Effectively, my last post in LD was December 22nd. To my surprise despite my silence LD’s busiest day was January 4th when the blog had 1898 visits. Thats a peak right up there with the days before the 2019 school board election. Why so many visits? Search me.
If I get back in the swing of things perhaps my readers will turn away. Time will tell.
Today is not the first crisis of the Republican Party.
As always the American Experience did justice to a slice of Americana. 70 years on its treatment of McCarthy was even handed and swept a few myths away. There is no doubt that Joe was a bully and that he used worrisome news headlines to stoke paranoia and promote himself. At his zenith few would cross him. One who did, Senator Margret Chase Smith, is remembered as a hero. There are not so many today. Most are closer to today’s Lindsey Graham
A couple things stood out for me. First was the behind the scenes work of Eisenhower to expose McCarthy for the man he was. The other was a loyal following of Republicans, about half of that Era’s Republican Senators who voted against his censure and who also attended his funeral in Appleton Wisconsin in 1957.
I tried looking up the names of those who flew out to Wisconsin but only found this story of Bobby Kennedy’s cautious attendance. I was well aware of the irony of Bobby’s work for the Senator. The AE piece made no mention of it but his face did show up on one of the historical stills of the McCarthy hearings.
I did find the votes here. Goldwater voted against censure and so did Everett Dirksen. Ironically all the Southern Democrats voted to censure McCarthy except JFK who cast no vote no doubt to make sure he didn’t muddy the waters for his later ambitions.
It occurred to me that this episode might be a helpful precedent in GOP history to explain the Trump era. I’ll be pondering that possibility over the next few months.
For yet another holiday season we put jigsaw puzzles together. Imagine all the posts I could have written had I not been bent over matching jigs with saws. Before I start blogging again in earnest we have a lot of Christmas decorations to box up.
President Trump flew in to West Palm Beach a little after Claudia and I flew in for the weekend memorial service for her father. Politico says Mar-a-Lago is Mr. Trump’s safe place.
I should hope so. Ever since his arrival F-16 vipers have been circling the skies keeping watch. His get-away palace is just under a half hour drive from where we are but the air force can travel that distance in seconds.
Putin’s poisioners have probably attached a GPS tracking device on Nancy Pelosi’s person to make sure she can’t crash his holiday celebrations.
If you couldn’t tell it by looking at my friend here, he’s pinching his nose tight. He’s not alone on my front yard. His older siblings are each keeping evil at bay in their own ways. Ostriches are far more efficient. They accomplish all this unwelcome stimulation by sticking their heads in the sand. This is the new Trumplican Party.
It is impeachment season but the Democrats are permitted to act on their consciences when it comes time to vote. This wasn’t good enough for one New Jersey Democrat. Representative Van Drew is switching parties even though Nancy Pelosi isn’t enforcing a pro-impeachment vote. The Congressman may not end up benefiting from his party switching. First off six of his staff members quit. Next, the GOP has made it known that they may not want him as their Congressman. Several Republicans have been circling his district planning to run against him.
As for the GOP side of the House there was not so much as a lone wolf baying at the President’s duplicitous ways. That’s a far cry from the ferocity with which Republicans took after Bill Clinton who posed no threat to our nation’s security….just to pretty young women with crushes on Bubba.
There has never been a time in our nation’s history until now that one President held the genitals of every member of his party in Congress in his hands or rather in the hands of the voters trained by the Republican party to rid themselves of independent thinkers in primaries. Today’s march-in-step Republican philosophy comes straight from the mouth of Donald Trump. It is the “group think” that Orwell wrote about although there seems to be little thinking involved just vigorous head bobbing.
Now its all fingers in ears, eyes closed and shouts of “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you!” And, as you can plainly see from the convention being held in my front yard, even the stink of the Grand Old Party’s corpse has been banished.
As is usually the case when I hold back my blog posts the process works rather like a fast car on a heavily traveled interstate breaking to a sudden stop. Dozens of other cars pile into its rear end. And so, my preoccupation with building one more snow sculpture has left a cascade of posts crash into my backside.
