All posts by harrywelty

Here were hanged

I got an email yesterday from a student at my old alma mater, Mankato State, which was rechristened Minnesota Univeristy, Mankato. I get such emails once a month or so because someone has stumbled onto my website. Jay stumbled onto my site while researching the now hidden monument to the mass hanging of 36 Sioux Indians in Mankato during the Civil War. It was the greatest mass execution in US History and was quite an attraction for the vengeful and the curious after the “Sioux Uprising.”

The monument, (which looks more like a tombstone) was spashed with red paint representing blood in the early 1970’s at the beginning of the American Indian Movement.

Erected at at time when docile indians were tucked away quietly on their reservations the monument became an embarassment for Mankato in our more enlightened generation. At some point after I left town it was buried by the City of Mankato and has remained hidden like Hitler’s ashes. 

I had written a column called “Here were hanged” a few years ago in response to a letter-to-the-editor complaining that Duluth shouldn’t build a monument to the shameful lynching that took place here in 1921.

The Religious Left

I started a post earlier today about how the Roves, Abramofs, Reeds, DeLays etc. have betrayed the earnest Christians who have followed them into the GOP. It was too a big topic to cover in a bite sized post so I set it aside. 

I am an agnostic but I’ve attended church regularly for nearly a quarter century. I just got back from choir practice.  Socrates, no Christian he, said: “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I agree and attending church has been an important way for me to examine my spiritual life.

It would be a mistake for Democrats to generalize too much about “Christians” simply because they’ve been so ill used by the aformentioned sleaze mongers. Slate has a useful article explaining who the potential allies of the Democrats are on the religious left and how they should be treated. 

Don’t forget what Socrates said.

George says “the United States…is not founded on the Christian Religion”

In its April 10th 2006 story “God and the Founders” Newsweek had this stunningly secularist quote from America’s founding fathers:

In a treaty with the Muslim nation of Tripoli initiated by Washington, completed by John Adams, and ratified by the Senate in 1797, we declared “the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. … “


On a scale from one to five

I missed a call yesterday from some Republican Fund Raising call center. Since I was gone the solicitor asked my wife “On a scale from one to five how important is it to you that we retain a Republican Congress in 2006?

“Zero!” was my wife’s reply.

There was a moment of stunned silence on the other end of line followed by an explanation that the caller was just a hired gun and not personally affiliated with the GOP.

Tom DeLay saves the Republic Party from Barbara Streisand

I was just listening to Tom DeLay on the News Hour on PBS. He explained that he had to take a bullet for the Republic Party to protect them from rascally liberals like Barbara Streisand and Michael Moore. 

Barbara Streisand?

Well, she is Jewish…….

You should have seen the round of applause DeLay got from his Republic friends. The Republics are deeply grateful that by giving up his Congressional seat the Republics may be able to avoid being further tainted by DeLay’s K Street Project or all of DeLay’s staffers who are copping pleas.

* “Republic” Party: I’m trying to honor the Republic Party through imitation. For years Republics have referred to their opposition as the “Democrat Party” so as to be gramatically correct. You see, Republics didn’t want to confuse voters by calling their opposition the “Democratic” Party.  They didn’t want to confuse voters by leaving the impression that Democrats were in any way “democratic!”  

The Republics on the other hand are the greatest defenders of the “Pledge of Allegience” against the depredations of that dangerously liberal 9th District Court. That’s because when Americans make the pledge its made to the Republic Party for which the flag stands.

Howdya like them big apples, Babs!

More on Zinni –

A powerful excerpt from Zinni’s new book that makes it plain that the Bush Administration was a ship of fools when it launched the war in Iraq.

Zinni quotes Eisenhower: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was useless but President Bush treated him and continues to treat him as indispensable.

Climate change debated

 My SUV reply didn’t sit well with my Global Cooling coorespondent:


Apparently you referred to me as a skeptic of global warming.  Change happens.  The climate has changed.  Apparently it is changing.  We humans have evidence of climate change that has occurred.  However, I suggest that no one knows how the climate is going to change.  I also suggest that no one knows whether or to what extent human activity is causing climate change.  Lastly, I suggest that we humans aren’t going to “change our evil ways” (relative to how our activity might affect the climate) unless and until we are on the verge of inconvenience, discomfort, or pain.

