

I’m a fellow who is addicted to knowledge (In high school I learned about Faust and his bargain with the devil to become omnipotent) At about the same time I clasped Socrates’s maxim to heart – “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I’m a politician, a teacher, and a writer and I won’t shut up in any of these endeavors. And furthermore, in all of these endeavors I’m guided by my addiction to knowledge and my daily fight against ignorance……especially willful ignorance….such as…..“I know you may be right but I find you so annoying that I’ll be damned if I’ll admit it” ignorance.

Its this last kind of ignorance that particularly troubles me. Its the sort of ignorance that leads to war and its bounty of death and destruction. Ironically, like a good fight sometimes war cleans the deck. But in today’s age on the verge of a Sixth Extinction or worse backing away from this kind of ignorance is particularly important.

In this I am right behind the next generation of young people abandoning the Republican Party. I have far more faith in them to protect my grandson’s future than the Alzheimers Network’s (Fox News) voters. The GOP’s favorite media lives by the same dim witted mantra as Donald Trump. “If Black Lung is good enough for West Virginia its good enough for America.”

Before I return to my message to new readers just let me mention one more Trump Era excrescence (that’s a fifty cent word for shit) Australia which is being hit harder by Global Warming than any other part of the Earth than the poles and killing off the extraordinary Great Barrier Reef just elected a Trumpian who wants to ignore the enviorment and sell more coal to China. How is China going to use this bounty. Its about to build 145 coal burning electrical generators in African and Asian nations even while China is shuttering its own coal-fired plants that made its capital the smog capitol of the world for the last twenty years. There are no words for such folly.

I write to be noticed. I write to win elections. I write to win hearts. I write to make people think and just maybe to show off 68 years of accumulated wisdom and knowledge. I try to write with some with and good cheer. The topics, being all to tangled with human ego, are not necessarily funny…….certainly not planetary extinction.

So, yesterday I had over 10,000 pageviews. I presume that’s largely because I put lots of links to previously well read posts. I’m adding more. The Trump ignoring editors of the Duluth News Tribune are a little sensitive about my criticism. I don’t know if they will be willing to endorse me. I don’t think its much of a problem if they don’t. BUT…..I have my work cut out for me this year. Two years ago I was not reelected to the Duluth School Board by a ton of anguished voters who thought by voting me off they were rescuing Duluth from Donald Trump. Ignorance is such a bummer. Curing it takes daily, hourly work.

And my beef isn’t with the Reporters of the Trib. Heck a couple days ago one of the reporters who covered me on the Duluth School Board gave me the friendliest call out as she drove by my front lawn. Nope. Its the poor editors under the thumb of a Koch-like media operation. They find me prickly.

10,538 pageviews means I’m not dependent upon the editors of the Duluth News Tribune to explain how crazy I am. I can do that myself just fine…..thank you very much!

A press release not published…

… By the Duluth News Tribune

Because press releases fill up space and require no actual work on the part of reporters, Duluth media outlets love them. They’ll parrot press releases from anybody–except for one person. So far, no Duluth media outlet has managed to parrot mine. Oh well. They’ll be crying when the Monitor’s kicking their butts around the block. T minus thirteen days to launch.

PRESS RELEASE–Launch of the Duluth Monitor

The Duluth Monitor, an online news publication, will launch on June 19, 2019.

John Ramos, publisher of the Monitor, says, “Duluth is badly in need of quality journalism. Over the last couple of decades, the news business in the city has been greatly diminished. The newspapers don’t have enough reporters left to cover basic governmental meetings, let alone undertake serious investigations. The TV stations offer great weather forecasts and bantering on-air personalities, but little else. We sense that people in Duluth and the surrounding region are hungry for meaningful news. We intend to supply that demand.”

Ramos is also the Monitor’s lead investigative reporter. He promises a big story for the launch.

Contact information:

John Ramos

Most visited posts of 2019

This list is based on some conjecture. My statistics site can tell me how many hits or pageviews Lincolndemocrat gets every day. It doesn’t tell me what viewers are looking at. Its possible, even likely, that large numbers of readers don’t find posts until several days after they have been posted. I won’t always even guess what might have been the most popular post on some days.

The blog has grown. In 2007, Lincolndemocrat’s first year, there were 68,560 pageviews. So far this year its 524,081 pageviews just short of half-way through the year. 2019 could be my first million pageview year.