I did stop long enough to write a piece for the Reader My Reverie from a week ago. But even as I wrote it the snow storm removed other distractions. No Duluth Tribs showed up on my front door due to the unshoveled snow. On Sunday I got a huge passel of four which I have yet to look at. At some point a story was written in the Trib about a fellow wanting Duluthians to come to Leif Erickson Park to build snow sculptures. I only found out about the story at church yesterday when a fellow congregant mentioned that my name showed up in it. Apparently the organizer was hoping I’d show up and build something. News to me.
I probably spent twenty hours after the 8th snowiest blizzard moving snow from my backyard to my front yard. The first day of doing this I ended the day feeling light headed and dizzy whenever I bent my head. I found myself stumbling. Having just stopped at accute care a few days earlier for what turned out to be not much I was hesitant to do anything about this. The condition persisted for a week although when I went out to continue my sculpting it went away as though banished by my preoccupation.
A little fellow in a school bus yelled out a window as he passed for me to “Make Trump.” I called back that I had already made him a couple years earlier. In fact, I’ve made Trump twice and a third sculpture, my Grinch, was a barely veiled reference to him. Only Bill Clinton has commanded two sculptures of mine. The first made the national news. The second was barely noticed and when I put a cardboard cheese head on him in honor of the Packers winning the Superbowl no one knew who he was. I don’t like spending hours crafting sculptures of just anyone. But Trump is a man who doesn’t not care if making America Great again means undermining the moral underpinnings the founders breathed into it. I’ve made an exception to him.
But not this year. I imagined a sculpture more about the political party, mine to be exact, that brought Donald Trump’s Presidency into being. I piled up the snow with one sculpture in mind and then changed my mind. I wanted something more like my Grinch that kids would get a kick out of and not reek so much of the politics that are roiling and perhaps imperiling America.
So, after changing my plans I had to figure out how to move snow again with the temperatures dropped too low for sticky snow. Fortunately, I’ve had thirty years to perfect my snow “cooking.” As the cold crept in a couple days ago I poured massive amounts of water on it to sit for the night and diffuse throughout to make it uniform sticky. This also required covering it with fresh unwatered snow to insulate it so it wouldn’t freeze. This process took the better part of Saturday afternoon. Early Sunday I dashed out before church to check to see if I’d managed it and found I had. One of my choir mates saw me on the way to church and rolled down his window to give me grief. He didn’t want to be left alone in the bass section. I still not think he believes my protestations that I was only out doing snow reconnaissance.
So, here is the visual spoiler. I took an evening to build a clay model while watching two episodes of the lastest season of the Crown. Its the best so far by the way. I’ll show you half of the sculpture for now if you don’t mind the spoiler. I’m only doing it because it appears I’ll be able to manage it after today’s addition of even more snow and some looming arctic temps. I may not hurry to complete it: Don’t look if you want to be surprised but I don’t mind showing it because two little girls walked up and guessed what the principals in my sculpture would be: Continue reading →
This best argument the Republicans on the Judicary Committee could muster against continuing the Impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump Nine minutes long followed by my thoughts:
The first three law professors to speak made strong arguments to proceed with a House indictment of the President. The lone GOP witness, Johnathan Turley, managed to make me second guess the Impeachment because I agreed with his assessment that it is divisive. Then, I checked his testimony in the Clinton impeachment which was alluded to. Did he also oppose that impeachment for being divisive? Nope! He didn’t. In the Clinton hearings he made the same arguments as the three pro-Trump impeachment professors did today. If ever there was a scholar who put himself in the cross hairs of an hypocrisy assault it is Professor Turley. He tried to sound impartial by explaining that he didn’t vote for Trump.
Well, I wonder if he bothered to explain in the Clinton impeachment who he voted for. However he voted he jumped on Bill (I DIDN’T SLEEP WITH THAT WOMAN) Clinton. Had Bill made the claim only in public he’d have gotten away with it just like he got away with saying that he “didn’t inhale.” After all he didn’t “sleep” with Monica. He just let her spill some of his semen on her blue dress. But Bill was caught lying about Monica to a grand jury about his having been intimate with her. Donald Trump’s chief claim to innocence is then that he has never lied to a grand jury. The President lies like a rug every day tweet by tweet…..BUT NOT BEFORE A GRAND JURY. Except that maybe he did. He infamously was excused from testifying because he attorneys aren’t dumb. They know Donald Trump can’t open his mouth without lying no matter if the world is listening with jaws falling to the floor. So he was allowed to have heavily edited (by his lawyers) written testimony submitted in the Mueller probe. Who gets that kind of treatment? Donald Trump does….I guess on the same theory that no one can prosecute a President for committing crimes like the infamous fifth avenue shooting he bragged he could get away with. But there are hints that just like Bill Clinton the President lied to a Grand Jury even in his heavily edited testimony. That would be perjury….the same “high crime and misdemeanor” that Terley thought should cost Clinton the presidency.
