In most of my previous big trips Claudia and I wrote a daily journal. Both of us would write in longhand in a diary about each days experiences but we would alternate who wrote first and second each day. The only place we didn’t do that was Isreal two years ago but because that was a class for Claudia she kept notes.
Its hard for me to read those old journals and I wrote half of them. Cursive writing is becoming as imposible for kids today to read as it is for me to read short hand. Its a dying art. So, treating this blog as my diary at least means that it is readable (as in legible if not addictive)
I decided early on to go on our own and not in tours. I wanted to meet French speaking people and not spend my time talking to English language tourists. I had hopes even of learning enough French to communicate with the locals. So far that has not been a great success but I haven’t given up. Claudia even suggested that we attend a french language immersion program in Quebec next year. I’ve been keeping up my hour a day online studying with the thought that perhaps in a year I could do in Quebec what I’ve not managed this year in France. That would give me two years and fits in well with a lecture I heard a polyglot (multi-lingual) give. She said it took her about two years of study at my daily intensity for her to learn the six or seven languages she’s learned by studying only one language until she masters it.
There were no glitches today. However after rising late (catching up on sleep) and coming home early to read it was because we realized we needn’t knock ourselves out hour after hour for 30 days straight. The four hours we spent walking around town was plenty. It was followed by some reading and then at 7 a dinner at a small restaurant our host recommended. It proved to be an excellent choice.
Here’s a capsule of our day beginning with that Cathedral we saw last night. Continue reading →
I spare my Facebook friends long tedious explanations of what I do. I simply inundate them with pictures when I go traveling. Here’s how I summarized yesterday on Facebook:
“A day spent on the Seine between Notre Dame and the Eiffel tower and endless gigabytes of picture storage is awesome. We climbed the 400 steps past Mother Mary’s gargoyles and rode the Bateuxbus down to Eiffel’s miracle with a stop at the Orsay Palace of Art before returning to the Hunchback’s domicile. Our poor legs. Thank goodness we had a final stop for fromage, pain and vin accross from Victor Hugo’s old church.”
Some additional reactions. 1. The French we’ve met, however briefly, have been cordial from the street workers who saw we were unsure of where we were and tried to help us on our way to the wait staff at cafes. 2. Paris is indeed a “walkable city.” Everyone is out on the sidewalks. But that’s a lot of walking. For the tourist there are other ways to get around and for us yesterday the boats on the Seine River took us between the principal sights in a one hour forty minute cycle from Notre Dame to the Eifle Tower and back. The cod at the restaurant in the Orsay Museum of Art was heavenly and our server most charming. Museum walking is tough like Christmas gift shopping. We ended our day with a simple plate of cheeses and baguettes and wine watching the folks passing by on the street.
I’ll share a couple of the hundreds of photos I took and then conclude with my take on the goings on back in the good ole US of A. Continue reading →
I hoped to get 10 percent of the vote in Duluth. I did better than that across the entire 8th Congressional District in places where my name means nothing. Pete Stauber was so well publicized as being Trump’s candidate that I presume that anyone voting for me didn’t much care for the Trump/Stauber connection. That’s not good for Pete even if he currently has a million dollars in the bank. He’s already beginning to soft pedal his loyalty to Trump but that too is a problem for Pete.
As for what I spent to get my 5,000 votes compared to what Pete Spent to get his 40,000 votes that’s noteworthy too. I only spent $300 to file for office ten weeks ago and bought one tank of gas traveling to Hibbing twice. (One of those trips was a mistake) So my cost per vote was about 6 cents. I’m not sure how much Pete has spent so far but I’m guessing its about $400,000. If so, his 40,000 votes cost him $10 bucks each. I like that comparison. Now that the Democrats have settled on a candidate the DFLer will not be outspent by Stauber. They will be even steven.
The more worrisome issue for Pete is the primary turnout. The combined Democratic candidates won about 16,000 more votes than the two Republicans Harry Welty and Pete Stauber. Pete can’t count on all of my anti-Trump votes swinging his direction any more than we can be sure that all the votes for the losing Democratic congressional candidates will swing to the DFL winner Joe Radinovich. However, I think the primary turnout is a harbinger of what’s to come in the General election. Even the safe Minnesota First Congressional District Republican candidates got fewer votes than the Democrats running against them. I’m beginning to smell some blood in the water.