JUNE 2019 Click here

MAY 2019

May 14 – 9,794 pageviews I Double Dog Dare You to Call Me a Baby Killer
May 27 – 17,874 pageviews A MEMORIAL DAY REMEMBRANCE

APRIL 2019

April 26 – 5,021 pageviews Continue reading

75 years ago

This is one of the pictures I took of the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha beach last September.

Seventy-five years ago, on another June 6th, allied soldiers in the tens of thousands returned to France to finish Part B of the war my Grandfather had fought in 1918. This day in 1944 would be remembered more honestly than the vainglory reported back home from the First World War. A 42-year-old Indiana man wrote 700,000 words from the front and sent them to 400 newspapers back home. His name was Ernie Pyle. D-Day, however, called for a different kind of reporting. Pyle’s story is a fitting way to remember the men who died that day and every day of that war. Ernie would have understood the french woman who spoke on NPR this morning. A Normandy native she survived the invasion and walked along the beach after the battle just like Pyle did. Though she still lives within sight of the beach her memories of Normandy’s aftermath have made it impossible for her to bear walking along it for the last seventy-five years.

Here’s the first paragraph from today’s New York Times remembrance:

Most of the men in the first wave never stood a chance. In the predawn darkness of June 6, 1944, thousands of American soldiers crawled down swaying cargo nets and thudded into steel landing craft bound for the Normandy coast. Their senses were soon choked with the smells of wet canvas gear, seawater and acrid clouds of powder from the huge naval guns firing just over their heads. As the landing craft drew close to shore, the deafening roar stopped, quickly replaced by German artillery rounds crashing into the water all around them. The flesh under the men’s sea-soaked uniforms prickled. They waited, like trapped mice, barely daring to breathe.

Read it all: The Man Who Told America the Truth About D-Day

Most visited posts of June

My most visited posts of June, 2019, so far:

June 4, 7,732 pageviews Hot Air (a SKY TV ad)


June 6, 10,538 pageviews MOST VISITED POSTS OF 2019

June 10, 10,548 pagevoews five posts. No idea if the most popular was an obit about a good Republican, Disappointing Street Maintenance or our local opera company. Try the Obit.


To qualify (for now) as a “Most visited post” 6,000 pageviews a day are required.

Most visited posts of 2019 by month

If I have to lie to get elected I don’t want to be elected

And I do want to get elected:

I missed my deadline for the Reader. I haven’t done any serious recent blog postings but a few days ago I responded to a Facebook comment that every beginning teacher ought to be paid $60,000.

I took a little break after an hour’s French studies to clear my mind and I began thinking about that post and my reply which is copied below.

That $60,000 salary is bullshit. Its bullshit in the same way as some folks are saying the United States should pay full tuition for every college student. I called it Pie-in-the-sky in my reply which I think was thoughtful but America doesn’t need thinking on the left to be as addled as Trump’s tweets.

Here’s the facts. Public School Teachers make good livings. They are paid the same whether they are brilliant or mediocre. This offends some Republicans but who cares. Let them go into teaching. I’ve known dynamic teachers who petered out because of the demands of the job. Its called “burn out.” The challenge for any successful school is to prevent burn out. Using high pay to keep teachers motivated is a lost cause. It’s a lost cause that teacher’s unions chase after vigorously. They are as addicted to pushing up high wages as District Attorneys too often are by high conviction rates……whether the convicted are guilty or not. The rates become their bragging rights for reelection. Ditto teacher politicians in their unions. “We got you more pay and we poured out a lot of crocodile tears about all the other stuff like big classes. Keep us negotiating for more of the same.”

For instance, in Duluth our Teacher’s Union has made it damn near impossible to hire more teachers. Every scrap of money the state gives us goes into to paying existing teachers not hiring more to have smaller classes. When I asked Frank Wanner, then the DFT President, why his union would not support a levy referendum request in 1997 that the Board promised to use to hire additional specialist teachers his response to me was “What’s in it for us?” meaning the existing teachers. But the DFT got behind the Red Plan. They had to to stay in good stead with Duluth’s languishing construction unions and supported the ruinous Red Plan that diverted so much local levy into building bonds at the expense of a couple hundred existing teaching jobs. Ah, but after silencing teachers worried about the Red Plan, Frank did ridicule the School Board after the Red Plan’s damage was done – for not knowing better. Thanks a lot.