Terley championed the book Profiles in Courage in his testimony. As an eighth grader I read, and was deeply moved by JFK’s book. I was proud of my state’s Republican Senator Ross for not voting to Impeach Andrew Johnson. This was Terley’s chief defense – the cheapening of Impeachment. Except that it ignores the threats outlined by his three predecessors. What happens if America recoils at Donald Trump’s massive abuse of power? Will our Congress ever have the courage to defend the Constitution’s deliberate separation of powers in the future? One twitter critic of Terley answered the professor’s question about whether a future Democratic President might be impeached because of a mob-like public fury. The critic’s answered the same way I would have. If a Democratic president tries to subvert our democracy and our elections he should be impeached forthwith.
I’m not worried about the Republican Senators craven support of a President they loathe and fear. Let them live with footnotes in their biographies explaining that they were exactly what America’s voters have come to expect from our elected leaders – gutless wonders.
…it was to humble the arrogance of today’s golden calf worshipers in the evangelical church.
This is one of many stray thoughts while shoveling out of “snowmegeddon” the closest to hell I ever expect to be after four years of Donald Trump proving that Americans are as prone to moneychanging at the Temple as any other people besotted with Satan’s snake oil.
I’ve just come back from a Thanksgiving Open House at the restored Gloria Dei Church which burned nearly to the ground not long ago. Our Choir was one of about eight to sing and Temple Israel’s Rabbi was one of the religious leaders who led us in reverential thoughts between anthems. Coincidentally, one of two active Duluth Jewish synagogues also burned to the ground last spring. Impermanence is on my mind. Even the impermanence of the United States.
The state of America is constantly on my mind as it was Sunday when our sermon sprung from Jeremiah 23:1-6. God was unhappy with someone:
23 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.
Lincoln famously said he didn’t know which side of the Civil War God was on even as both sides claimed to have God’s favor. I feel the same way. Either God is on the side of Rick Wiles, the Trump-worshiping pastor in this video or me a happy agnostic who has found almost every action by Donald Trump to be repellent. I could not worship any God that would put her trust in the Donald Trump I’ve watched slack jawed for the past thirty years.
Here’s the video. It will be followed by something I read in a 1947 Reader’s Digest that took the poison out of my head from watching this video:
If I have anything to say about it Donald Trump will not be reelected but I’m not sure I will have any say other than the single vote Republicans will be unable to take from me because, I’m not poor, or easily fooled or without transportation to get to the polls. So Continue reading →
The beginning of a “Drama in Real Life” published in the Reader’s Digest magazine exactly 70 years ago this month, November 1949 four months before Harry Welty came into existence as a zygote.
A couple years ago my friend Donna repaid the snow sculpture I made for her as she was undergoing chemotherapy. She had found a collection of a dozen old Reader’s Digests from the period between 1945 and 1953. These were the years of Harry Truman and the courting and marriage of my parents. It was also the when I came into existence. Although it was only last week that I began to peruse them it was the perfect gift.
In 1963 I was the new kid in my junior high. I had a funny Kansas accent. My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Jones, may have recognized this. Continue reading →
Sadly her birth in England prevents her from becoming a candidate.
After Sondland – who can’t remember ever mentioning Biden but can remember (and I believe him here) that the President demanded that the new Ukrainian President had to smear Joe Biden’s son – I had to watch the beginning of today’s Intelligence Committee hearing. I listened to Devin Nunes drone on like a kindergartner about the Democrat’s impeachment as I drove my grandsons to school. My older grandson listened in and I hope he wasn’t contaminated by Devin’s traitorous bullshit.