I was recently involved in an e-mail exchange with a friend who expressed criticism of especially large and fuel inefficient recreational four-wheel-drive trucks.  Obviously, such trucks and their consumption of fuel can reasonably be regarded as unnecessary, and I didn’t suggest otherwise.  However, this friend travels several thousand miles each fall, to hunt pheasants in South Dakota, which, I suggested to him, also involves unnecessary consumption of fuel.  I got the impression that he was irritated by my argument.  Regarding the unnecessary consumption of apparently non-renewable energy, probably almost all of us humans have an ox that we don’t want gored. 

No longer a skeptic?  Indeed, change does happen. Now you are merely skeptical that anyone can predict how the change will proceed or to what extent we humans have contributed to it. Fair enough.
As for me, I’m not so fatalistic. You believe that we humans will only change our climate altering ways when we are on “the verge of inconvenience, discomfort or pain.” Well, that’s one economic expectation although the fellow who did the most to contribute to this model, Adam Smith, also apparently believed that there were some things people should do even if his invisible hand worked against them. In this he was motivated by a religious sense of duty. I’ll bet Smith would have approved of energy conservation.
As for your duck hunting friend there is a word for such people – “hypocrite.”  Even though I drive a gas stingy little Prius I too like to travel which makes me a hypocrite as well. Here’s my ethical problem. On the one hand I know that travel is good for the economy while at the same time it uses up non renewable energy. To my credit I’m not interested in ignoring this conundrum like a fatalist. Instead I would prefer to find ways to travel while limiting energy consumption.

Tom DeLay “…had guys across the aisle…”

At the moment I’m listening to NPR’s talk show and, of course, Tom DeLay’s resignation is the topic.

According to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who had lots of very nice things to say about DeLay’s work ethic, one of the reasons that Delay got so much done was because “…he had guys across the aisles (Democrats) that he could count on to get things done.”

I wonder who Luntz had in mind?

Moral Dilemma

I find myself wearing the same damn shoes I wore in 1973. I’d protested our involvment in Vietnam in peace marches. My opinion was that we had no idea what we were doing there and that our presence was making things worse. I thought that the “domino theory” (which warned us that one nation’s fall to communism would knock others into the communist orbit) was simple minded. I also thought it was a great insult to the power of democracy and free enterprise.

On the other hand we had made Vietnam our business and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese had taken us at our word and cast their lot with us. Our leaving would be their doom.

Few peaceniks paid heed to this embarassing fact during Vietnam and too few pay it heed today in Iraq.

It’s true that peace activists have learned a thing or two since Vietman. In the Seventies a few dimwits thought it was cool to spit on returning troops. Today’s peace activists slogans all seem geared at doing what’s best for our troops by bringing them home.

I don’t know what we can do at this sorry point in Condaleeza and George’s war to save the Iraqies from our elephantine meddling but the peace movement’s silence on this subject leaves me as cold as the exploitation of the war by Turd blossom for partisan advantage. 

From Andrew Sullivan - We should think long and hard before we leave these Iraqies behind to deal with the mess we’ve left them. Much credit is owed to the US troops who would rather risk life and limb than let these people down.

Yglesias Award

One of Andrew Sullivan’s best ideas is an award he gives to pundits who, as Sullivan puts it: “actually criticize their own side, make enemies among political allies, and generally risk something for the sake of saying what they believe.” I’m not sure who Yglesias is (because I don’t have an index of pundits) but Sullivan gives one of these awards to Markos Moulitsas, the very liberal blogger of the Daily Kos’s for showing that not all Republicans are xenophobes.

Google has failed me so far

I’ve googled for “bloggers,” “columnists,” and “pundits” but haven’t found a comprehensive list of know-it-alls. Somehow this seems like a serious oversight. Sure you can google individual names and get random information on just about any of them but there ought to be a ranking kind of like the ones for politicians. Anyone up to putting one together?

a List of columnists

Here’s a list of columnists. Some of the links actually work. The list doesn’t tell you anything about the politics of the writers only the publication or blog they are associated with. There are lots of missing names.