U.S. House District 8 »
Democratic Primary……………..Republican Primary
60,615 votes, 92% reporting …44,809 votes, 92% reporting
(These figures are from 11:30 CST from 742 out of 806 precincts)
A week ago I ordered some new eyeglasses for my trip to France. The old prescription hadn’t changed much but my lenses were a little scuffed after two years service. I got them before my visit to Israel if memory serves. (WARNING – this post includes a picture I took of a shot-dead Palestinian)
While waiting for my “about an hour” glasses I killed some time at Barnes and Noble’s where I found this discounted book:
I am a sucker for good cartooning and cartooning history. I even have one on snow sculpting and this one began with a fascinating forward by author/cartoonist Tony Husband which gave cartoonists the credit for being the canaries in a coal mine of political analysis. Hitler kept a collection of the cartoons that mocked him and a black list of the cartoonists he would deal with after taking over the world. Today’s cartoonists also have a larger than life buffoon to caricature. I tried doing him in snow. Folks who saw my old Bill Clinton On the Road video heard me say I always wanted to be a cartoonist.
Hitler Nazi’s cheated to get elected in 1933 and the darned Republican Party has adopted the old southern Democrats voter suppression laws which prevented black voters from casting votes. Its one way the Republicans have shored up their shrinking majority and they are getting help from an emerging Republican majority on the Supreme Court to enhance and support this suppression. The Court let big money into campaigns with the Citizen’s United decision. The Court ended Federal intervention in states with long histories of racist voter suppression. Time after time the Court has OK’ed state laws restricting voter access in areas of poverty and high minority residence. And now, Donald Trump is promoting some of the worst offenders, among them Secretary of State Kris Kobach in Kansas and the even more despicable Brian Kemp in Georgia.
These efforts at wounding Democracy in all the Red States are next of kin to fraud and dictatorship. The Book on German cartoonists shows early critiques of Nazi’s suppressing votes. I have always felt that an honest election is far better than a winning election. If you stand for something you should be prepared to lose while standing up for your cause. Republicans are no longer willing to take this chance even though fair and honest elections have generally kept the nation on the straight and narrow. By suppressing the majority under the guise of “the rule of law” you create dangerous bitterness and paranoia. The GOP has done a masterful job of denying the voting majority from expressing its will since the Supreme Court overruled the Florida courts ability to enforce its own elections in the 2000 Presidential election. Donald Trump is poised to further poison voter confidence in honest elections and he’ll have Pete Stauber there to back him up if he gets his way.
Over the past nine weeks I’ve made my case for a return to the GOP’s better angels. It cost me $300.00 to file for office and given my antipathy for President Trump’s misanthropy it was a bargain. In a couple days the folks voting in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District will have a choice between me and one of Donald Trump’s minions, Pete Stauber. I’ve already noted Pete’s pulling back a little in the Trump department with the Duluth Tribune’s editorial endorsement in which he stressed his independence. Yeah sure. No Republican with a spark of independence has survived Trump’s scorn over the last year. They are all weak sisters and Pete Stauber is no exception.
My family posed under the marquee but they weren’t wearing 3D shades so I cropped them out for this post.
Hamilton the musical was worth every penny of this weekend extravagance. The history it is based on, authored by Ron Chernow, has been on my bookshelf waiting for me for about ten years. After I return from France I may tackle it.
My breath is taken away by the audacity of Lin-Manuel Miranda to have envisioned this as a subject for the musical stage.
Generally, I restrict family pics to Facebook but they are sufficiently disguised in this pic for my blogging public.
This is at the Field Museum just before we watched a 3D movie about ancient Egypt. Very informative. Having begun our travels at 4 AM yesterday we were worn out early but today is a new day.
I quizzed my grandsons at lunch about Hamilton’s story and they are well prepared. I could add that Alexander’s “Kings College” was my Grandfather’s Columbia University and that it is next to, Grant’s tomb, whereas today we are next to Chicago’s, Grant Park. It’s a small world.