Some union leaders do see the forest for the trees. I once fell in love with the AFT’s (American Federation of Teachers) gnarly old President Al Shanker. As he aged he realized that public schools owed more to their students. Please read the link.

Here is a basic truth about teacher pay. Teachers, protected by tenure and unions, have it pretty good if they are reasonably good teachers. First, Its a secure job. Its protected during economic downturns because the public will continue to keep them employed. Second, Its a job with a summer vacation. I know. I know!!!!! Teachers hate it when this is thrown into their face but its undeniable. Three months of summer off to take more classes for a higher better paying degree, or to garden or to travel. Hell, I wanted to be a teacher for this reason. My father left a full time public job to become a college teacher who taught one summer session but discovered he could take his kids on six week camping trips to introduce them to America and Canada. Third, Its modest wages (which are looking better and better to a lot of low level service employees these days) are vastly supplemented by a generous public retirement plan… many states like Minnesota. My Dad’s TRA money covered half my Mother’s living expenses and housing needs until she died after six years in a dementia wing of a nursing home here in Duluth. Fortunately, she had some other income and savings for the other half thanks to prudent children who looked out after her interests.

What I wrote in my reply was this:

Harry Welty: Easy to say but a very tall order. How about guaranteeing all parents $40,000. How about guaranteeing no classroom has more than 25 kids. Both are worthwhile goals but pie in the sky. If Duluth was to implement this overnight on its property taxes I can’t calculate the cost but I can imagine it. $60,000 is probably the average pay without benefits for a Duluth teacher. Starting everyone at this salary might be like giving 500 teachers 10,000 each or $5 million. It won’t reduce class sizes. It won’t make kids learn more. Multiplied across America It will make Democrats very unpopular overnight.

A FRIEND’S REPLY: It is a commentary on our society that people would rebel against paying teachers a decent wage – commensurate with the importance of the job. But, people pay hundreds to see a professional sporting event, and the players are paid exorbitant salaries. We pay thousands for vehicles, and auto executives make millions. We pay for those salaries, and maybe we don’t like it, but we keep buying cars and trucks and we keep going to sporting events. But, we won’t pay what teachers are truly worth. It shows how little we truly value education.

Harry Welty: I can’t disagree with you. The challenge is addressing multiple priorities simultaneously. Gas taxes for infrastructure. Taxes for preschools. Taxes for conservation of federal lands and Health care The list is long and has been neglected for a long time while the Kochs and their ilk were spared. I take Bernie’s advocacy as a worthy goal but not as a practical one.

Shining Your Shoes – My latest Not Eudora Column

Robert Sumner Mars May 21, 1926 – July 10, 2016

It begins:

I’m the odd Republican on a largely Democrat Inspired Facebook page where I’ve been watching the intergenerational tug-o-war between Biden and Bernie supporters and everybody else. There’s nothing new in this. John Kennedy heralded a changing of the guard when he became the second youngest President in 1960 giving the parents of baby boomers their moon shot to remake America. Now in 2019 its the Baby Boomers turn to stand in the way.

I had my own tug-o-war with a representative of JFK’s generation. It came to an end when Bob Mars died in 2016.

Read on.

No more Arbor Vitae

A large part of the hours I’ve spent on my yard involved removing two arbor vitaes which stood sentinal above our back patio for two decades. This shows their replacements two spindly pea bushes from a rank of pea bushes. The spindly ones had grown feeble as other trees overcrowded them. Now they will have a chance to fill out a bit. Cleaning the stones at their base turned out to be the most time consuming part of the work. Once laid on a still existant plastic sheet to discourage weeds I found about an inch of rich soil under and between them which I was eager to wash off so that no new weeds would take root immediately.

My intention with this heavy duty gardening now early in the season is to clear the decks so that I can campaign vigorously for the School Board election. We’re down to annuals now although Claudia is hoping to attract orioles to a new bird feeder she bought. They are in town but I haven’t seen one in about forty years when we set out oranges for them in Western Duluth.

Gardening – minus 101

My lackadaisical view of gardening was cemented in my head forty years ago when I read an article in one of my American Heritage magazines. I recall it showing a fellow pushing an old rotary lawn mower much like the one I acquired when we bought our first home. Yeah, I know. Sounds as ancient as a crystal set.