I just remembered Nunes, when he was in charge, spending 3 years investigating the sham that was Bengazi. And before him Tom Delay, now in a Texas Prison, whose Republicans couldn’t wait to get six digit jobs in the swamp of Gucci Gulch and before him, Newt Gingrich, who began the trivialization of presidential impeachments by chasing after randy Bill Clinton for having consensual semi-sex with a 22-year old woman. What a cavalcade of crap so far removed from Lincolns Better Angels and Reagan’s shining city on a hill.
So, as I was watching Fiona eviscerate the Republicans for motorboating Putin’s ass I got an email from an old high school friend. She had just discovered my post on Trump nuzzling Rudy Guilani’s fake breasts (someone call Fake News!!!!) Like me, she had never heard of motorboarding. She also noted that she watched yesterday’s hearings but muted Congressman Nunes. I wrote back and said I couldn’t wait to hear him question Fiona who I expected would “tear him a new one.” Then the whole nation can motorboat Nunes’ improved nether regions on national television.
The Impeachment hearings keep reminding me of Rudy Guilani in drag with a dapper and younger Donald Trump. I was only looking to show the still of this encounter but I found the whole 45 second video headed with a term I had not heard before – “motorboarding.” I don’t think anyone should stick their nose in anyone’s bosom even a man’s. Apparently, that’s what the term means.
The editors of the News Tribune are preparing its readers for the endorsement of Trump enthusiast Pete Stauber that will be expected from them by their owners Forum Communications. He’s being described as the best friend Congressional Democrats can hope for from a Republican. Maybe Pete’s been motorboated by the President too.
The editorial cartoon that ran with the generous Stauber appraisal showed the Democrats about to blow up a voter casting a vote for Donald Trump. The message? Democrats are undermining our Democracy. Well, Republican redistricting and vote suppression and the Supreme Court’s unleashing of vast accumulations of untraceable corporate money into the veins of political campaigns in collusion with Russian Internet trolls might argue that our democracy is being threatened from a pincer movement by both parties. But that’s OK. Pete Stauber voted with Dems 13% of the time in Congress.
Over those days I’ve been engrossed in imminently bloggable activities. I read the book about Stalin’s Nose. I watched the movie about Harriet Tubman which convinced me I’d much rather have her on the Twenty than Andy Jackson and I’ve watched some of the House Intelligence Committee testimony.
I’m still tidying up after the election. I still have to finalize my finance papers. I need to add the $180.00 I charged to my credit card in payments for Facebook ads. I’m not sure they did much good but it was an interesting experiment. I can’t say that I’m pleased to have paid to advertise on a platform which has no qualms about letting politicians lie through their teeth so long as there is the quid pro quo of money for the dissemination of lies.
I’ve been following the School District which is rather quickly receding from my view. I read Loren Martel’s piece in a recent Reader. I took my time getting around to that too. Loren asked if I’d read it a couple days ago when he dropped of some wires I’d given him for his lawnsigns. He was a little worried I might take some of the things he said wrong. I wasn’t worried and when I finally did read his piece I saw nothing worth quibbling about. He was annoyed that the editors of the Trib kicked the two of us in our behinds by saying our defeat was a sign that voters wanted to put the Red Plan behind them. I can’t say that I disagree with that assessment. I would note however that the recent story about our District being short of room for kids is either confirmation that the Red Plan continues to inflict pain on us or complete nonsense. Perhaps its a bit of both.
As I told Claudia the Red Planners who spent our money told us their demographic analysis showed they were building school for our long term demographic needs. Que the Bwahahahaha sound because our District is claiming our schools are full up and that’s despite 1500 students being pulled out of our schools because of the Red Plan. We should have room for all of them in the Red Planners knew what they were doing. In fact, once again the School Board and the company hired to help redraw our boundaries have been given bullshit info just how many kids our new schools can accommodate. I’d encourage the DNT’s new Education reporter to follow that claim of mine up. Just be glad that we will be getting a new superintendent of schools in June.
Last night I cranked out my second Not Eudora column for the Reader. It will be titled: One Hell of a Candidate. I sent them a graphic to go along with it, to wit:
Just in case I don’t get around to the pile up of cars in my head here are a couple of them with a brief explanation.