A feverish little soccer player shook me awake at 2 AM this morning. After giving him ibuprofen and a cough drop he fell back asleep but I wasn’t so lucky. At 4 AM I got up and spent an hour working on my French. I caught a few z’s later in the morning on my office floor but basically need to catch up tonight because we are waking at 4AM tomorrow catch a flight to the Second City to see the musical Hamilton. The soccer player and his older brother will be on the plane with us along with their parents. We have three days in Chicago before I fly back. I wanted to put something in the blog because I may be too preoccupied with family to Keep my voters or my twelve loyal readers up to date.
The last time I went to Chicago with my wife was 2012 for another long weekend. I didn’t blog about that trip because I simply wanted to enjoy the best November weather Chicago ever experienced. I mentioned it five months later in another blog post. In two weeks I expect to return to fulltime family life having cleared my conscience about the deplorable state of National and local politics. I got off my duff and tried to do something about it. I just discovered that Loren Martell described my thinking perfectly in his latest reporting of the School Board. He did it by quoting me which, of course, I was pleased about:
The words “bullying” and “civility” are tossed about often these days, and I think too often used as a shield to deflect criticism. One of my favorite quotes from a local official on the subject is from former school board member, Harry Welty, now a Republican candidate for the eighth district congressional seat: “If I am at war with anything, it is the milquetoast moderates who believe civility is the equivalent of good government.” Mr. Welty further described civility as a “desirable virtue that is too often used as a means of discouraging honest discourse.”
About this little extravagance. My daughter and son-in-law flew to Arizona in the Spring to see Hamilton and fell in love with it. They have been playing the music ever since and my grandson’s have pretty near memorized all the songs. Its an incredibly sophisticated telling of one of the most important founding fathers Alexander Hamilton. Other than his appearance on the ten dollar bill most Americans know little of the man who built our nation’s finances.
I am thrilled that my grandsons, aged 8 and 10 are imbibing this American history. Its better than Schoolhouse Rock. While we are in the Second City we will do a little sight seeing and enjoy some balmy weather. I’ll be prepared to blog more when I return…..and if KBJR does manage to put Pete Stauber and my appearance online I’ll try to link to it.
Its almost 10PM and time for me to hit the sack and make up for this morning’s early wake up call.
I will keep this introductory post near the top of my blog through the primary. As the campaign hums along I’ll recommend favorite posts to give you quick access to relevant questions concerning my candidacy. First up. Why should voters take my Don Quixote-like campaign seriously and how serious am I? Start here.
If I am elected I will have accomplished my victory with an extremely small treasury. I hope you are not one of those folks who only contribute to sure bets like Political Actions Committees do. A contribution to my campaign will be going to a plain talker the greatest possible threat to Donald Trump. And if I am elected I’ll be part of a small group of centrists who will push the Congress in sensible, non partisan directions. Admit it to yourself. A small donation to an honest candidate will make you feel good win lose or draw.
I created my first website in 1999 and began to blog on it before the word came into use to tell people what has happening with Duluth’s Schools. I was serving on the School Board at the time. Its an ancient old thing and I have recently lost the ability to add to it for technical reasons I’m too lazy to figure out. This blog is eleven years old. I began it in 2006 for another campaign for Congress. I once calculated that I’d already written several million words worth of opinions here. I take responsibility for every single one of them. I never raise my finger to see which way the wind is blowing.
In coming days I will write several posts on individual issues of importance where Donald Trump has his head up where the sun don’t shine and has the company of many Stauber-like congressional camp followers.
Why would I be a revelation in Congress? Because I truly took to heart Will Roger’s maxim, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”
I’ll teach Congressman that they need not detest each other just like Noah loaded the animals onto the Ark……..two by two.