I’m not sure which era it highlighted. It might have been the 1920’s or the 1950’s but which ever time period it was it described a mania for keeping up one’s lawn that continues even today. Eager for excuses to shirk yard work I think long and hard every time I look at Lake Superior from my sun roof. When I apply fertilizer to my yard I think about phosphates draining into the waters below and something that was once never seen in Superior – algae blooms. As a high school kid in over-fertilized, farm-centric Southern Minnesota I remember swimming in lakes so thick with algae that it looked like you could play Jesus and walk across them. And of course some blooms kill dogs who drink their water like the Red tides that wash up on Gulf Waters.

When my wife was corporate and I was busy running for office every year and everyone knew where we lived because of my snow sculptures she caught grief at work every spring because it looked like dandelions held our front lawn together. Her self consciousness made me self conscious. I began, and continue, to remove them by hand. And the whole lawn is rutted because of my early and spring snow sculpting which leads to my clomping around on thin snow that cuts into the earth below. This year I’ve been trying to clean up the front yard I couldn’t mow because the county was fixing up fourth Street. And global warning may be responsible for a massive infestation of creeping charlie in my front yard. I associate this weed with my childhood in Kansas. I’ve been pulling it out by hand. I’m going crazy cleaning up my strawberry/raspberry patch. I’ve cut my grass to a near balding golf course height and sewn new grass seed. And there’s my back yard too.

In back I removed one arbor vitae damaged by a Globally warmed October and replaced it with a spindly pea shrub from elsewhere in our garden. That took two long days. I have one more such exchange to make (the remaining tree in the picture above). I am doing all of this to free up my summer to campaign for the school board. Only I will be campaigning in my own unique way……by blog and by mail. After 17 campaigns over 40 years I figure that there are only a few thousand houses in Duluth whose doors I have not yet knocked on. I will not be getting plantar fasciitis like I did in 2017. Walking 30,000 steps daily so crippled me that I lost two weeks of door to door week by the end of the campaign.

As for my front yard. Without corporate types teasing her about my dandelions this year Claudia has expressed concern about my picking the dandelions out for my front yard. Now, with all the stories about the environment, she is worried I’m shortchanging bees by taking out one of their best early season sources of food. I’m heartless. I captured a stingless bee a couple days ago and fed it to my grandson’s Venus fly trap. All nature needs nurturing.

Most visited Posts of May

Much of what I post is preliminary, scanty, and off the top of my head. But sometimes I post things that are worthy of more consideration. I’m going to start highlighting not so much what I value but posts which seem to have generated more interest based on increased visits or “page views.”

So here are what I believe to be my most visited posts of May 2019


May 14 – 9,794 pageviews I Double Dog Dare You to Call Me a Baby Killer


May 27 – 17,874 pageviews A MEMORIAL DAY REMEMBRANCE

NOTE ALSO: That visitors may be more interested in preceding posts. I don’t know what they are looking at for sure and because I sometimes upload entries late at night their visitor numbers are reflected in the next day’s numbers which I may use in lieu of that actual days numbers.

Memorial Day Remembrance

At noon I put up our US flag for Memorial Day. I’m not a fanatic about following the rules or it would have gone up at daybreak. I hope my Grandfather would forgive me. I don’t know if he put up a flag every patriotic occasion or not but there is no doubt he was a patriot. I lived in his shadow as a child. I haven’t read through these five posts to confirm it but it appears I might have told this story on the blog five previous times. When I was little and scraped a knee and came looking for my Mother’s solace she would tell me “Don’t cry Harry. Your Grandfather was shot in war and he didn’t cry.”

BTW – That’s such a tough love piece of advice that as an adult I took great delight in quoting it back to my Mother to embarrass her. And she was embarrassed. I’m chuckling at the remembrance now.

But I’ve only come to more deeply respect my grandfather, George Seanor Robb, as the years have passed. This blog has ample evidence of that and this post is just the latest. I’ve been thinking all through the Trump years that writing a book about him would be a good antidote to the Trump contagion. Damn me for my tardiness. I hope to start writing it after the Fall School Board election. Before that I’m hoping to publish another book.

George Robb used his prestige as a Medal of Honor Winner for good. As a big shot Kansas State Auditor he was asked by his Alma Mater for their advice on whether to admit a Japanese student during the Second World War when all Japanese-Americans in the continental United States were being put in internment camps. Here’s the post about the letter he wrote Park College.

In recent years little Park College has honored my Grandfather by setting up the George S. Robb Center for the Study of the Great War. If you follow that link you will see pictured African American men who served with my Grandfather in the trenches of World War I. Following that war my Grandfather was generous in his praise of his fellow comrades at arms. After the war racist Americans bent over backward to besmirch their reputations as fighting men.