I am partial to intelligent kids books about History. I helped out at the Northstar Scholastic Book Sale last week and bought two books which I hope my grandsons will read. Stalin’s nose begins as an idealistic diary from a young boy who has been taught to revere Joseph Stalin. The picture book is a simple outline of the ebullient Teddy Roosevelt. I’ll ask my younger grandson if he remembers the character “Teddy” from when he watched Arsenic and Old Lace with us. That Teddy was digging his way through the Panama Canal.
When I first heard about the biopic on Harriet Tubman I knew I’d want to see it. Its gotten a 92% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a respectable plus 70% from critics. Claudia and I were mesmerized. I’m reminded how Snoop Dog dissed Twelve Years a Slave” (a fantastic movie) because he didn’t want to be reminded about that old stuff. I’m glad that old stuff is being rehashed. I grew up with the Little Rascals and Amos and Andy. Those who forget the past or never to bother to find out what it was…. are condemned… Continue reading →
Oh, I’ll get around to the Title in a moment but first. In the last couple days of modest posting the ideas for posts in my head have been piling up like cars on a freeway when a heavy fog obscures the view. Some of those thoughts were pent up during the last weeks of my campaign which ended one week ago as voters headed out to the polls to determine the make up of the new school board.
I campaigned hard enough and long enough not to blame myself for my defeat. If I was more politic (inoffensive) which a lot of people confuse with being diplomatic I might not have lost. But I can’t help myself. This blog is where I let almost everything hang out. I do keep my swearing to myself. It has been particularly aggravated of late by my French practice. When I make a mistake the umpteenth time on a complicated sentence in my Duolingo app I find it hard not to cuss out a lot of typewriter symbols #$&%#@(^^$##$!!!!! In earlier days that mostly erupted when I had to do some tedious handiwork around the house that I’d put off for ages.
Otherwise I’m pretty happy, relieved almost, about not having to fix the Duluth Schools from the twits at the News Tribune who couldn’t conceive that the best minds of Johnson Controls and the Duluth Schools Business office and a charming sociopathetic (type in “lies and Dixon” in the blog’s search engine) Superintendent wouldn’t anticipate that their demographic projections, tax plans and financing wouldn’t go as planned.
So, a young me who hoped for a congressional career has managed to accumulate a spotty record of getting elected to a small city’s school board. As I sat down last night for our last weekly rehearsal for the next DSSO Symphony concert my seatmate looked over to me and said he hadn’t realized I was one of the candidates for the school board. I joshed that I was like that dog that caught the car he was chasing and didn’t know what to do with it. Then I added that I had caught the car three times and never managed to figure out what to do with it.
So there’s your punchline. And here’s one…
…for the Tribune. Their editorial today. After endorsing David Kirby over me because of my excessive transparency (I told Duluth we’d been offered ten million for Central High School…..shame on me) Now they feel betrayed. Why? Because David has just threw cold water on the idea that keeping the rest of his school board colleagues in the dark was a big deal. And this, after the Trib’s editors made it clear that transparency was a “good” thing. Of course, as they note, they already knew David wasn’t all that perturbed about how perturbed some of his colleagues were with little things like not being told they had just approved the hiring of someone who was lucky not to have run over school kids while drunk on three occasions. Had I known about that in a closed meeting and blogged about it I suppose the Trib would have called me a goat for being too transparent.
I like David. And I don’t disagree with him that for the most part an honest fellow like he is won’t sneak around keeping his colleagues in the dark. David treated me very well after he replaced a bunch of wonderful former School District insiders who became super secretive jerks after they took over the School Board. Hey. Rudy Guilani used to be “America’s Mayor.” Sometimes there will be a Donald Trump in the mix. During such times no one will be able to trust anyone. But, the Trib got what the Trib wanted which, it turns out, is not what the Trib wanted.
And I’ve got another destination, whether I make it there or not. Another 31 years to age 100. I hope to remain lucid enough to add more pages to this blog or my writing “corpus.” I even have my eight loyal readers although not having the campaign to write about will put a dent in my blog readership. Although yesterday I got 6000 hits thanks to my putting the remembrance of Dick Gastler in the blog. And I got it from the Trib. You see. The Trib is important to our community and I can’t conceive of not subscribing to it.
Dick was my friend who lived two houses up 4th street from me and the fellow I took over for in 1984 when he had to leave his class for medical care. This remembrance from a former student is wonderful.
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."