Here’s an old scratchy video clip from before the Lewinsky Affair right after Bill Clinton was elected in 1992:
The “Kevin” this email is addressed to is Kevin Jacobson the News Director of KBJR TV in Duluth, Minnesota. Soren took the opportunity to send an email to most of the congressional District candidates with the reply all feature of an email sent to the 8th District candidates by KBJR’s news director. Soren Sorenson, one of the candidates, was speculating that Joe Radinovich’s, one of the leading DFL candidate for the primary election, was getting donations that might not be kosher:
Kevin, and fellow candidates,
I have a really dumb question. for everyone here…
Who are Joe Radinovich’s donors? Why is he not disclosing who contributed via ActBlue, instead of just recording the method of donation?
If you read his FEC statements it looks like there a are a large number of anonymous maxed out donors. That’s neither the letter nor the intent of campaign finance law.
Attached is a screenshot showing what I think is likely illegal, but definitely not good.
I’ve been remiss in contacting local papers to give them my picture for any stories they might write and publish about my Congressional campaign. In fact, I just finished a 45 minute phone interview with my favorite paper the Timberjay. I was asked to send them a head shot. Actually, I sent this particular shot to the the Duluth News Tribune a week ago because they keep using an older picture from two years ago when I was without a beard. (One of my grandsons asked me to grow it back)
Any of you other news outlets that may be peeking at this blog, feel free to lift this jpeg for use in the next three weeks unless….. Well, if I happen to defeat Pete Stauber in the primary you should feel free to use it right through to the General election in November. Sorry Pete, but my success in the primary would give the media a real human interest story of national interest and not one of yet another Trump lapdog running to inflict trade tariffs on the world’s economy.
The story today was a clawback from the suggestion that Joe Radinovich had sided with Nolan’s attempts to rehabilitate his butt groper buddy. The women who formerly worked for Nolan all said Joe had done the right thing and fired the lout. But back when Leah Pipher (hope I spelled that right) Radinovich was blamed for undermining her endorsement at the last minute bringing in a Twin Cities group representing latinos to complain that Phifer was too closely allied with the border guards enforcing Trump’s anti border crossing initiatives. In politics as in life grievances do not die easily and plenty of DFL women will remember the Latino bean-bag.
I’ve just been reading about the Meuse Argonne offensive in WW I and surrendering troops being shot so as not to become a nuisance. Bean-bag is pretty tame compared to that. If Radinovich shot Pipher’s campaign dead it could also be described as successful politics.
Nolan is now a burden on Attorney General, Lori Swanson’s campaign and she has so far steadfastly stood by him. The story in in MinnPost made Nolan look silly. A nice old guy who was prepared to shrug off the grabby side of an old friend from his first time in Congress back in the 1970’s. By 1970’s standards that was pretty tame. What was less winsome was Nolan’s fond reminiscing of the legislators of his Era blind folding themselves to grope the secretarial pool to see if they could identify them by touch. I was in college back then and that sounds creepy to me. Legislators, even if they are in their 20’s have power beyond their years. Laughing it off is cheap.
The great irony is that the real adversaries for the “me too” movement are not DFLers but Trump supporters. A recent poll says that 79% of Republicans are rabid Trump supporters. I’m part of a rump one-fifth that find the man a disgrace.
I guess these folks are the “deplorables” made famous by Hillary Clinton’s ill thought out words. They feel as poorly treated by big shots as women do about men in positions of power. Both are exacting revenge on the powerful. I sympathize….. but sadly the steam I had this morning to talk about tribal politics has expired. I don’t feel philosophical at the moment and I kinda regret starting a post that I’ve lost interest in fully explaining.
Unless I come back tonight or tomorrow that may be about all I have to say on the subject. I don’t even feel like proof reading this post.
I’ve woken up to a second day’s fallout concerning the latest scandal over Rick Nolan’s coddling of a long-time buddy and butt grabber. Nolan’s gaffe has left a field of victims like that duckboat sinking yesterday in Branson. Both pilots should have seen the storm coming but were too preoccupied to avoid disaster. I’m still ruminating on the news and practicing my french so I’ll tackle it later today for my “eight loyal readers.” Before I return I’ll leave them with proof that I’m no prude. (I kinda doubt that there is such a thing as a prude anymore. I suspect most of them are hypocrites.) Continue reading →
The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."