Today the GSR Center is spearheading a long overdue evaluation of warriors who were denied the nation’s thanks for their valor and service.

Mining Minnesota

The Glen Avon Presbyterian Men’s group getting a good look at Polymet Mine’s operations this May.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned here that my church men’s group got a tour of Polymet. I was impressed. Today I discovered that the little people who invested in the new mine have been used and now sold out so that Polymet can sell out to the huge mining investor Glencore. This is the outfit once headed by Marc Rich who Bill Clinton infamously pardoned on the last day of his Presidency.

Here’s what Minnesota Brown (Aaron Brown) wrote about this today:

Here was my two cents entered into his talk back section:


Letisha gave my church men’s group a tour of Polymet 2 weeks ago. I was impressed. Lurking in the back of my mind was Glencore. They seem to represent the nexes between profitability and amorality. Letisha told us of her decade working hard to open Polymet and add new mines to the Range. I guess she risks betrayal of that long work as well.


Fighting Trump Fire with Water

This image, which I understand, was one person’s response to the following Facebook post about a planned vote for Bill Weld in the GOP Presidential primary:

I like all but one of the Democratic presidential contenders.* My favorite is Klobuchar. But since I think she has little shot at winning the nomination, I have just about made up my mind to vote in the Republican primary instead of the Democratic primary next year, and vote for Bill Weld. (*Gabbard is Trump-lite)

I know Weld is extremely unlikely to beat Trump for the Republican nomination (though can you imagine if he did?!) But I think Trump will be wounded in the general election if he comes out of the primary with only, say 75% of the Republican vote. Anything less than that and he would look like a sinking ship, from which rats would begin to flee.

Bill Weld was the Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential nominee in 2016, and was formerly the Republican governor of Massachusetts — a blue state. Weld believes in low taxes and deregulation more than do, but he is also a believer in women’s rights and LGBT rights. He understands the threat of climate change.

And this is the way he talks about Trump…

I of course sympathized with both posts but I stuck up for the tactic laid out with this comment:

Re: the ethics of voting in “the other party’s” primary.

The GOP has gerrymandered, vote suppressed, put Kavamaugh not Merrit Garland on the Supreme Court and elevated an amoral, lying, narcissist to the Presidency. The GOP worked hard to make all this possible through the rule (or misrule) of law. Compared to all this, the legal right to vote in the primary of your choice in order to disrupt the other party in its depredations only makes sense.

That’s what I’ll be doing only in my case I will be honoring the memory of Republicans like my father and grandfather…long dead.

The Good Fight

During an hour long phone call with my brother, a significant portion of which was spent hyperventilating about Donald Trump, I recommended that he and my sister-in-law watch the CBS Access (online only) TV series The Good Fight. The first I’d heard of it came from this NYT story about its opening credits. For the past five or six days my wife and I have been watching this fresh, topical and stellar series.

Anyone who detests Trump should watch it. Some very smart writers know how you feel. I’ll only tell you this brief summary. A white woman attorney in a big Chicago Law firm that is beating back some savvy black attorneys representing a black victim of a vicious police attack is about to retire. After she signs her papers resigning from her partnership she discovers that all her savings have been lost by another Bernie Madoff. None of the big Chicago Law firms is willing to throw her a life jacket to continue in the law except for the all-black law firm she had been fighting. That specializes in suing the City of Chicago Police for tens of millions of dollars. Although The Good Fight is not on network television its one of the smartest programs I’ve seen and after a year of losing interest in Colbert and other Late Night Trump critics this fits my bill.

Perry Mason was the top TV lawyer when I was little but the Television Law show that really captured my attention was called the Defenders. It starred E.G. Marshall as the head of a law firm that took the liberal side of a lot of ripped from the Headlines cases. I watched it with my Dad, himself a lawyer, and I got an early eyeful about issues like Miranda Rights. According to this Wikipedia entry the episode on the legal defense of an abortionist was its most controversial episode. This was twelve years before Roe vs. Wade. I don’t recall seeing this particular program. Like The Good Fight the Defenders was well suited for its time in the early 1960’s.

Watching a Season of The Good Fight on Amazon Prime will cost about twenty bucks. As I told my brother that’s 13 shows for the cost of a good bottle of wine.