All posts by harrywelty

Rototilling

Its a beautiful day in Duluth, Minnesota and my wife is taking the day off to garden. He rented a rototiller and I’m planting tomatos along our back fence with the southern exposure. Beefsteak. Hope they live up to the name. No posts for a while although I’ll have something to say about the first pro-Grams letter to the editor I read this morning.

Cartoon missing . Common Sense also

I thought the DNT’s in house editorial cartoonist had it about right today but since his toon hasn’t been put in the DNT’s website I can’t link to it. It showed the City Council in a little boat going over the edge of a waterfall called bankruptcy all agreeing to hire an expensive lawyer to investigate the Mayor’s release of confidential information a year ago to the Publisher of the DNT.

Some locals would like treat this as being analogous with the leaks in the Bush Administration but national security is not exactly an issue for the City Council.

The confidential information just showed that a charity/interest group intended to discourage gambling had taken public money for this purpose then spent it in ways which were antithetical to its cause while its leader made beaucoup bucks.

I’ve never heard of anyone who wasn’t glad to have this information released with the possible exception of the charity’s CEO.

My bet with Will

I had lunch with my old buddy Jerry and Will Munger Jr. today. We got talking about the race for Congress in the 8th District and I said that Oberstar was lucky that Grams picked such a crumby year for Republicans to run against him. When he asked me how much Oberstar would win by I predicted that it would be less than 60%.

Will asked how come. I said that Grams would campaign hard name recognition and money and that Oberstar was a poor campaigner. I said that prognosticators who kept pointing out that Oberstar hadn’t gotten less than 65% of the vote since his 59% showing in 1992 didn’t appreciate how weak his opponants had been since 1992. Off hand I can’t remember a single one of his more recent challengers.

Will bet me a dinner that Grams wouldn’t get more than 40% of the vote. I told him that I’d be willing to bet that Oberstar wouldn’t get 60%. I pointed out that the difference was that I expected there could be an independent candidate in which case neither Grams or Oberstar would make that percentage. Will said he’d probably lose the bet. I hope so. I’d like a free meal.

As for 1992. I remember that election very well. I was an independent candidate running aginst both the Republican, Phil Herwig, and Oberstar. I got 7 percent of the vote and a fellow named Floyd Henspetter got 3%. I stopped running when the local Ross Perot people got mad at me. I’d listed my party as the “Perot Choice” party. I hadn’t asked anybody’s permission so that riled them up. this year I figure an independent candidate could do even better. Its likely to be an anti-incumbent election.

George Pal not George’s Pal defeats the Screwball Army

The growth of information available on the Internet continues to amaze me. A few years ago I don’t think I could find this little factoid. Now there are numerous references to it. This is what I was looking for:

In the late 1950’s I would go home from school for lunch. I had an hour, a real “lunch hour.” It was long enough to grab a bite to eat and watch Topeka’s local kid’s afternoon TV show with the puppet “Charlie Horse.” It was mostly a stream of old cartoons introduced by Charlie. They were cartoons from the 30’s and 40’s like Bonzo, Felix the Cat and Betty Boop.

I recall an stop action cartoon in which an army of nuts and bolts goes on a rampage. I was perfectly aware that it represented the Nazis because the echos of WW II were still so close. A number of years ago I saw snippets of it again on some PBS program but until I typed in “stop action” and “cartoons” I had no clue how to find out about it. That’s changed. The cartoon had the improbably title: “Tulips shall bloom” because it was set in Holland. The nuts and bolts are the “Screwballs Army” but they lose when the rain falls. Sounds like the Eastern campaign.

I was hoping to find the animation imbedded somewhere but for the time being I could only find this page with pictures and a brief plot description of the toon.

For my money it sure beats some of the toons like the Smurffs and He Man from my children’s cartoon Era.

Apes and Pigs

Its in the book. A Saudi 4th Grade text book. On NPR this morning.
 Saudi Text

“The center’s report cites numerous examples. It quotes a fourth-grade text as telling students to ‘love for the sake of God and to hate for the sake of God.’ The report says that textbooks instruct students that Christians and Jews are ‘apes and pigs’ and warns students not to ‘greet,’ ‘befriend’ or ‘respect’ non-believers.”

Saudi officials say it takes a while to change a school system. Tell us about it! Ever hear of: No Infidel Left Behind?

 

Population Bomb vs. implosion

After the book Population Bomb came out predicting disaster from overpopulation the Green Revolution postponed the calamity leading to Conservatives pooh poohing the prediction as so much fear mongering. Jared Diamond’s newer book “Collapse” is trying to reignite those fears and says that Rwanda’s genocide was a preview of that apocalypse. So to may be the genocidal fighting in Darfur.

Europe and Japan offer a quite different prospect for the future as their populations decline.

America enjoys a nice balance and its not just because of immigration. Newsweek’s Robers J. Samuelson has an interesting column on this.

Keeping their distance from Bush. What will Grams do?

From the Wall Street Journal. Are GOP Congressman panicking? I wonder what Grams will do? Will he let Bush fundraise for him and if so will it be on the Iron Range or Minneapolis or DC?

If George W Bush is raising even more money for the party than in past years will the GOP money begin drying up? Will religious conservatives continue to tithe for the Party? Will Republicans put all their money into rescuing the Tom Delay Congress and overlook their Republican state legislators? 

Pink Triangles, Yellow Stars etc.

There is still a dispute as to whether religious minorities in Iran will be forced to wear identification as such. If it turns out to be true I think I’ll print up some t-shirts with the same symbols for anyone who finds such Reich-like behavior as troubling as I do.

By the way, mine is not an anti-Muslim reaction. It’s an anti-fascist reaction. In 1968 my family hosted the first Muslim student ever to attend our city’s high school. We figured out the direction to Mecca for him. As a School Board member in Duluth I began saying “Allah” rather than “God” during our Pledge of Allegiance ceremonies after the invasion of Iraq. One of the few things I was grateful to President Bush for doing in the wake of 9/11 was urging Americans not to turn on America’s Muslims.

But I strongly believe in religious freedom and the separation of Church and State. I’m grateful that our nation was founded on Enlightment ideals and embedded them into the Bill of Rights. 

In 1988 the Ayatollahs running Iran called for the assassination of author, Salman Rushdie. I was so incensed that I began a Quixotic mission to rally college students around America to protest. I might just as well tried to raise the ocean by spitting in it. Maybe I’ll write a column about that too some day.

If we don’t take a stand for religious liberty who will? The Dutch?